FEATURED MEMBER - ALLISON WILKERSON, PhD

Dr. Wilkerson is a licensed clinical psychologist and Assistant Professor in the Sleep and Anxiety Treatment and Research Program (SATRP) within the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, South Carolina.

WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE THE FIELD IN 10 YEARS?

I am very eager to see where technology can take this field, both in terms of online training of providers and telemedicine for those who need care. I think if we work to stay with the times and use the latest advances in technology to our advantage we will be able to get consistent access to evidenced-based behavioral sleep  medicine in places that were previously very difficult to reach

HOW DID YOU DECIDE TO SPECIALIZE IN BEHAVIORAL SLEEP MEDICINE (WHAT GOT YOU STARTED, WHO DID YOU DECIDE TO WORK WITH ALONG THE WAY)?

I started my training focused on cognitive behavioral therapy for mood disorders and began working with Daniel Taylor, PhD, who was focused on cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia. I quickly joined his lab, converted to all things sleep, and the rest is history!

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SLEEP RESOURCE THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO MAKE OTHERS AWARD OF?

In both my professional and personal life I spend a lot of time with young mommas. Babysleep.com is definitely my go-to. I probably mention it at least once a week to an intern, resident, or student who works with (or plan to works with) families. Another resource I am very excited about is cbtiweb.org, an online cbti training for providers. It is on track to launch this summer, and I am hoping once it is up and running providers everywhere will be made aware of it!

WHAT IS THE NEXT STEP THAT YOU PLNA ON TAKING IN RESEARCH OR CLINICAL PRACTICE?

I just began a project for a NIDA K12 that will prospectively examine the relationship between sleep disorders and substance use treatment outcomes. As part of the K award I will be getting intensive training in addictions sciences for the next two years, and I am really looking forward to focusing on the intersection of  sleep and substance use disorders. Clinically, I will continue to practice and supervise psychology interns in the sleep and anxiety clinic.

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE THINGS TO DO AWARE FROM THE OFFICE?

I’m fortunate to live in a very outdoors-y town. I spend as much time as I can at the beach, pool, and parks with my husband and three kids (ages 7, 3, and 1). The kids also Love when we have reading parties, and that might be my favorite thing on the planet.

Featured Member - ERIN CASSIDY-EAGLE PhD, DBSM

WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE THE FIELD IN 10 YEARS?

I am very excited to be on the Board of Behavioral Sleep Medicine and feel that this newly launched diplomate in behavioral sleep medicine (DBSM) represents the future of BSM. It exemplifies our desire to further establish our recognized level of competence, our commitment to continued learning and our ability to attract others to this field that we know and love. I am looking forward to supporting this effort in support of strategic directions identified by the SBSM. It would be wonderful to continue to expand the pool of DBSM clinicians who will undoubtedly play leadership roles in sleep and academic centers nationally to advance the Field of BSM.

HOW DID YOU DECIDE TO SPECIALIZE IN BEHAVIORAL SLEEP MEDICINE (WHAT GOT YOU STARTED, WHO DID YOU DECIDE TO WORK WITH ALONG THE WAY)?

My career began with a degree in Clinical Psychology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. I specialized in working with older adults. After spending more than a decade engaged in research and clinical endeavors around anxiety, depression and cognitive disorders, I noticed that sleep appeared to be one of the truly transdiagnostic symptoms that greatly impacted one’s quality of life. If sleep was a part of all of these treatments, would improving sleep lead to a more global impact if it was treated as primary? I was specifically interested in finding ways to improve the lives of older adults experiencing the early stages of cognitive decline in an effort to create some hope that the trajectory could be slowed down or even relieved a bit with the targeting of sleep. I quickly learned that a mastery of CBT for other conditions does not a CBT-I expert make. Thus began my journey into the BSM world as I sought to understand how to apply CBT-I to older adults in various community and residential settings.

WHO GOES ON YOUR BSM MOUNT RUSHMORE?

There are so many “greats” in the BSM field, but I am choosing to think of this question very personally. When I initially got excited to re-specialize in the field of sleep medicine, I decided to just cold-call the BSM experts at the integrated sleep center at Stanford University. Rachel Manber, PhD and Allison Siebern, Ph.D. responded quickly and positively, inviting me to come and join their team to get immersed in learning the ins and outs of BSM. Trainees at the time (though now fully developed Sleep Rockstars in their own right), Sara Nowakowski, PhD, and Norah Simpson, PhD, welcomed me into their ongoing treatment sessions that highlighted best practices in clinical care of those with insomnia. I was even fortunate enough to participate in a groups run my Drs. Manber and Siebern that gave me a soup to nuts view of an effective treatment protocol. Since that time, more than 10 years ago, I have continued to be impressed by the warm and welcoming nature of the BSM researchers and practitioners.

WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE TO EARLY CAREER INDIVIDUALS, OR THOSE RE-SPECIALIZING INTO BEHAVIORAL SLEEP MEDICINE?

Don’t be afraid to reach out to any of the established BSM experts! I haven’t met a mean one yet and most will go out of their way to give you some great advice and support around getting more involved in the field and suggesting ways to add to your skillset. Also, getting a broad knowledge base in sleep medicine, including all the disorders treated, is crucial in becoming an effective practitioner- even if you are ultimately only interested in conducting CBT-I.

WHAT IS THE NEXT STEP THAT YOU PLAN ON TAKING EITHER IN YOUR RESEARCH OR CLINCIAL PRACTICE?

Clinically, I am hoping to be able to offer an ongoing sleep treatment group to those 65+. I do lots of individual sleep treatment, but would like to find more ways to reach a greater number of folks in the community. In my research endeavors, I am currently collaborating with Dr. Hongtu Chen and his team at EHG and Harvard Medical School on an SBIR focused on the creation of an app to improve the sleep health of older adults with and without comorbid mild cognitive impairment. Finally, I hope to also find other paths to further my study of the interplay between cognitive functioning and sleep- through both intervention based studies and those that focus on specific biomarkers.

WHAT IS YOUR NEXT VACATION OR DREAM VACATION?

I really love being anywhere with an ocean view. Living in Santa Cruz, California affords me the opportunity to do this on many days, but I love being in water above 52 degrees as well!

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE THINGS TO DO AWAY FROM THE OFFICE?

I am fortunate to have a family that I adore spending time with. They help me forget about the stressors that sometimes pop into the day. My husband, John, and 13 year-old twin girls Ava and Ellen (along with two cats and two dogs), mean that I always get to come home to a solid mix of chaos and fun. I am quite lucky!

Featured Member - Julio Fernandez-Mendoza PhD, CBSM, DBSM

HOW DID YOU DECIDE TO SPECIALIZE IN BEHAVIORAL SLEEP MEDICINE (WHAT GOT YOU STARTED, WHO DID YOU DECIDE TO WORK WITH ALONG THE WAY

I started my pre-doctoral training in both clinical psychology and psychobiology in Spain. I had my first experience working in a sleep lab with Antonio Vela-Bueno who supervised my doctoral dissertation together with Maria Jose Ramos-Platon. At the same time, I did most of my clinical internship in the sleep unit of a military hospital in Madrid. Vela-Bueno’s long-term collaboration with Penn State and a pre-doctoral scholarship took me to Hershey, PA. That experience led to a postdoctoral fellowship under the mentorship of Alexandros Vgontzas and Edward Bixler. Specializing in BSM and becoming certified (CBSM) and a diplomate (DBSM) was a natural progression in my career as a psychologist and sleep specialist. It is an honor to practice BSM in Hershey, a sleep research & treatment center with a long history dating back to the 1970s.

WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE THE FIELD IN 10 YEARS? DO YOU HAVE ANY INSIGHT FOR US ABOUT HOW YOU SEE THE SBSM EVOLVING TO PROMOTE BSM?

I would like to see the sleep field promote the integration of all disciplines and specialties. With the BSM field pursuing a higher standard of certification with continuing education requirements (DBSM), I hope it will attract more people to the field. SBSM should continue to strive for recognition as a society, while pursuing joint ventures with other professional sleep societies. SBSM can play a defining role in shaping BSM routes of scientific meetings, in providing postgraduate courses and in the dissemination of evidence-based assessments and treatments through BSM manuals. From a clinical standpoint, I would like to see stepped-care approaches implemented in primary care and, at least, one BSM provider in all accredited sleep centers.

WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE TO EARLY CAREER INDIVIDUALS, OR THOSE RE-SPECIALIZING INTO BEHAVIORAL SLEEP MEDICINE SHARE YOUR BSM WISDOM WITH OUR YOUNGER MEMBERS TO LEARN FROM YOU TO INSPIRE THEIR PURSUIT OF EXCELLENCE.

