Doctoral student wins two Society of Behavioral Medicine awards

January 23, 2013 | Research, UToday, — Languages, Literature and Social Sciences
By Casey Cheap

It is not typical for a student to win two national awards for one academic paper. But that is just what Jill Brown, psychology doctoral candidate, did with her recent research on sleeping disorder treatments.



Brown won a Citation Award and Meritorious Student Poster Award from the Society of Behavioral Medicine, and she will present her research at the annual conference in San Francisco in March.

The Citation Award is a conference-wide honor open to both students and faculty. Criteria for the award include the work’s originality and scientific merit.

The Meritorious Student Poster Award is given to student abstracts that include posters and papers of the highest caliber.

Brown said she was surprised and excited to win dual awards because the Society of Behavioral Medicine does not have an application and interview process for awards, but reviews the merit of all conference submissions.

Her paper reported one study that analyzed the effect that choices have on the sleep of patients. Brown’s research investigates whether the number of sleep treatments offered to a patient is a critical component in treatment efficacy.

“In this study, most patients reported they slept better if they had a choice between five different sleep treatments compared to patients with no choice over their treatment,” Brown said. “We are an independent society, and we like choice. But going into the research, it also seemed plausible that individuals would find choice overwhelming.”

Dr. Andrew Geers, UT professor of psychology and Brown’s adviser, said he is excited that she will present at the conference and be around some of the top researchers in the world.

“This will be a great conference for Jill to present her award-winning research,” Geers said. “As the conference goers include psychologists, physicians, nurses, neurologists, biostatisticians, bioethicists and epidemiologists, this is the ideal audience to learn about Jill’s findings.”

Brown said when she is done with school, she would like to continue her research in academia.

“I would love the opportunity to teach at the university level while continuing my research on choice behavior,” she said. “That being said, I am not closed off to the idea of working somewhere such as the National Institutes of Health, where I can have an impact on larger policy change.”

Brown said she had to thank those she has worked with the most, including Geers and Dr. Jason Rose, UT assistant professor of psychology.

“I collected most of the data working with undergraduates in Dr. Rose’s lab,” she said.

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