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.


49th Annual Convention; Denver, CO; 2023

Event Details

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Invited Paper Session #40
CE Offered: BACB
Informing Policies to Promote Social and Health Equity
Saturday, May 27, 2023
12:00 PM–12:50 PM
Hyatt Regency, Mineral Hall D-G
Area: CSS; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Kathryn M. Roose (University of Nevada, Reno)
CE Instructor: Roberta Freitas-Lemos, Ph.D.
Presenting Author: ROBERTA FREITAS-LEMOS (Virginia Tech Carilion)
Abstract: A pressing policy problem in many countries is the aberrant pattern of social and health inequities among adolescents and adults. Social and health inequities are frequently a result of discriminatory practices and unjust policies that increase the vulnerabilities experienced by socially disadvantaged groups. For example, child labor decreases school enrollment rates and cigarette smoking reduces life expectancy, conditions that are more prevalent among those in the lower socioeconomic class. This presentation will explore the role of Behavior Analysis in building a more equitable society. More specifically, we will discuss ways policy can be designed to promote change in decision-making behaviors among individuals in the lower socioeconomic. We will illustrate how Behavior Analysis can inform: 1) intersectoral actions to decrease child labor via the provision of adequate social services to alter the options faced by lower socioeconomic status families, and 2) experimental research to forecast the consequences of regulatory tobacco policies on consumer behaviors and inform novel policies to decrease tobacco-related health disparities.
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience:

The target audience includes those who are interested in promoting equity through large-scale social changes.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: 1) describe ways Behavior Analysis can inform policies to promote social and health equity; 2) discuss possible government interventions to incentivize individuals in the lower socioeconomic class to change their decision-making; 3) identify government actions that could alter lower SES familial options to address poverty and social exclusion; 4) discuss how research could be conducted prospectively to forecast the effects of regulatory policies on health disparities
ROBERTA FREITAS-LEMOS (Virginia Tech Carilion)
Roberta Freitas Lemos, PhD, is a Research Scientist in the Addiction Recovery Research Center at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at Virginia Tech Carilion. In her current position, Dr. Freitas Lemos leads three in-laboratory multi-week experiments examining decision making, behavioral economics, and policy in cigarette smokers. Dr. Freitas Lemos has over 10 years of experience acting on a range of municipal, state, and federal government programs developing opportunities to improve public policy based on behavioral principles. She has personally coordinated the implementation of large-scale social programs directed to vulnerable groups in different municipalities in Brazil. Dr. Freitas Lemos most recent position was as an advisor of the Vice-Minister at the Ministry of Social Development in Brazil (current Ministry of Citizenship). She has also worked as a social policy expert at the Ministry of Human Rights and the Ministry of Health in Brazil. Her interests include Translational Research, Behavioral Science, and Social Protection and Health Policies. Dr. Freitas Lemos has a BA in Psychology from Pontifical Catholic University in Sao Paulo and a BA in Sports Sciences from the University of Sao Paulo. Dr. Freitas Lemos received a Masters in Experimental Psychology with a focus on Behavior Analysis from Pontifical Catholic University in Sao Paulo. In addition, she took a graduate course in Public Management from Cândido Mendes University. Dr. Freitas Lemos received her PhD in Behavioral Sciences from the University of Brasília. Dr. Freitas Lemos was a Postoctoral Associate prior to her current position at the Fralin BIomedical Research Institute at Virginia Tech Carilion.



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