My advice is to gain broad sleep experience before specializing in BSM. An excellent BSM provider is not solely trained in CBT-I and is able to conceptualize other sleep disorders outside of insomnia. As researchers, young members may want to have a narrower focus but as clinicians they need to have a broader understanding of circadian/sleep physiology and behavior. Those already advanced in their career who seek to specialize in BSM should obtain supervision or consultation from those working in integrated sleep centers.

WHAT IS THE NEXT STEP THAT YOU PLAN ON TAKING EITHER IN YOUR RESEARCH PROGRAM OR CLINICAL PRACTICE?

My clinical priority is gaining accreditation for our BSM program in Hershey, which includes APA-accredited psychology interns and also postdoctoral fellows. Our BSM program is unique in that it includes pediatric and adult clinical care, with next steps to include more faculty/attendings. Research-wise I am currently focused on following up the Penn State Child Cohort (PSCC) thanks to funding from NHLBI. This 5-year study of a large sample of young adults includes a return visit to the sleep lab and comprehensive physical exams, psychometric evals, and biomarker measures among many other biological and behavioral domains. I am also looking forward to starting a NIMH-funded study in the coming months that will require fine-grained analyses of the sleep EEG in the Cohort.

FEATURED MEMBER - Chien-Ming Yang, PhD, CBSM

What is the next step that you plan on taking either in your research program or clinical practice?

CHIEN-MING YANG, PHD, CBSMCurrently I am working on topics including cancer-related insomnia, psychological factors of long-term hypnotic use, differentiation of BSM treatment for different subtypes of insomnia, etc. My future research plan will go toward two opposite directions: one is to study more basic sleep mechanisms and to understand the clinical phenomenon from fundamental sleep science. The other direction is to apply the newer technologies to the prevention and treatment of various sleep disorders. 

HOW DID YOU DECIDE TO SPECIALIZE IN BEHAVIORAL SLEEP MEDICINE (WHAT GOT YOU STARTED, WHO DID YOU DECIDE TO WORK WITH ALONG THE WAY)?

Like many of the specialists in the field, I did not plan to specialize in BSM.

These was no such field called “behavioral sleep medicine” by the time I started involving with sleep works. I went to the Psychology Department of the City University of New York to pursuit the doctoral degree of in 1992. I wanted to study clinical neuropsychology originally. The professor who was specialized in clinical neuropsychology served as the Dean and was not taking students. Dr. John Antrobus, one of the earlier researchers studied dreaming process from neurocognitive perspective, took me into his laboratory. He was at that time doing research on speech perception and neural network. I was interested in the theoretical part of his work but wanted to work on clinical patients. He then introduced me to Arthur Spielman. Before that, I did not know the existence of the field of sleep medicine and did not know who Art was, but I took the chance to give it a try. Art led me to the fascinating world of sleep research and sleep medicine.

WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE THE FIELD IN 10 YEARS?

I would like to see the field of BSM as well as the SBSM getting more internationalized in 10 years. With the endeavors of many BSM pioneers, the field has established very solid foundation both theoretically and technically. However, the dissemination of this great field is still limited primarily in the North America and some European countries. Lately, more and more professionals from different parts of the world got training in BSM and some, like myself, moved back to their own countries to establish this field. As the leading academic organization of BSM, I would like to see the SBSM to play a major role in establishing the connection of BSM experts and to facilitate the interaction and collaboration among them.

WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE TO EARLY CAREER INDIVIDUALS, OR THOSE RE-SPECIALIZING INTO BEHAVIORAL SLEEP MEDICINE?

BSM is a fascinating field. In my view, sleep is like a window to get into people’s mind. You can work on sleep and only sleep, but you can also go further into the association of sleep with an individual’s consciousness states, cognition, emotion, physiology, health, etc. People may not want to talk to you about their inner thoughts, but they usually are willing to talk to you about their sleep. If you are interested in becoming a specialist in this field, there are two features of BSM that I think is important to be always kept in mind. The first feature is that the field is based on solid foundation of sleep science. This is what make it work well and been accepted by the other specialists. If you are from a field that does not emphasize sleep science, I would recommend you to take your time to learn the scientific bases of sleep. This would be of great help not only academically but also in the practice of BSM. Secondly, sleep medicine is an interdisciplinary field. This is what make the field so interesting and stimulating. It is important to be open to the input from all the other fields related to sleep medicine. I rarely encountered a patient with pure behavioral issues. If you could get your training in a sleep medicine setting with an interdisciplinary team, take the opportunity to interact with specialists from different fields and to learn from them.

WHAT IS THE NEXT STEP THAT YOU PLAN ON TAKING EITHER IN YOUR RESEARCH PROGRAM OR CLINICAL PRACTICE?

Currently I am working on topics including cancer-related insomnia, psychological factors of long-term hypnotic use, differentiation of BSM treatment for different subtypes of insomnia, etc. My future research plan will go toward two opposite directions: one is to study more basic sleep mechanisms and to understand the clinical phenomenon from fundamental sleep science.

The other direction is to apply the newer technologies to the prevention and treatment of various sleep disorders.

Featured Member -Donn Posner, PhD, DBSM

HOW DID YOU DECIDE TO SPECIALIZE IN BEHAVIORAL SLEEP MEDICINE (WHAT GOT YOU STARTED, WHO DID YOU DECIDE TO WORK WITH ALONG THE WAY)?

It is always felt to me that few people in our field seek out this career from the beginning. It seems to me that is more the case that whatever discipline you are in, at some point in your career you brush against sleep medicine, fall in love, and get hooked. So it was with me. I was in the process of establishing my career as a psychologist focused on treatment of anxiety disorders. One of my first jobs was at the medical school for the University of Illinois in Peoria.

When I first arrived, I was made aware that there was a sleep center in town that had sent a letter out to all the members of the psychiatry community. They described having numerous patients who, after sleep study, did not turn out to have an occult sleep disorder but nevertheless had difficulty sleeping. They were asking whether any psychiatrist in town would welcome these referrals and a ready source of clientele. Interestingly, not one psychiatrist in the community answered the call. The medical school asked if I had any experience with this, which at the time I did not. However, once I started looking at the literature it became abundantly clear to me that is evidence based behavioral therapy and was something that could be in my wheelhouse. I decided to consult with the sleep center and started seeing patients. I fell in love, got hooked, and the rest is history.

WHO GOES ON YOUR BSM MOUNT RUSHMORE?

This is hard to say because there are so many pioneers in our field worthy of the honor. Are we looking for the traditional 4 faces? Then let’s call it the Mount Rushmore of CBT-I. For me, I would have to start with Dick Bootzin, Art Spielman, and Peter Hauri who gave us stimulus control, sleep restriction, and sleep hygiene. Clearly three of the major building blocks for CBT I. There are so many others that can go up there but I guess I would round off with Charles Morin, as it was some of his early work researching nonpharmacological treatment for insomnia that first inspired me.

WHAT IS THE NEXT STEP THAT YOU PLAN ON TAKING EITHER IN YOUR RESEARCH PROGRAM OR CLINICAL PRATICE?

Having just moved back to the East Coast I am looking to the next evolution in my career. It is clear to me that we have a nearly epidemic problem with insomnia and, in CBT-I, a therapy that works. The problem, of course, is that we do not have enough well-trained clinicians to meet the need. It has always been my passion to teach and mentor others in this field. Therefore, one of my missions going forward is to assist with getting “more boots on the ground”. This means giving workshops and consulting to get others well-trained and up to speed. I also think that the need is great enough that we will need to utilize tele-health and online delivery of these services. Accordingly, part of my work has also been to promote these forms of service delivery.

This said, I think we need to be careful about how this is implemented. Clearly the upside is greater availability of treatment to those in need. However, I worry that too many of those using online treatments (without any follow-up) run the risk of not getting the full benefit of treatment, due to any one of a number of factors including improper assessment, interference from comorbidities, lack of consistent engagement, poor adherence, etc. My concern is that such failure experiences will inoculate patients from seeking further assistance. Therefore, my strong preference is that online services should be something that are utilized within larger healthcare systems where there is a clinician prescribing the online therapy, following up with the patients to see how they have done, and then refer those who have not gotten a full benefit into hire, more targeted levels of care, such as therapist assisted online treatment, group therapy, and specialized
individual therapy.

WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE THE FIELD IN 10 YEARS?

As I’ve said, I’d like to see more well trained practitioners of CBT-I who can eventually become diplomates in the field. Eventually, with enough practitioners I think the case should be made that every accredited sleep center should have diplomate in behavioral sleep medicine either on staff or somehow associated with the center. I’d also love to see more standardization of practice. We now have a consensus sleep diary we can all work with. I think it would be important for us to eventually standardize how therapies like stimulus control and sleep restriction are delivered.

WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE TO EARLY CAREER INDIVIDUALS, OR THOSE RE-SPECIALIZING INTO BEHAVIORAL SLEEP MEDICINE?

