I am so happy to present to you the new issue of our Newsletter! Switzerland gets surprisingly hot in June, July, and August, and those of us who are not lucky enough to be able to escape to the Alps every other weekend or spend time at a lake often find themselves in rather unpleasant scenarios even inside, as air conditioning is not very popular in this country.
My colleague who is originally from Brazil insists that this is because Swiss people conceptualise their country as a “winter country” and are simply ill-equipped for any other season. While I find the idea of this country being ill-prepared highly intriguing, I am also secretly hoping that the real reason might be eco-consciousness, although, admittedly, I have yet to find data to support this hypothesis.
The last Newsletter has already focused on topics surrounding eco-consciousness, and in particular on the global challenge that is climate change. This issue will continue in this spirit and, in doing so, give you a pre-taste of our upcoming International Congress of Behavioral Medicine (ICBM) in Vancouver, which uses the motto “From local to global: behavior, climate, and health”. However, first, our President, Anne Berman, will take us back on a journey through the last two years of her presidency in her last President letter. Dear Anne, even though your term has not ended yet, I would like to thank you already for your superb (open, transparent, inclusive, …) leadership! I am so happy that we will all get together in person at the ICBM 2023 for a proper goodbye (and welcoming to your new role as Past President) when you pass the torch to Kerry Sherman.
The ICBM 2023 will not only see the inauguration of the new ISBM President and committee Chairs (more about this in the next issue), but will also present with many exciting new formats. Michael Diefenbach and Ryan Rhodes together with Anne Berman, the Local Organising Committee and the Scientific Programme Committee have put together a stellar programme. Too many are the highlights to list, but I recommend you to read the great introduction to the conference by Michael, Ryan, and Anne, which will certainly whet your appetite. For more information on ICBM activities around our beloved journal, the International Journal of Behavioral Medicine (IJBM), I recommend to read Michael Hoyt’s Editorial letter; for more information on our Early Career Researcher Network INSPIRE, chaired by Briony Hill, go to page 16; and for important news from our Finance Committee, make sure to read Sherri Sheinfeld Gorin’s latest financial update. All these people have made and continue to make important contributions to our society, such as launching new publication award programmes, organising webinars for early career researchers, and making sure our society remains financially healthy.
As mentioned before, the conference theme is behaviour, climate, and health, which is also heavily reflected in the ICBM 2023 keynotes. It is with great pride that I can announce a sneak preview of what Renee Salas, our first keynote speaker, will present in Vancouver on Wednesday evening. Even though I have had the pleasure of interviewing Renee when we were still wearing jumpers, her words on environmental drivers of disease have stuck with me ever since. I personally cannot think of a better example for a mission-driven scientist/practitioner and am certain that her ideas on how behavioural medicine can contribute to mitigate climate change will also resonate with many of you. Likewise, I would like to draw your attention to the many inspirational statements on the same topic by our Member societies. This time, Jürgen Knieling from Germany and Bernard Fuemmeler, Peter Gianaros, Ian Kronish, and Barbara Ward-Zimmerman from the US have provided an overview of their societies’ initiatives and actions regarding climate change, which I cannot urge you enough to read.
Even though I am conflicted about flying all the way from Zurich to Vancouver, I am eager to see everyone again in person. For many people, the ICBM 2023 will be the first get-together in five years, so I have no doubt the place will brim with joy and will see the conception of many exciting scientific ideas and collaborative projects. Until we meet, I wish all of you a lovely mid-year break!