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.


15th Annual Autism Conference; Online; 2021

Event Details

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Invited Paper Session #6
Using a Behavioral Community Approach for Social Validation Through Multisector Collaboration
Monday, March 1, 2021
2:20 PM–3:10 PM
Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Julia Ferguson (Autism Partnership Foundation)
CE Instructor: Jomella Watson-Thompson, Ph.D.
Presenting Author: JOMELLA WATSON-THOMPSON (University of Kansas)

There is increased attention to addressing problems of significant societal concern, which disproportionately affects marginalized populations and communities. Disparities in autism diagnosis, access to services, and cultural adaptations for underserved populations, including racial and ethnic minorities will be discussed. The importance of collaborating to address social determinants of health or underlying factors that may serve as antecedents for a range of issues is explored. The application of behavioral community approaches to advance community change through multisector collaboration is examined as a method of social validation. Opportunities are presented for cross-sector and multidisciplinary collaboration between applied behavior analysis and other disciplines including community psychology, prevention, and public health. The presentation examines strengths, challenges, and opportunities to contribute to change and improvements in population-level outcomes, including disparities in autism diagnosis and services, through multisector collaboration.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
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 the importance of addressing social determinants and disparities in autism diagnosis and treatment; (2) explain the importance of multisector collaboration to support change and improvement in population-level outcomes; (3) identify examples of the application of behavioral approaches to address social issues through cross-sector collaboration.
JOMELLA WATSON-THOMPSON (University of Kansas)

Dr. Jomella Watson-Thompson is an Associate Professor in the Department of Applied Behavioral Science, and the Director of the Center for Service Learning at the University of Kansas. She is also affiliated with the Center for Community Health and Development. 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 behavioral-community approaches to neighborhood development, substance abuse prevention, and youth and community violence prevention. Dr. Thompson supports community-engaged scholarship using participatory approaches 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 behavioral-community 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 has extensive experience providing training, technical support and evaluation for coalitions and community-based initiatives.




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