My advice would be to get good training. Hopefully we will begin to see the proliferation of more training programs in sleep medicine for all disciplines. As for re-specializing, research from dissemination implementation science is informing us that for clinicians not only to learn but to adopt and utilize a new treatment, probably requires more than one day of workshop. I think this is especially true for CBT-I because to truly practice well you have to become immersed in the field of sleep medicine which is a background that most practitioners from most disciplines currently do not have as part of their education. In addition to the workshops-three words. Consultation! Consultation! Consultation!

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITY SLEEP RESOURCE THAT YOU WOULD LIKE OTHER TO BE AWARE OF?

Well I would have to say Cognitive Behavioral Treatment for Insomnia: A session by session guide, by Perlis, Jungquist, Smith, and Posner of course! I admit it’s older but I do think it holds up well and we are working on a 2nd edition as we speak. Also for insomnia, I would recommend Treatment Plans and Interventions for Insomnia: A Case Formulation Approach by Rachel Manber and Colleen Carney. For those interested in a broader selection of BSM techniques and therapies, I would recommend Behavioral Treatments for Sleep Disorders: A Comprehensive Primer of Behavioral Sleep Medicine Interventions which is edited by Perlis, Aloia and Kuhn. Finally, anyone who is working in the field of BSM needs to have access to the Principles of Practice of Sleep Medicine by Kryger, Roth, and Dement.

WHAT ARE OUR FAVORITY THINGS TO DO AWAY FROM THE OFFICE?

I started out my schooling as a film major and I have never lost my love for movies and music. If I add going for long walks will that sound too much like a personal ad? Finally, I like to sleep…naturally!

Contact Info: dposner57@gmail.com

Featured Member -James Findley, PhD, DBSM, FAASM 

In addition to providing treatment for patients with insomnia and circadian rhythm disorders in clinic, Dr Findley also provides treatment to study participants. He has trained and now supervises 5 CRNPs in his clinic who provide CBT-I and he supervises therapists treating research subjects.

HOW DID YOU DECIDE TO SPECIALIZE IN BEHAVIORAL SLEEP MEDICINE (what got you started, who did you decide to work with along the way)?

I got involved in sleep medicine at Gaylord Hospital in Wallingford Connecticut. I was doing Rehabilitation Psychology at the time, but was encouraged to get involved in the Sleep Medicine Program by the then Medical Director, Carlos Fragoso. I started doing CBT-I as well as reading studies and seeing patients with sleep disorders other than insomnia. Carlos encouraged me to get boarded in Clinical Sleep Medicine. I was reluctant to start something that would be so difficult for a non-physician as well as time-consuming, but he was persistent and finally wore me down. He and the other the physicians in the department, including Janet Hilbert Howard-Flanders, Rochelle Turetsky, and later on, Meir Kryger, were all very supportive. When presented the opportunity to come to Penn to specialize in insomnia and work with Michael Perlis and Phil Gehrman, it was a no-brainer.

WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE TO EARLY CAREER INDIVIDUALS, OR THOSE RE-SPECIALIZING INTO BEHAVIORAL SLEEP MEDICINE?

First, don’t limit the scope of your experience or training. Try to acquire the broadest knowledge base about sleep and co-morbid conditions that you can, and not just about interventions. Knowledge of those myriad factors that influence sleep will inform your interventions and boost your credibility with patients. Secondly, never forget that you are a clinician, not a technician. There is an of art to the application of BSM science as there is with any behavioral intervention. Finally, be thankful every day that interesting people are willing to invite you into their lives.

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE THINGS TO DO AWAY FROM THE OFFICE?

My lovely wife Diane and I enjoy a variety of music genres, including blues, jazz, Americana, traditional Irish music, and punk (me more than her on that last one, Ramones rule!). We try to get out to see live music from time to time. We also like good food, whether we go out or cook at home. I make a mean crawfish etouffee. Great food deserves a great beverage, so I’ve also developed a strong affinity for Belgian beers. Walking our foxhound, Daisy, can be great fun if she’s not acting like a maniac. We do like to travel and really love New Orleans (AKA, The Happiest Place in the World). I want to suggest it as the perfect location for an SBSM event and I don’t want to hear any whining about the heat and humidity.

Featured Member - Michael Grandner, PhD MTR CBSM

HOW DID YOU DECIDE TO SPECIALIZE IN BEHAVIORAL SLEEP MEDICINE?

I was an undergraduate in Michael Perlis' lab at the University of Rochester. So my fate was sealed a long time ago. I learned about the sleep field from my time in the lab-- and because of that, in my mind, BSM is of course the center of the universe of sleep research. My other mentor as an undergraduate was Donna Giles, who helped shape how I thought about sleep and depression, a topic I still work with today. As a graduate student working with Dan Kripke, BSM wasn't as much of a focus as circadian rhythms were, but that experience really solidified the importance of light exposure, actigraphy, and public health for me -- and all of these significantly shaped my research as well as clinical work. As a postdoc, Phil Gehrman taught me a lot about what it means to be a BSM clinician in a medical setting, and Allan Pack taught me about how to think about BSM from the perspective of translational science. And working with Dr. Perlis again as a postdoc and junior faculty reminded me of where I come from and that, in many ways, that is also where I am headed.

WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE TO EARLY CAREER INDIVIDUALS, OR THOSE RE-SPECIALIZING INTO BEHAVIORAL SLEEP MEDICINE?

Sleep is universal, and sleep problems in our society are unfortunately ubiquitous. By improving sleep, not only can we make a measurable impact in the real lives of real people, but we can make that impact across a really wide range of domains of health and functioning. And sleep interventions work for so many people, it's really rewarding to see people get better! Plus, this is a field with a lot of really awesome people that you should get to know!

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE THINGS TO DO AWAY FROM THE OFFICE?

Enjoying the company of family and friends. Cooking for as many people as I can get away with. Writing and playing music, though I'm a bit out of practice these days. Taking pictures of clouds and sunsets, though they never turn out as good as I want them to.

Featured Member - LISA MEDALIE, PSYD, CBSM

HOW DID YOU DECIDE TO SPECIALIZE IN BEHAVIORAL SLEEP MEDICINE (WHAT GOT YOU STARTED, WHO DID YOU DECIDE TO WORK WITH ALONG THE WAY)?

When I was 17 years old I read Freud's Interpretation of Dreams and began talking about dreams non-stop. We had the opportunity to shadow any professional for 6 weeks at the end of our senior year in high school. My dad, a cardiologist, suggested I shadow his colleague, Dr. Thomas Hobbins, a pulmonary sleep physician, given my interest in dreams and sleep. I shadowed Dr. Hobbins and fell in love with the field. I have been enamored with sleep ever since! I was unsure whether I would pursue the medicine side or the behavioral side - I still have a strong interest in both. I studied and shadowed doctors on both sides throughout my training years. 

I was also intrigued by the technical side and became a registered sleep technician. During my post-college years with the Johns Hopkins Sleep Disorders Center, I had a lengthy phone call with Dr. Michael Smith. It was that conversation that inspired me to choose the path of behavioral sleep medicine as opposed to pulmonary sleep medicine.

WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE THE FIELD IN 10 YEARS?

I would like to see our field succeed in significant reduction of prescription sleeping pills. Given the 2016 American College of Physicians recommendation to start with Cognitive Behavioral Treatment for Insomnia (CBT-I) as first-line treatment for Chronic Insomnia, it would be fantastic to see practice catch up with this recommendation by that time. Increased education to prescribing physicians (and future prescribing physicians) regarding the recommendation, as well as increased access to CBT-I are necessary steps to reach this goal.

WHO GOES ON YOUR BSM MOUNT RUSHMORE?

My path was a bit different as my interest started globally in sleep, then diverted more specifically to a focus on BSM so my Mount Rushmore is a bit more inclusive of general sleep inspirations!

I'd start with the late Thomas Hobbins, MD. He was my father's colleague and the initial sleep physician I shadowed at 17 years old. He was kind and gentle in his patient interactions and inspired people to make sleep changes in a non-judgmental yet highly effective fashion.

Next, I'd add Alan Schwartz, MD and Hartmut Schneider, MD, PhD who saw potential in me as a 20 -year-old kid working night shift as a sleep technician, and brought me into exciting research projects at the Johns Hopkins Sleep Disorders Center. Their passion and thirst for knowledge was like nothing I've ever seen!

I would of course also have David Gozal, MD, MBA whose research on pediatric sleep and ADHD inspired my dissertation. My time with Dr. Gozal at University of Chicago was inspirational as every conversation you have with him evokes ideas for future change and progression in the field.

These four individuals are my "sleep heroes" as they inspired the way I interact with the sleep field.

WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE TO EARLY CAREER INDIVIDUALS, OR THOSE RESPECIALIZING INTO BEHAVIORAL SLEEP MEDICINE?

