"As a national leader, you change lives for the better. You challenge and provoke when necessary, and you speak your truths, ever so graciously. From you, we have learned that people must participate knowledgeably and actively in their health and health care if they are to fully benefit from effective interventions and services. But in order to participate, they need information and support – which you provide in countless, wonderfully effective ways. You stand with patients and families throughout difficult struggles, trusting their capacity to grow more engaged and better able to make grounded, informed decisions that serve their best medical and human interests. Nothing could be more valuable." – Dawn K. Wilson, PhD, president of the Society of Behavioral Medicine (SBM), announcing the inaugural Jessie Gruman Award for Health Engagement at last week's annual SBM meeting in Philadelphia.
SBM is the premier scientific forum for over 2,000 behavioral and biomedical researchers and clinicians that study the interactions of behavior, physiological and biochemical states, and morbidity and mortality. Dedicated to promoting behavioral medicine research and the application of that knowledge to improve the health and well-being of individuals, families, communities and populations, SBM created the Jessie Gruman Award for Health Engagement to recognize an individual who has made a pivotal contribution to research, practice or policy in the field of health engagement.
Health engagement encompasses a range of actions including finding good health care, communicating effectively with clinicians, participating actively in treatment, promoting health through healthy lifestyles, managing personal finances related to health care, using preventive services and making health decisions consistent with individuals' needs values and preferences. Since its founding in 1992, with the leadership of Jessie Gruman, the Center for Advancing Health has worked to increase people's awareness of these actions and their ability to engage in them effectively.
"By unanimous consensus of those who proposed this new award and the SBM Awards Committee, the award was named for our first awardee. Indeed, this award befits Jessie's unique leadership and enduring contributions to the field she has and continues to champion so well," remarked Laura Hayman, PhD, professor and associate vice-provost for research at University of Massachusetts Boston College of Nursing and Health Sciences.
With the generous support of an anonymous donor, the Jessie Gruman Health Engagement Award will be given annually by SBM in recognition of individuals who have advanced the understanding of how to initiate and sustain people's engagement in their health and health care.
[Pictured above: Jessie Gruman, president of the Center for Advancing Health (left), receives the inaugural Jessie Gruman Award for Health Engagement, presented by Dawn K. Wilson, president of the Society of Behavioral Medicine, at the Society's annual meeting in Philadelphia on April 25, 2014.]