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2021 APA Convention Call for Proposals

SoAP Box: 
APA Meeting Announcements

Fall 2020

Megan Kirouac, PhD

2021 APA Convention Call for Proposals
Context matters: The who, what, where, and when of addictive behaviors

Megan Kirouac, PhD
2021 APA Convention Program Chair

I hope this edition of the SoAP Box finds you healthy and safe during these difficult times. I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce myself as this year’s APA Convention Program Chair. I am honored to be working with Division 50 President, Dr. Joel Grube, Program Co-chair, Dr. Linda Rinehart, and with the guidance of last year’s Chair, Dr. Susan E. Collins, to put together a program that is inspiring, scientifically-informed, and relevant for the current social justice issues we face. This program is for the 2021 APA Convention that will either be held virtually or in San Diego, CA.

This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY

2020 was a year that highlighted the ongoing marginalization of people who use substances, particularly in Communities of Color, rural areas, and socioeconomically depressed communities, and showed an additional and disturbing manifestation of growing health disparities in the US. It is easy to feel overwhelmed and uncertain where to begin with such concerns. There are so many unknowns and uncontrollable factors we face now more than ever and I hope we can all turn to science to help provide some answers and direction for a path forward. Events in the past year have clearly demonstrated that there are no simple solutions, which is why I am excited to announce on behalf of the 2021 SoAP program committee that we are seeking proposals on research and clinical advances addressing the Division 50 President’s theme of “Context matters: The who, what, where, and when of addictive behaviors.” I hope you will consider submitting your proposals and join us for a thought-provoking and open discourse to allow us to come together and share our work and ideas to ultimately help those who experience substance-related harm for people who uses substances, their loved ones, and their communities.

In keeping with this theme, we encourage submission of programming for the 2021 APA Convention that:
  • Operationalizes, documents and/or evaluates substance-related harm;
  • Addresses socioeconomic, racial, and ethnic disparities in the experience of substance-related harm, health care, and access to care;
  • Explores how social and physical environments influence substance use trajectories, problems, access to care, and treatment outcomes;
  • Examines mechanisms of substance behavior change;
  • Introduces community- and individual-level strengths that can support harm reduction;
  • Emphasizes natural recovery and self-change; and
  • Focuses on harm-reduction conference programming, interventions and treatments.
We are also looking forward to receiving submissions from members who are doing cutting-edge work on various topics across the field, including those emphasizing priorities of APA’s 2021 President and Past President. These priorities include contributions of students and early career folks, diversity and inclusion, collaboration across divisions and disciplines, harm reduction, and understanding how “Context Matters: The Who, What, Where, and When of Addictive Behaviors.” If the convention is in-person, there will be travel awards available from NIDA/NIAAA; if the convention is held virtually, these awards may be granted for purchasing equipment (e.g., headset, camera, etc.) to allow awardees to attend the convention virtually.
Convention Proposal Submission details:
  • Monday, December 7, 2020: Collaborative Proposals due
  • Wednesday, January 6, 2021: Continuing Education Workshop proposals due
  • Tuesday, January 12, 2021: Standard submissions due
  • Tuesday, January 12, 2021: Psych Science in 3 submissions due
  • Early April 2021: APA will announce if the convention will be in-person
Submission Guidelines:
  • Submissions should be relevant to the division’s researchers and clinicians, demonstrate a commitment to diversity, and be positioned to disseminate cutting-edge information to psychologists from other APA division.
  • Proposals for symposia, poster presentations, data blitz, discussion sessions, and skill-building sessions will be considered. Individual paper presentations will not be considered.
  • All symposium/discussion submitters are strongly encouraged to apply for Continuing Education review when submitting.
Travel Awards:
The division offers numerous merit-based travel awards for students and early career psychologists. We have funding for 30 travel awards, 15 on alcohol, 15 on other substances, as funded by NIAAA (R13 AA022858) and NIDA (R13 DA049497).  Eligibility criteria are:
  • Proposals must focus on alcohol and/or substance use and/or problems related to this use
  • Applicants must be:
    • First author on the paper/poster or speaker in the symposium
    • A current graduate student, postdoc or early stage faculty member (within 10 years of receiving your degree; if faculty, NOT currently receiving NIH support)
    • US resident
  • Awardees must present their work during the “Early Investigator Poster Session and Social Hour” in addition to their regularly scheduled presentation (typically, this session is late Friday afternoon); this additional presentation is in poster form, even if the accepted presentation is an oral presentation
  • If your submitted abstract is accepted, you can contact Katie Siegel to be considered (

Please contact 2021 Program Chair, Dr. Megan Kirouac (, with questions.

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