Go full steam ahead! This is an amazing field to be a part of! There is never a dull moment in clinic with insomnia patients. Everyone who walks in the door has a different story of why they sleep so your work is always fun and interesting. You have more job stability having a niche focus compared to generally trained providers. There is still much to learn in sleep so if you love research, there is lots to do!

WHAT IS THE NEXT STEP THAT YOU PLAN ON TAKING EITHER IN YOUR RESEARCH PROGRAM OR CLINICAL PRACTICE?

My plan is to continue building a thriving program at University of Chicago. I will keep working hard to stay at the forefront of Behavioral Sleep Medicine practice integrating the newest findings into patient care and teaching.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITY SLEEP RESOURCE THAT YOU WOULD LIKE OTHERS TO BE MADE AWARE OF?

My favorite sleep resource involves taking advantage of basic features of our technology systems. I have patients take out their cell phones in clinic and set alarm reminders for everything from filling in the sleep log, to turning off screens to starting worry-time. For my non-tech friendly patients, I sit beside them and show them how to do this. I encourage patients to use reminders for adherence to treatment for other visits as well!

IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO LET MEMBERS KNOW ABOUT YOU?

I am eager to get more involved with the Society for Behavioral Sleep Medicine. It is so exciting to see all the progress our group has made throughout the years. I am here to connect further and help however I can! I am extremely passionate about spreading the word that we are here and should come before sleeping pills!!

WHAT IS YOUR NEXT VACATION OR DREAM VACATION?

I just came back from Croatia which was gorgeous! I would love to go to Japan next and practice the Japanese (near forgotten) that I learned in college.

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE THINGS TO DO AWAY FROM THE OFFICE?

Living in Chicago, I do my best to take full advantage of the amazing restaurants and cultural scene.

DO YOU HAVE ANY SPECIAL TALENTS OR HOBBIES?

I play tennis, have season opera tickets and love kayaking!

FEATURED MEMBER - MEGAN CRAWFORD, PHD

Dr Crawford is currently based in South Wales as a lecturer in the Department of Psychology at Swansea University. After spending a few years in Chicago at Rush University Medical Center as a postdoctoral research fellow and then Assistant Professor, she decided to move back to the where she is originally from. Her current research is focused on how to optimise treatments for sleep disorders (including insomnia, sleep apnoea, narcolepsy), with a particular focus on treatment adherence. I am currently co-chair of the SBSM education committee.

HOW DID YOU DECIDE TO SPECIALIZE IN BEHAVIORAL SLEEP MEDICINE (WHAT GOT YOU STARTED, WHO DID YOU DECIDE TO WORK WITH ALONG THE WAY)?

Coincidence- as it has been for many others in this field. I was an undergraduate at Surrey University in the UK and a requirement of the course was to complete a work placement. I was adamant that I wanted a placement in a group researching autism. Unfortunately, I was not successful with my first interview, and so decided to apply for a few non-autism research positions and fine-tune my interview skills. One of these was with Professor Alice Gregory at Goldsmiths, University of London on the relationship between sleep problems, anxiety and depression in children. During the interview, I was convinced sleep was a fascinating topic to research. I got the position and never looked back. Professor Gregory was not the only mentor I was fortunate enough to work with: Professor Colin Espie and Dr Jason Ong were instrumental in shaping me into the researcher I am today. I have always enjoyed collaborating internationally, and currently work with Dr Delwyn Bartlett Australia, Professor Helen Burgess in the U.S. and Professor Annie Vallières in Canada.

WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE THE FIELD IN 10 YEARS?

As a new mum, I was surprised to discover the stigma associated with behavioural sleep interventions for infants. I have met other parents, who did not considersleep to be a modifiable behaviour, in the same way we teach our kids to walk, talk or read. I would like to see the field work towards breaking down this stigma, and continue to disseminate the message that, except perhaps for some lucky few, sleep does not just fall into place at some point in the future. I hope that in 10 years, we will have managed to bridge the gap between the evidence for behavioural interventions for infant sleep problems and the broad acceptance of these techniques the general public.  On a larger scale, I hope that the field’s appreciation of and support for paediatric sleep research and evidence-based clinical practice continues to grow and eventually be on par with the support granted to adult sleep research.

WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE TO EARLY CAREER INDIVIDUALS, OR THOSE RESPECIALIZING INTO BEHAVIORAL SLEEP MEDICINE?

Still being an early career researcher myself, I know how hard it is to not go down the “imposter syndrome” rabbit hole. I think the key to feeling like you arecontributing is to get involved in committee work (SBSM or elsewhere); to not be afraid to approach others with research ideas, this is how collaborations start; and to not forget about the individuals who are struggling with sleep problems, who are benefitting from the research we do.

DO YOU HAVE ANY SPECIAL TALENTS OR HOBBIES?

Although I am from the UK, I spent most of my childhood in Germany, so I speak fluent, German, in fact most people cannot place my accent or guess where I am from.

Featured Member -  Justin Thomas PhD

Dr.Thomas is Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Neurobiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), Chair of the SBSM Practice Committee, and Co-Chair of the 2018 and 2019 SBSM Fall Courses to be held in Birmingham, AL. Dr Thomas has been in the field of Sleep Medicine for 20 years and is the Director of the newly-accredited UAB BSM Clinic & Training Program integrated in the UAB Sleep/Wake Disorders Center. His clinical interests focus on BSM, particularly with respect to behavioral treatments of circadian rhythm sleep disorders. Dr Thomas' research interests of late have focused on circadian rhythms and diurnal blood pressure variation (i.e., nocturnal hypertension and non-dipping blood pressure).

HOW DID YOU DECIDE TO SPECIALIZE IN BEHAVIORAL SLEEP MEDICINE?

My career in BSM began as a phone call to Kenny Lichstein. I was a sleep technologist working nights and taking classes after work towards a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and wanted to develop an honors thesis project in the field of sleep medicine. I reached out to Kenny to introduce myself and ask if he would be interested in serving as my mentor on my honors thesis. He stated something to the effect that he “has a hard time turning down an opportunity to collaborate” and the rest is history. I remain very grateful to Kenny for the influence he has had on my career.

WHAT IS THE NEXT STEP THAT YOU PLAN ON TAKING EITHER IN YOUR RESEARCH PROGRAM OR CLINICAL PRACTICE?

Now that my BSM Clinic & Training Program is accredited, I look forward to training the next generation of BSM clinicians and researchers, particularly in areas outside of CBT-I. I am also busily developing several different lines of research at the intersection of sleep, circadian rhythms, and cardiovascular outcomes, particularly in the context of racial disparities. For example, I am submitting a grant in two weeks to look at circadian mechanisms underlying non-dipping blood pressure in Blacks.

WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE THE FIELD IN 10 YEARS?

In line with the recent ACP position paper on CBT-I, I would like to see BSM recognized as the “go to” for the assessment and treatment of a variety of sleep disorders. I feel that we, as an organization, have so much to provide outside of CBT-I, including sleep assessment, circadian medicine, etc. and would like to see the field expand where BSM is not used synonymously with CBT-I.

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE THINGS TO DO AWAY FROM THE OFFICE?

I love spending time with family and friends. I come from a large family and have 3 young children ages 7, 5, and 2. I grew up on the west coast of Florida south of Tampa and enjoy going back home to kayak, fish, and spend time on the beach.

Featured Member - Stacey Simon, PHD

Stacey Simon, PHDDr. Simon received her bachelor’s degrees in Psychology and Music from Case Western Reserve University, and her Ph.D. in Clinical & Health Psychology from the University of Florida. She completed her pre-doctoral internship at Nationwide Children’s Hospital with a focus on pediatric psychology. Dr. Simon completed a postdoctoral fellowship in pediatric sleep and weight management at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

HOW DID YOU DECIDE TO SPECIALIZE IN BEHAVIORAL SLEEP MEDICINE?

I originally learned about sleep during my graduate training during a clinical rotation in a pediatric pulmonary clinic. The sleep physician in this clinic, Dr. Mary Wagner, was a wonderful teacher and her enthusiasm for sleep was contagious. After this experience, I decided to focus my dissertation on barriers to PAP adherence for adolescents. I knew I would love to have a career focused on behavioral sleep medicine and pursued clinical and research training with Dr. Kelly Byars and Dr. Dean Beebe at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. I have been very lucky to have worked with mentors who have shared their immense knowledge and passion about sleep!   

DO YOU HAVE ANY SPECIAL TALENTS OR HOBBIES?

I play the flute and was a music performance major in college. I don’t have much time to practice anymore, but continue to play with the Rocky Mountain Flute Ensemble. I love spending time with my family and going hiking in the mountains around Denver.

