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.


50th Annual Convention; Philadelphia, PA; 2024

Event Details

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Symposium #410
CE Offered: BACB — 
Advancing Applied Behavior Analysis in Health Behavior Change: Ethical Considerations for Practice, Supervision, and Assessment
Monday, May 27, 2024
9:00 AM–9:50 AM
Marriott Downtown, Level 3, Liberty Ballroom Salon A
Area: CSS/TBA; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Sarah Burby (Small Changes Health and Wellness Coaching LLC)
CE Instructor: Sarah Burby, M.A.

This symposium brings together three distinctive presentations at the intersection of applied behavior analysis (ABA), health behavior change, and health behavior assessment. The first presentation explores the fusion of health coaching and ABA, uncovering practicality, scope of competence, and ethical considerations in this unique convergence. Attendees will gain insights into maintaining professional boundaries, handling ethical dilemmas, and capitalizing on collaborative opportunities, all while delivering evidence-based practices that foster holistic client care. The second presentation addresses the urgent demand for supervision in the realms of health, sports, and fitness. This presentation delves into the specific challenges and competencies required for overseeing ABA practices in these specialized domains. It provides a guide to ethical and effective supervision, empowering attendees to mentor their supervisees within the distinctive landscape of health, sports, and fitness. The third presentation highlights the novel Health Behavior Assessment Tool (HealthBAT), designed to evaluate contextual influences on client behavior change. Attendees will gain a deep understanding of HealthBAT's development, informed by feedback from certified behavior analysts. Practical applications, intervention recommendations, and usability assessment data will be shared, showcasing the tool's potential to enhance health behavior assessment, inform decision-making, and ultimately improve client outcomes.

Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): competent supervision, ethics, health assessment, health behavior
Target Audience:

Graduate students and behavior analysts interested in health behavior change, health coaching, and/or the application of behavior analysis to health, sport, and fitness.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) Identify and provide at least 3 examples of ways in which an individual can increase one's scope of competence to practice as a health coach or health-behavior change professional; (2) Describe essential competencies needed for providing supervision to those seeking to practice in the areas of health, sport, and fitness; and (3) Describe how ethical intervention recommendations are derived from data collected via the HealthBAT.
Navigating Dual Practice: Health Coaching and Applied Behavior Analysis – Exploring Competence and Ethics
SARAH BURBY (Small Changes Health and Wellness Coaching LLC)
Abstract: This presentation explores the convergence of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and Health and Wellness Coaching, emphasizing practical considerations, scope of competence, and ethical dimensions that guide this unique amalgamation. Health Coaches play a pivotal role in steering individuals toward healthier lifestyles, employing various techniques including assessments, goal-setting, motivation strategies, motivational interviewing, and the transtheoretical model of change. The infusion of ABA principles into Health Coaching sessions enhances client care in a more holistic manner. The presentation's core highlights encompass defining the scope of competence for practitioners embarking on this dual path. Ethical considerations are addressed, including potential dilemmas arising from dual practice, such as maintaining professional boundaries, ensuring confidentiality, and managing conflicts of interest. Moreover, it underscores the collaborative opportunities arising from the integration of ABA and Health Coaching, fostering a more well-rounded approach to wellness. Lastly, the presentation underscores the necessity of grounding these practices in evidence-based methodologies, ensuring that interventions are research-backed for both effective and ethical client care.

Expanding the Reach of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA): Supervision Requirements for Applying ABA in Health, Sports, and Fitness

ALEXANDRIA CENTINO (Objective Outcomes)

This presentation delves into the crucial topic of supervision requirements for Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) supervisees operating in the domains of health, sports, and fitness. The Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) mandates appropriate supervision for BCBA supervisees to ensure the proficient application of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) principles and practices. However, there is a significant scarcity of BCBAs practicing in the health, sports, and fitness sectors, and an even scarcer supply of supervisors within this specialized context. This presentation aims to bridge this gap by offering a focused exploration of the supervision prerequisites for applying ABA within the realms of health, sports, and fitness. It will comprehensively cover the distinctive challenges and considerations inherent in delivering ABA services in these settings, outline the essential competencies needed for supervising ABA practices in these fields, and present effective strategies for ensuring supervision that is both ethical and efficient. Attendees will gain a deeper comprehension of the supervision requirements and best practices for supporting BCBA supervisees operating within the unique landscape of health, sports, and fitness. Armed with this knowledge, they will be better prepared to provide high-quality supervision tailored to this specialized area.

Development and Usability Assessment of the Health Behavior Assessment Tool (HealthBAT)
ELIZABETH MEGHAN JONES (ABA), Julie M. Slowiak (University of Minnesota Duluth; InJewel LLC)
Abstract: This presentation offers a comprehensive overview of the creation and evaluation of a novel health-related behavior assessment tool known as the Health Behavior Assessment Tool (HealthBAT). The HealthBAT is specifically designed to assess the contextual variables that influence clients' adherence to behavior change plans and to pinpoint reasons for regression or stagnation in behavior change progress. During this presentation, the speaker will describe the rationale behind the development of HealthBAT, detailing its conceptualization and design. The presenter will also share valuable feedback obtained from certified behavior analysts who reviewed the initial version of the tool, illustrating how this input informed critical revisions. Through the use of a hypothetical case example, attendees will gain practical insight into the tool's application, including how ethical intervention recommendations are derived from data collected via the HealthBAT. Finally, the presenter will share usability assessment data gathered from health behavior change professionals to ensure that the HealthBAT is both user-friendly and effective. Attendees can expect to gain an understanding of the tool's development, its usability, and how it contributes to the enhancement of health behavior assessment, ultimately leading to improved client outcomes and more informed and ethical decision-making.



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