Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


45th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2019

Event Details

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Invited Panel #369
Diversity submission Promoting Diversity and Inclusion in Behavioral Science
Sunday, May 26, 2019
6:00 PM–6:50 PM
Swissôtel, Concourse Level, Zurich D
Area: SCI; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Jennifer R. Zarcone (Kennedy Krieger Institute)
CE Instructor: Jennifer R. Zarcone, Ph.D.
Panelists: JOMELLA WATSON-THOMPSON (University of Kansas), TRACI CIHON (University of North Texas), DIANA WALKER (Trinity Services; Illinois Crisis Prevention Network)

Behavior analysis has addressed issues of social justice since the early formation of its field. Early basic and theoretical work provided promise for addressing such issues, while the advent of applied behavior analysis explicitly demonstrated the power of behavioral science in addressing issues of societal concern. Despite the celebrated social validity of behavior analysis, issues of diversity and inclusion persist. This panel features three scientists who have effectively addressed issues of diversity and inclusion in their own laboratories. The discussion will highlight ways to foster diversity and inclusion in the operations and makeup of lab groups, in addition to discussing ways behavior analysis can leverage its science to answer research questions regarding issues of diversity and inclusion in broader cultural contexts. Questions from the audience will be welcomed and encouraged.

Instruction Level: Basic
Target Audience:

Board certified behavior analysts; licensed psychologists; graduate students.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) describe current limitations in behavior analyst’s science communication, (2) describe contemporary methods of engaging the public with science communication via social media, and (3) operationalize ways behavior analysts can change their dissemination tactics to better communicate science.
JOMELLA WATSON-THOMPSON (University of Kansas)

Dr. Jomella Watson-Thompson is an Associate Professor in the Department of Applied Behavioral Science, a Senior Faculty Associate with the Center for Service Learning. and an Associate Director for the Center for Community Health and Development at the University of Kansas.  She attained a Ph.D. in Behavioral Psychology and a Masters of Urban Planning from the University of Kansas. She applies behavioral science methods and interventions to improve how communities address issues related to community health and development. Her research has focused on neighborhood development, substance abuse prevention, and youth and community violence prevention. Dr. Thompson uses a community-based participatory approach to address social determinants or factors that may contribute to disparities, particularly for marginalized groups and communities. She has researched the effects of community-based processes and interventions to promote mobilization and change in communities.  Dr. Thompson has co-authored articles on community capacity-building, youth development, and prevention and received numerous federal, state and local funding awards.  She is as an Associate Editor with Behavior and Social Issues.  Dr. Thompson serves as a Principal with Ad Astra Community Innovations Group, and has extensive experience providing training, technical support and evaluation for coalitions and community-based initiatives.

TRACI CIHON (University of North Texas)
Traci M. Cihon, Ph.D., BCBA-D is an Associate Professor in the Department of Behavior Analysis at The University of North Texas (UNT). She teaches graduate level courses in Behavior Principles; Verbal Behavior; and Legal, Ethical and Professional Issues. She oversees the Teaching Science Lab, which is a system that designs, delivers, and evaluates the undergraduate Introduction to Behavior Analysis courses and she co-supervises the Cultural Selection Lab. Dr. Cihon has worked in several clinical and academic systems including public and private sectors in both school and home settings in and outside of the US with a variety of individuals with disabilities, children who are at-risk for school failure, and university students. Her scholarship focuses on verbal behavior, international and interdisciplinary dissemination of behavior analysis, behavior analysis as applied to social issues – namely education, and cultural selection and has published in a number of peer-reviewed journals both within and outside of the field of behavior analysis. Dr. Cihon serves on the editorial boards for several major disciplinary and non-disciplinary peer-reviewed journals such as The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, the American Annals of the Deaf, Perspectives on Behavior Science, and she is an Associate Editor for Behavior and Social Issues.
DIANA WALKER (Trinity Services; Illinois Crisis Prevention Network)
Diana Walker received her Ph.D. in Psychology (Behavior Analysis focus) from the University of Florida in 1996, where she studied basic behavioral principles and behavioral pharmacology in nonhumans under the mentorship of Dr. Marc Branch. She also helped out with Dr. Brian Iwata’s research on the treatment of self-injurious behavior of adults with intellectual disabilities. She then spent ten years conducting NIH-funded research with Dr. Jim Zacny on reinforcing and other abuse liability-related effects of medically used drugs in humans at The University of Chicago. In 2004 Diana began teaching in The Chicago School of Professional Psychology's Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Department, becoming Chair of the department in 2011. Diana still teaches for the department and advises doctoral students, but her full-time job is with the Illinois Crisis Prevention Network, providing crisis-intervention services to people with intellectual disabilities and mental illness who engage in severe challenging behavior. Diana is currently interested in making behavioral services more accessible, effective, and compassionate; mentoring new behavior analysts to be conceptually systematic and essentially empathic; and using a radical-behaviorist approach to addressing social and cultural concerns. Diana has a strong commitment to diversity and social justice and to applying behavior analysis to those issues



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