FEATURED MEMBER - SHEILA GARLAND, PhD, R PSYCH

Sheila GarlandDr. Sheila Garland is a Clinical Psychologist and Assistant Professor of Psychology and Oncology at Memorial University of Newfoundland. She is the director of the Sleep, Health, & Wellness Lab. She completed her PhD in Clinical Psychology at the University of Calgary and post-doc training in Behavioral Sleep Medicine and Integrative Oncology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Dr. Garland is the recipient of new investigator awards from the Beatrice Hunter Cancer Research Institute, the Canadian Psychological Association, the Society for Integrative Oncology, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, and most recently the Society of Behavioral Sleep Medicine’s Arthur J. Spielman Early Career Distinguished Achievement Award award for 2018.

WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE THE FIELD IN 10 YEARS?

I would like to see the field continue to work to increase awareness of the need for specialized behavioural sleep medicine services. We desperately need to improve patient access to evidence-based BSM therapies. I would also like to see more graduate level training programs include courses on sleep, sleep disorders, and behavioral sleep medicine interventions. It would be easier if more people received this training and supervision during graduate school than to try and develop these skills afterwards.

HOW DID YOU DECIDE TO SPECIALIZE IN BEHAVIORAL SLEEP MEDICINE?

I started to investigate interventions to address sleep disturbance and insomnia in cancer patients back in 2004 when there were only a few other people publishing in the area. I worked with Dr. Tammy Moroz, who trained under Dr. Rachel Manber, for a year at the sleep centre at the Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary, Alberta. Then I attended the 3-day CBT-I Seminar lead by Dr. Michael Perlis. I also voraciously consumed all the treatment manuals that I could, including those by Drs. Charles Morin and Jack Edinger, and read the books intended for patients themselves. My dissertation compared group-based Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for insomnia to Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction in post-treatment cancer patients. I was amazed that an 8 week sleep program in post-treatment cancer patients could have such a positive impact on every other aspect of their life. I was hooked! After completing my PhD, I pursued advanced training with Drs. Michael Perlis and Phil Gehrman at the University of Pennsylvania. Now, I hope to pass down some of the wisdom that I have collected from my mentors and the passion and excitement I have for behavioural sleep medicine to my current and future students.

WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE TO EARLY CAREER INDIVIDUALS, OR THOSE RE-SPECIALING IN BEHAVIORAL SLEEP MEDICINE?

As an early career investigator myself, I would advise others to build and nurture long-lasting relationships with mentors. I never fully understood, or appreciated, the amount of work it takes to invest in a trainee until I starting mentoring others. I would recommend continuing to value and learn from these relationships through each stage of your career, especially once you are more established and can start to give back to the people who once helped to sustain you.

FEATURED MEMBER - NATASHA WILLIAMS, EdD, MPH, MSW

Dr Natasha WilliamsDr. Williams is a behavioral research scientist and an assistant professor at NYU School of Medicine. Trained in public health and health disparities research, Dr. Williams’s research primarily focuses on increasing awareness about the importance of sleep health, increasing access to treatment, and investigating the determinants of sleep disturbance among minority populations. Currently, she is the principal investigator of a study (K23) that is exploring the barriers and facilitators of adherence to treatment among African Americans and white patients duly diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea and insomnia. She has been interviewed for Sleep Magazine Review, the Journal for Sleep Specialist and her research has appeared in over 50 scientific journals and conference proceedings including SLEEP, Sleep Health, Sleep Medicine, and Clinical Sleep Medicine.

HOW DID YOU DECIDE TO SPECIALIZE IN BEHAVIORAL SLEEP MEDICINE?

I got involved into the field of sleep because my mentor, Girardin Jean-Louis, asked me to facilitate a few focus groups for the MetSO behavioral sleep trial. The trial was designed to improve adherence to CPAP among African Americans diagnosed with sleep apnea. I had no training in sleep. Through the focus groups that I conducted, I learned a lot about sleep, sleep apnea, and what sleep meant to those patients. I recall the experiences of the men and women and they were all poor sleepers. Interestingly, the majority of the patients identified a problem (other than OSA) that contributed to their poor sleep. So I am forever grateful for that experience, for the men and women trusting me with their stories, and for my mentor, Girardin Jean-Louis, for giving me the opportunity to do the work.

WHAT IS THE NEXT STEP THAT YOU PLAN ON TAKING EITHER IN YOUR RESEARCH PROGRAM OR CLINICAL PRACTICE?

This is an exciting time for BSM and there are still many areas that haven’t been explored. So for me, I am really focusing on getting low income families and communities to recognize the consequences associated with poor sleep and helping them to become better equipped in tackling sleep issues.

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITY THINGS TO DO AWAY FROM THE OFFICE?

My favorite thing to do away from the office is baking. My husband and children and I love to bake and we each have a favorite desert that we bake. My husband bakes brownies, I bake cookies and my daughter bakes pies. We are working on getting my 2-year old son to start baking too.

FEATURED MEMBER - SKYE OSCHNER MARGOLIES PHD

I am a psychologist in the Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation at Eastern Virginia Medical School working primarily with patients with chronic pain.  While I initially imagined my career as a clinical health psychologist being focused primarily on sleep and behavioral medicine generally following my graduate training, working with patients grappling with chronic pain has been such an intriguing challenge that I have never looked back.

And it turns out that there are extensive (and almost unlimited) opportunities for implementing the proven techniques of behavioral sleep medicine in the context of chronic pain.  Living life is not easy, and living it with chronic pain compounded by sleep problems makes the already not-easy seem to some like it might be impossible. I am confident that behavioral sleep medicine provides a means towards living a better life, and my current research and clinical work, and much of my energy is focused on facilitating that goal.

So instead of only focusing on sleep, I am fortunate to be part of a multi-disciplinary team helping patients to live fulfilling lives with chronic pain. I integrate behavioral sleep medicine as a critical component of each patient’s treatment plan so they can develop techniques to experience real change and benefits even with their chronic pain.  This is sometimes a hard sell to patients conditioned to treat pain with drugs,  which makes having an impact not just a success but even something akin to a personal triumph for the patients. I also endeavor to bring behavioral sleep medicine to the broader medical community at EVMS.  I supervise clinical psychology interns and graduate students as well as medical students, residents, and fellows. I enjoy teaching them as well as introducing my medical colleagues to the integral role behavioral sleep medicine plays in successful and lasting patient care.

HOW DID YOU DECIDE TO SPECIALIZE IN BEHAVIORAL SLEEP MEDICINE?

I took the long route!  Before going to graduate school, I spent ten years in broadcast journalism as an assistant producer at 60 Minutes, CBS News, and at New York Times Television, where I had the challenge and honor of helping others tell their stories. This was exhilarating work, especially as I explored a complex and diverse array of life trajectories. With time, I realized that I wanted to play more of an instrumental role in directly helping people to reshape their stories and reorient their trajectories on their own terms, rather than just narrate or observe them. The transition from a steady professional life in broadcast television to that of a graduate student learning an entirely new field carried its own set of risks and discomforts. (I had a lot to learn since I had majored in French in college!) This move has proven to be consequential and deeply rewarding.

While pursuing my doctorate at Virginia Commonwealth University, I studied with Bruce Rybarczyk, who introduced me to Behavioral Sleep Medicine and encouraged me to undertake an expansive dissertation examining CBT-I for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder. After graduating and completing a post-doctoral fellowship at EVMS in 2013, I have sought out as many additional opportunities to enhance my clinical technique as possible. I completed Michael Perlis and Donn Posner’s Basic and advanced CBT-I courses, which has had a big impact on my approach. I also participated in the University of Pennsylvania Mini-Fellowship in Behavioral Sleep Medicine, an excellent and comprehensive opportunity to live, eat, and breathe all aspects of BSM over one week! Over the past year, I have become more active with SBSM as a member of the Education Committee. This has been an exciting opportunity for networking and collaborating with other BSM specialists, at all stages of their careers, and contributing to the BSM field.

WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE TO EARLY CAREER INDIVIDUALS, OR THOSE RE-SPECIALIZING IN BEHAVIORAL SLEEP MEDICINE?

I would always urge people to be willing to be vulnerable, especially in pursuit of learning more. Some vulnerability, especially deliberate openness to the unknown and the unexpected, is required to work successfully with our patients and research participants.  I believe people should seek out as many opportunities to learn what you don’t know and to grow with and alongside the colleagues in the field developing innovative approaches to BSM. The advantages of continued active learning have enormous benefits both for oneself professionally of course, but also for one’s patients, and research participants.  Always placing myself in the position as a learner has been the engine that has allowed me to evolve both professionally and personally and to build on a strong graduate foundation with new work in a truly dynamic field. As we all know, personal or professional trajectories are almost never linear. They unfold in the context of the bumps, joys, and everyday fabric of living life.  I have strived to develop a full appreciation of the often complicated relationship my patients have with sleep and pain and its impact on living both a healthy and meaningful life. 

At this stage in my career, it feels both important and strange to be giving early career advice as I still have one foot in my early (second) career chapter and another foot just starting to land in the mid-career portion. I feel fortunate to be part of a community that fosters constant inquiry, mentorship, and excellence. 

WHAT IS THE NEXT STEP THAT YOU PLAN ON TAKING EITHER IN YOUR RESEARCH PROGRAM OR CLINICAL PRACTICE?

I am currently most focused on creating more opportunities for EVMS patients with chronic pain to have access to BSM interventions. Following in the footsteps of those researchers and clinicians who are developing novel BSM approaches, I am studying internet-based CBT-I programs for patients with chronic pain for whom adding another in-person appointment is often more of a barrier. I have also implemented new insomnia research groups for patients with chronic pain that combine CBT-I and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. With this group I plan to measure patient progress through a combined CBT-I/ACT program with respect to improved sleep as well as an eye on improved quality of life and increased functioning. Continuing to collaborate with medical providers and trainees across disciplines through patient care and educational opportunities is an on-going commitment in both my clinical work and research.

FEATURED MEMBER - FIONA BARWICK, PHD

For the past 2.5 years, I have been the Director of the Cognitive Behavioral Sleep Medicine (CBSM) Program at the Stanford Sleep Medicine Center, which is one of the oldest sleep medicine centers in the country and part of the Stanford Center for Sleep Sciences and Medicine. I help to coordinate and integrate patient care, oversee supervision and training for PhD and MD fellows, and collaborate with colleagues on research projects. I also have the incredible privilege of interacting with some of the most illustrious figures in the field of sleep medicine, including William Dement, Christian Guilleminault, Emmanuel Mignot, and Clete Kushida.

WHAT IS THE NEXT STEP YOU PLAN ON TAKING EITHER IN YOUR RESEARCH PROGRAM OR CLINICAL PRACTICE?

As I spent the first couple of years in my position setting up clinical programs, I am only now building up our research program. Currently, I am working with psychologists and psychiatrists at Stanford’s Student Counseling and Psychological Services to develop a brief transdiagnostic protocol that just received small grant funding to address sleep problems in university students. I am also collaborating with colleagues in our chronic pain and psychosis clinics to develop modified protocols for improving sleep in these populations.

WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE THE FIELD IN 10 YEARS?

I am intrigued by the idea that identifying insomnia phenotypes might allow us to optimize treatment for specific subgroups. For example, insomnia in anxious individuals looks different than it does in individuals with delayed sleep phase, bipolar disorder, new onset sleep apnea, or other medical conditions. I am also excited by the incorporation of “third wave” CBT techniques into the field, such as Mindfulness Based Therapy for Insomnia (MBT-I), for which our own president, Dr. Jason Ong, has been a leading proponent and innovator. Finally, I am very much in favor of bringing together sleep medicine and circadian biology to optimize treatment of sleep problems. Allison Harvey’s transdiagnostic approach for treating the disruption in sleep-wake and circadian systems that occurs in almost every psychiatric disorder is a perfect expression of this trend. Other influential figures in cognitive behavioral sleep medicine -- including Kenneth Lichstein, Rachel Manber, Jack Edinger, and Colleen Carney -- have been exploring this nexus for years, but we are still in the early stages of recognizing and adapting CBSM techniques to address the varying presentations and pathophysiology of specific insomnia subgroups. 

WHO GOES ON YOUR BSM MOUNT RUSHMORE?

Rather than carvings on Mount Rushmore, I would like to eavesdrop on past and present sleep medicine and chronobiology luminaries as they mingle at a cocktail party or eat and drink around a communal table, rather like Judy Chicago’s “The Dinner Party.” Arthur Spielman talking with Richard Bootzin, William Dement arguing with Mary Carskadon, Alexander Borbely conferring with Charles Czeisler, Michael Perlis debating Daniel Buysse, Phyllis Zee deliberating with Fred Turek, Colin Espie disputing Charles Morin…I would love to hear the conversations that occur between these brilliant and opinionated experts as they discuss the ideas about which they are so passionate.

WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE TO EARLY CAREER INDIVIDUALS, OR THOSE RE-SPECIALISING INTO BEHAVIORAL SLEEP MEDICINE?

As someone who had an earlier career managing restaurants in New York City, I feel remarkably unqualified to offer career advice. Everyone’s career path takes unexpected twists and turns, which offer both risks and opportunities. The wonderful appeal of cognitive behavioral sleep medicine is its ability to merge with almost any interest, whether a particular population, a specific disorder, a preferred treatment modality, or another area of medicine. If you follow your passion, despite the obstacles you will inevitably encounter, and hold onto your intrinsic desire to do good work, you will almost certainly find yourself rewarded in the field both personally and professionally. And, as Dr. Dreup emphasized in this feature in January, be an educator about and advocate for cognitive behavioral sleep medicine! It is an easy case to make with other professionals and organizations because sleep is such an integral part of overall physical and mental health.

Featured Member - Michelle Dreup, PhD

Dr. Michelle Drerup is the Director of Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program at Cleveland Clinic Sleep Disorders Center, an integrated health care system serving the Cleveland metropolitan area and surrounding region.  In addition, she serves as Director of the BSM training program and supervises post-doctoral health psychology fellows and sleep medicine fellows in the provision of BSM services. Dr Drerup has a special interest in integration of insomnia care within large health care systems and population-based management of insomnia.  She developed a web-based CBT-i program for insomnia, Go! To Sleep, which is utilized as part of a stepped care plan for insomnia treatment at the Cleveland Clinic, but is also available to the general population as well.  Her current research focuses on exploring the effectiveness of CBT-i (individual, group and web-based delivery) in insomnia comorbid with various neurological disorders (multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease) and other medical conditions.  

HOW DID YOU DECIDE TO SPECIALIZE IN BEHAVIORAL SLEEP MEDICINE? 

About 12-13 years ago I got my first exposure to sleep psychology, quite by accident as many in the field can likely relate. During my post-doctoral fellowship in clinical health psychology at the Cleveland Clinic I was asked if I would like an opportunity to rotate one day a week at the Sleep Disorders Center.  Prior to this rotation, the main focus of my internship and post-doc training had been general health psychology with a specialty focus in weight management and pre-surgical evals and treatment for bariatric patients.  I had minimal training in sleep but I was intrigued as most of my bariatric/weight management patients were prescribed CPAP machines but not using them.  After a few weeks of working in the Sleep Disorders Center, I realized I had found my true passion and my professional “home”. Upon completion of fellowship, I accepted a position as staff psychologist at Cleveland Clinic Sleep Disorders Canter and have been here since the start of my career.   I am forever grateful to Kathy Ashton, PhD for her supervision, guidance and mentorship during my initial training in sleep, as well as for the leadership from our center director, Nancy Foldvary-Schaefer, DO, MS, who took a chance on hiring me straight out of post-doc and has allowed me to me to develop our Behavioural Sleep Medicine program over the years.

WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE TO EARLY CAREER INDIVIDUALS OR THOSE RESPECIALIZING IN BSM?

Don’t just join the Society of Behavioral Sleep Medicine, be active and involved in the society.  Volunteer for a committee, participate in the webinars and journal clubs, and attend conferences.  Be bold and brave. Take risks.  Stand up and ask that question of the speaker in a conference room full of hundreds of sleep experts – believe me, it will be noticed. Our organization is small, which makes networking and developing mentorship relationships much easier when compared to larger organizations - take advantage of it.  Also be an advocate for our field in other organizations such as Society of Behavioral Medicine, American Psychological Association, and other psychological/health/medical organizations. Having our members spread the word about our society is our most successful opportunity to grow our field.

DO YOU HAVE ANY SPECIAL TALENTS OR HOBBIES?

Many of my family and friends might say that my true talent is bargain shopping the Target clearance end caps.   My hubby has gotten used to the guessing game I make him play after my weekly Target run – “This lamp retails for $59.99, guess how much I paid for it?” I also enjoy traveling, cooking, yoga and playing tennis. Spending time with my husband and two daughters, Emerson (age 8 ) and Elliana (age 5),  is my favorite activity of all.  We have a longstanding tradition of “Sunday Funday” in which we try to spend the day exploring new adventures, such as hanging out with friends and enjoying a craft beer (juice boxes for the under 21 crowd!) and board games at our local kid friendly brewery, paddleboarding on Lake Erie, or ice skating in downtown Cleveland on Public Square.

Featured Member - Donna Arand PhD

I am the Clinical Director of the Kettering Sleep Centers in Dayton and an Associate Professor of Neurology Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine. I also serve on the board of the SBSM as president-elect.

As an experimental psychologist, I began my career doing dream research in Cincinnati, followed by sleep research in California and then sleep medicine at UCLA.  I currently manage sleep centers in Dayton. I have been involved in both clinical practice and research throughout my career.  My research interests include insomnia, arousal, sleep deprivation and daytime performance.  

I got into sleep when I was in college because I needed a job, but I stayed in sleep because of the wonderful people that I had the privilege of working with including: Tom Roth, Dennis McGinty and Peter Hauri.  I also married another sleep researcher, Mike Bonnet. It was the very beginning of the field and it exploded with excitement because every research study was a first and every finding a new discovery. It was the Big Bang of sleep and I became hooked despite the warning from the chair of my graduate school that “sleep was not a legitimate area of science or research and I should find something that will get me a job.”  Decades later he told me, “I’m glad you didn’t listen to me.” My mother also told me when I went to college that I could study anything but to stay away from that psychology stuff.   Years later, she proudly came to my graduation for my PhD in psychology.  I attribute my success to pursuing things that I was passionate about, alternatively, I might just be bad at following directions!

I have served on the boards of the AASM, BRPT, ABSM and SBSM as well as being a site visitor for the AASM, chair of the accreditation committee and reviewer for the JCSM and Sleep.  It has also been my privilege to serve on NASA research panels and talk about sleep that is out of this world like sleeping cocooned and velcroed to the ceiling in the international space station with 90-minute days.  

I enjoy travelling, cruising, skiing and cooking. Most of all, I like spending time with my family, especially my son and daughter who continue to surprise and delight me.  They are both physicians and my greatest accomplishments.  My plans include a cruise to beautiful Tahiti, Bora Bora and Moorea, followed by a cruise around New Zealand, which is at the top of my bucket list.

FEATURED MEMBER: RICHARD BLACKBURN, PhD, LP, CBSM

Dr Blackburn currently work at Region’s Sleep Health Center, a 9-bed sleep lab and am one of two doctoral-level behavioral sleep medicine specialists.  During the day, we run an insomnia clinic and treat other sleep disorders such as circadian rhythm disorders, nightmare disorders, and hypersomnias.Plus we also assist in CPAP desensitization.  For 7 years, We have been collecting data focused on treatment outcomes and pre-post measures on scales such as the ISI, GAD-7- PHQ-9, FSIQ, Epworth, and MSFI-SF.  We hope to utilize this data in the future to show how CBT-I works in the clinical, non-controlled world of a sleep clinic. 

Rick fell into Behavioral Sleep Medicine accidentally.  About 10 years ago, he worked in a locked chemical dependency treatment facility, and many of our patients were abusing various sleep medications.  He was asked to come up with a non-medicinal alternative, so he started reading theliterature.  Not surprisingly, he stumbled across CBT-i.  Then, when he took a different job, he found a group in Minnesota starting a BSM training consortium under the direction of Dr. Michael Schmitz from Allina Health.  He joined the group, and his passion for sleep grew.  In 2012, with passing the CBSM exam, Mike Schmitz encouraged Rick to get involved with the SBSM Board, and now is finishing his third year of service and is Board Liaison to Practice Committee chaired by Dr. Stacey Simon. Eventually, Dr Blackburn left Allina Health group to work full time in sleep at Region’s Sleep Health Center with Dr. James Davig, another SBSM member. 

Our next step in the development of our insomnia program is creating a digital sleep log application for phones that allows patients and cliniciansto share information securely that is tailored to CBT-i.  The app will contain a highly detailed sleep log, all of the educational material developed for their patients, statistics compiled about the person’s sleep, how their sleep changes over time, which enables the sleep clinician to enter in a sleep schedule prescription based on the CBT-I protocol.  More importantly, the data and graphs will be able to be exported and copied into the electronic medical record, making reporting of progress easier for the clinician.  We expect Beta testing to begin in December.  We anticipate combining this with a telemedicine component within a year so we can reach into rural, underserved areas of our state. 

Behavioral Sleep Medicine is changing rapidly, and it’s important that providers have a voice.  For people going into the field or re-specializing, Dr Blackburn strongly recommends getting involved:  join a committee, run for a Board position, and most importantly, join the Society of Behavioral Sleep Medicine.  The clinical data is on our side.  We offer a highly effective, first-line treatment for many sleep disorders, but we need to spread the word, advocate for the profession, and educate the community, 3rd party payers, and other providers.

Featured Member - Michael Schmitz, PSYD,LP,CBSM

Dr. Schmitz is the Director of Behavioral Sleep Health Program at Fairview Health Services, an integrated health system serving the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area and surrounding region.  He is the immediate past president of the Society of Behavioral Sleep Medicine and currently serves on its executive committee and board of directors.  In 2000, Dr. Schmitz founded the Abbott Northwestern Hospital Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program as part of its Neuroscience Institute.  With the support of Abbott Northwestern Hospital Neuroscience Institute and Allina Health, Dr. Schmitz led development and implementation of an integrated BSM program.  By 2009 this program included a BSM training program leading to certification for embedded practicing primary care psychologists. 

Dr. Schmitz has a special interest in integration of insomnia and BSM services within health care systems and population-based management of insomnia.  He also has a special interest in how psychosocial factors impact chronic disease. In 2016, Dr. Schmitz was invited to lead the development of a population-based insomnia management program at Fairview Health System.  

How did you decide to specialize in behavioral sleep medicine?

My first post-doctoral position was in health psychology in 1998 at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis where I was hired to develop clinical services in the Rehabilitation, Diabetes, Neuroscience, and Sleep programs.  I had little to no training in sleep but at the time CBT-I for insomnia was increasingly being recognized by local sleep physicians as an effective treatment for insomnia. I recall that before I had a chance to take a course or workshop, faxed referrals began coming through from several sleep physicians. I am forever grateful to Peter Hauri (who was an hour’s drive away at the Mayo) for his guidance and generosity in orienting me the best resources for learning, skills, and practice development.  I was also tremendously grateful when Don Townsend came to St. Paul.  As a psychologist boarded in sleep medicine, he was instrumental in encouraging and supporting my efforts to deepen and broaden my knowledge and skills.

Where would you like to see the field of BSM in 10 years?

I am very hopeful that BSM training will expand to become multidiscipline, that we see specialty track training in many more of our PhD and PsyD programs along with MSW, NP, PA and MD programs.  I also hope that the field thinks outside of the box to develop more robust training opportunities and programs for those already in practice who want to re-specialize in BSM or add it as a specialty clinical focus.

What is your advice to early career individuals or those respecializing in BSM?

My advice is to seek out mentorship early, across disciplines, and throughout your career.  Our field and sleep medicine in general benefits from expertise across disciplines and brings a great deal of new science, innovative technology, and I do think generally a spirit of generosity and willingness to collaborate.  Take advantage of this, be willing to make mistakes, be open to critique and feedback, and most of all, pass along the mentorship and generosity you receive to your colleague and your own students.

Do you have any special talents or hobbies?

I actually enjoy my assigned list of home improvement projects (so long as they don’t involve plumbing or electrical!) and while I mostly water plants and pull weeds, I do love our gardens.

FEATURED MEMBER: KEVIN SMITH, PhD

Kevin SmithKevin is practicing as a psychologist for Children’s Mercy Kansas City’s Sleep Disorders Center, working with families across the age spectrum from infants-young adulthood. 

How did you decide to specialize in behavioral sleep medicine?

My initial clinical experience in behavioral sleep medicine was a happy accident during my postdoctoral training at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.  When a planned training experience suddenly fell through, I decided to work in the hospital’s Sleep Clinic.  I was supervised by Sleep Clinic psychologist (and then Chief of the Psychology Department) Dr. Tom Linscheid, and pulmonologist and Sleep Clinic Director Dr. Mark Splaingard. I enjoyed it so much that after my fellowship, I accepted a faculty position at NCH and became the Sleep Clinic’s new psychologist, since Dr. Linscheid was retiring that year. 

What is your favorite sleep resource that you would like others to be made aware of?

There are so many great resources out there, but a relatively new one I currently recommend to parents with young children is the website babysleep.com.(Full disclosure: I provided some content when it was first created.)    This website provides comprehensive, evidence-based information from psychologists, physicians, and researchers on infant and toddler sleep that is user-friendly and freely available to the public.    

Do you have any special talents or hobbies?

Talents:  I am good at picking the slowest line at Costco.  (I haven’t figured out a way to market this skill as of yet.)   I also do improvisational comedy.

Featured Member:  Eric Zhou, PhD

Dr. Zhou is an Instructor at Harvard Medical School and a Staff Psychologist at Boston Children's Hospital and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, MA.  He completed his post-doctoral fellowship at the Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, and his pre-doctoral internship at Brown University Alpert Medical School.  Dr Zhou is interested in how we can better understand and treat common side effects of chronic illnesses. He has presented his research investigating sleep disorders, sexual dysfunction, suicidal ideation, social support, and quality of life at national and international conferences, and published over 25 peer-reviewed  manuscripts in the field of health psychology/behavioral medicine. 

Where would you like to see the field of BSM in 10 years?

I am hopeful that there will be more opportunities within training programs to educate clinical providers about behavioral sleep medicine. The lack of formal sleep medicine training in many PhD, PsyD, NP, PA, and MD programs is very unfortunate because their graduates are often are the front-line clinicians who see patients with a sleep disorder. 

How did you decide to specialize in behavioral sleep medicine (what got you started, who did you decide to work with along the way)?

I was bitten by the BSM bug when I completed the sleep rotation during internship with Donn Posner. He was one of the best clinical mentors I have ever worked with. It was easy to get excited about the work when you saw how much of a difference you were making in the lives of your patients.

What is your advice to early career individuals, or those re-specializing into behavioral sleep medicine?

Even if BSM does not become your only career focus, keep an open mind to finding ways to integrate behavioral sleep medicine into your clinical or research practice. There will likely be future opportunities to use this tool from your toolkit in a range of clinical settings or within a variety of research projects.

What is your next vacation or dream vacation?

I am very excited to have the opportunity to travel to several countries in the Middle East this fall, including Jordan, Oman, and the UAE.

Featured Member - Jason Ong, PhD

Jason Ong

I am an associate professor of neurology at Northwestern University in the Feinberg School of Medicine. I direct the BSM program within the Center for Circadian and Sleep Medicine, which includes the BSM clinic and the BSM research lab.

Where would you like to see the field in 10 years?

I would like to see BSM as a vibrant multidisciplinary field that consists of leaders in sleep medicine, behavioral medicine, and sleep health. In addition to the established role of BSM in treating insomnia and improving CPAP adherence, my hope is to see BSM activities grow in the prevention and management of sleepiness and fatigue and the promotion of sleep health.

How did you decide to specialize in behavioral sleep medicine (what got you started, who did you decide to work with along the way)?

I have been interested in sleep since I was very young. Part of it was my intellectual fascination with the role of sleep and part of it was my own experience with insomnia. In fact, the first paper that I ever wrote on behavioral treatments for insomnia was for my 9th grade biology class!

I have been very lucky to work with several great sleep mentors, including Roseanne Armitage, Ed Stepanski, Rachel Manber, James Wyatt, and now Phyllis Zee. They helped to foster and guide my interest in sleep and to connect me with opportunities to grow in the field.

What are your favorite things to do away from the office?

I love team sports and competing in anything athletic! In my youth, I played basketball, soccer, and football. Now, I enjoy working out and running on a regular basis. I keep an exercise log of all my workouts and from 2010 to 2016, I have averaged 200 days of exercise per year.

Featured Member: Michael Nadorff, PhD

Dr Nadorff is Assistant Professor of Psychology at Mississippi State University, and a licensed psychologist in the state of Mississippi.  In addition to doing research and clinical work in Behavioral Sleep Medicine, and serves as the director of MSU’s doctoral program in clinical psychology and suicide prevention program.  Michael is the recipient of the Society of Behavioral Sleep Medicine’s Art Spielman  Early Career Distinguished Achievement Award for 2017. 

How did you decide to specialize in behavioral sleep medicine (what got you started, who did you decide to work with along the way)

 I did not plan on doing sleep work when I started graduate school, but that quickly changed early in my training.  The seminal moment was while working with Dr. Amy Fiske’s BSM clinical team at West Virginia University I saw a client who had been forced into early retirement due in large part to insomnia.  The client responded very well to treatment, and was able to return to work after treatment.  The experience blew me away, and I decided I had to start incorporating sleep into my suicide research.  I was also fortunate to be at the right place at the right time throughout my training, and I got to work with incredible mentors.  At WVU I had the opportunity to be in the research labs of both Dr. Amy Fiske and Dr. Hawley Montgomery-Downs.  Both were tremendous mentors who taught me a great amount about the field, and how to do behavioral sleep medicine research, and clinical work.  When I decided to do a dissertation on Imagery Rehearsal Therapy, Dr. Anne Germain was extremely generous to allow me to come up to Pittsburgh and train with her and her team on IRT.  On internship, I was fortunate to go to Baylor College of Medicine, which provided me the opportunity to train in a sleep lab for the first time, getting to work with Dr. Mary Rose who made a special trip over to the VA every week so I could have the experience.  Lastly, I ended up at Mississippi State, only about 1.5 hours from Dr. Ken Lichstein at Alabama.  Dr. Lichstein provided a great deal of mentorship and feedback on my early grant proposals, and was a tremendous resource for me as a junior faculty member.  It truly took a village to mentor me in Behavioral Sleep Medicine, and I am so grateful to all of my mentors who contributed so much in my BSM training. 

What is your advice to early career individuals, or those respecializing into behavioral sleep medicine?  

My advice to early career individuals, or those who are respecializing, is to consistently seek out mentors in the field whom you admire.  I have found our field to be very generous in being willing to mentor the next generation, and I have learned something different from each mentor I have had throughout the years.  Also, be aware of mentorship wherever it is being offered.  As odd as this may sound, I have learned a tremendous amount from the editors and reviewers from SLEEP, Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, and Behavioral Sleep Medicine.  The process of publishing my master’s thesis at SLEEP immediately comes to mind.  I was still rather new in the field, as I suspect was obvious to the editor and reviewers.  Although it would have been easy for them to dismiss me and my thesis, they felt almost like collaborators, helping instruct me in ways to make the paper better, which led to a much stronger product.  I learned a great deal about sleep, as well as how to be a reviewer through that process.  Returning to the topic at hand, although it is difficult, try to be open to the feedback anytime you have your work critiqued, whether it be teaching, research, clinical work, or something different, and try to take some lesson from it, even if the lesson is what not to do when you are on the other side. 

Where would you like to see the field in 10 years? 

We are so fortunate in our field to have tremendous treatments at our disposal.  However, these treatments are tremendously under-utilized, in part due to how few people practice BSM.  For instance, if you look at the SBSM provider list, I am the only provider in Mississippi!  Perhaps even more shocking, there aren’t any providers listed in Louisiana.  Take a peek at the roster for your state, as well as the states around you, https://www.behavioralsleep.org/index.php/united-states-sbsm-members.  I would love to see in 10 years that there be at least one provider for every million people in every state.  This is still not nearly enough providers, but it would also be a tremendous increase from where we are in many states.  My personal goal is that I hope our training program at MSU produces at least 10 of those providers in the next 10 years.

Check back with me in 2027 and we will see how we did!

FEATURED MEMBER- CAROLYN IEVERS-LANDIS, PHD, CBSM

Dr Ievers-Landis is a licensed clinical psychologist and Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Developmental/Behavioral Pediatrics and Psychology at Rainbow Babies and Children’s (RB&C) Hospital, University Hospitals at Cleveland Medical Center, and Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) Department of Psychological Sciences. 

She completed internship training at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and post-doctoral training at Emory University School of Medicine.  

Dr. Ievers-Landis has been awarded National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant funding as a Principal Investigator or Co-Investigator on multiple projects relating to children’s health and has published more than 60 articles in scholarly journals and book chapters.  

Clinically, at RB&C Hospital and its satellite clinics Dr. Ievers-Landis provides therapy for families of infants, children, adolescents and emerging adults with sleep disorders such as insomnia, circadian rhythm disorders, nightmares, etc.  

She also provides therapy for patients with obesity (including those with Prader Willi Syndrome) and adjustment/treatment-adherence issues related to other chronic medical onditions (e.g., cystic fibrosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome).  Dr. Ievers-Landis is an Associate Editor for two journals, the Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics (JDBP) and Children's Health Care, and has been the Co-Guest Editor of special issues on pediatric sleep for both of these journals.

How did you decide to specialize in behavioral sleep medicine (what got you started, who did you decide to work with along the way)?

I first was involved in sleep research with Susan Redline, M.D. as part of the Transdisciplinary Research in Energetics and Cancer (TREC) initiative through the National Cancer Institute.  I then began working clinically in behavioral sleep medicine with Carol Rosen, M.D. in 2008.  

Since then I consider sleep to be among my top research and clinical areas and feel so fortunate for the mentorship of Drs. Redline and Rosen.  
I supervise graduate students in Sleep Clinic, and my current student is Marco Hartmann.

What is your advice to graduate students, early career individuals, or those respecializing into behavioral sleep medicine?

I would encourage those who are considering specializing in pediatric sleep to get broad training in pediatric psychology because there are so many of our patients who have co-morbid medical as well as psychological disorders.

Making certain to take graduate-level coursework in pediatric psychology or health psychology and doing as many placements as possible during graduate school and internship is particularly important.  

Shadowing experts in behavioral sleep medicine, both M.D.'s and Ph.D.'s, is immensely helpful.  Remember that there are many sleep research experiences available - reach out to researchers at other sites as needed to collaborate on projects of mutual interest.

What is the next step that you plan on taking either in your research program or clinical practice?

I plan to write a clinician's guide for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia with Dr. Rosen and to pursue research in the areas of sleep and pediatric obesity (particularly dietary intake and eating behaviors) and narcolepsy and psychological functioning.