The History of World Behavior Analysis Day – By Elizabeth Drago, Project Initiator

One of my many career goals as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) consists of developing unified practices to educate others and celebrate the science of behavior analysis.  Since I began working in the field, providing services to individuals diagnosed with intellectual and developmental disabilities almost 20 years ago, I became enthralled with the theoretical underpinnings of the science of behavior analysis. From an applied perspective, I immediately knew I was destined to devote my life to pursuing the continuation of my studies of behavior analysis and to apply the teachings to those most in need.   


Like many of my distinguished colleagues before me, I too “stumbled upon” the science of behavior analysis.  After my graduate work in clinical psychology at Columbia, a very dear friend of mine and Columbia colleague, said “Hey, did you hear of this program at Penn State University offering coursework in Behavior Analysis?”  At the time, I was not fully aware of the science. After completing research of the field, I fell in love with the theoretical underpinnings of behavior analysis.  I recall saying to myself, “This aligns with my beliefs and understanding about behavior”.  I then made the decision to further my studies in behavior analysis. 


Fast forward to the current time, I am now practicing as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), licensed in NYS.  I provide behavior analytic treatment to individuals ranging from ages 4-22, in home-based settings with a wonderful and reputable agency, Proud Moments ABA. During my time at Proud Moments ABA, I have the honor of working with Executive Clinical Director, Dr. Bobby Newman. Bobby has been a mentor and friend of mine for many years.  I contribute much of my success as a clinician to his support, encouragement and many opportunities for professional development.   


I also serve as a member of the Board of Directors with the New York State Association for Behavior Analysis (NYSABA), as Representative at Large.  In 2018, I began participating in legislative work pertaining to licensure and regulations matters in the field of behavior analysis in NYS with NYSABA’s Legislative Committee.  The Committee’s main objective is to advocate for amendment to the NYS licensure law restriction of the practice of behavior analysis in NYS.  I am currently a lead member with the NYSABA Legislative Committee, focusing on regulation matters affecting the practice of behavior analysis in NYS. A significant role in influencing change to legislation law is the dissemination of the issues pertaining to the law, specifically ways the restriction affects individuals, regardless of diagnosis, residing in NYS.


In brainstorming ideas to assist me in achieving this dissemination goal, in the fall of 2020, I developed the idea of creating a commemorative day celebrating the science of behavior analysis. Since commemorative days have the tendency to generate high levels of social acceptability as well as having a broad demographic reach, dedicating a special day to celebrate behavior analysis provided me with the opportunity to teach others about the science of behavior analysis on a more global scale.


I then formulated a plan to initially develop a National Behavior Analysis Day. I completed further research related to the logistics involved in officiating a commemorative day and identified a number of online platforms to submit applications for approval. After gathering my information and developing a pitch, I presented my proposal to the NYSABA Board of Directors.  To my great delight, the proposal was warmly received and supported amongst all Board Members. It was suggested I reach out to national and international behavior analytic organizations to inquire interest in participating in the project.  This is where the journey began!


From there, I reached out to various behavior analytic organizations to pitch my idea. Each organization representative responded to the idea with great enthusiasm and support to join in on this initiative!


With the dedicated efforts of the World Behavior Analysis Day team, National Behavior Analysis Day soon developed into World Behavior Analysis Day, to encompass and celebrate the science of behavior analysis on a global scale! The date, March 20th was chosen to celebrate World Behavior Analysis Day annually to commemorate the birth date of B.F. Skinner, founder of the science of contemporary behavior analysis.   


I am honored to report the growing number of supporting members/sponsors of World Behavior Analysis Day. Without the support and continued efforts of this core team, this project would not be as widely embraced as it is today!


Please join us in the inaugural celebration of World Behavior Analysis Day on March 20th, 2021 by viewing the premiere video developed by Ryan Sain and Brad Bishop (from PsychCore, LLC) along with the assistance from select World Behavior Analysis Day team members such as Christy Evanko, Paulie Gavoni with special guest, Anika Costa, Gordon Bourland and Colleen Williams. This team has volunteered their time and worked tirelessly to write and produce the WBAD video commemorating the inaugural celebration! 


Much appreciation and many thanks to Melissa Nosik, Ph.D., BCBA-D and James Carr, Ph.D., BCBA, representing the Behavior Analyst Certification Board, for funding the WBAD project and being WBAD’s champions from the start! Also, a warm acknowledgement to the BACB marketing team for beautifully crafting WBAD’s unique logo!!


A very special thank you to Dr. Julie Vargas, B.F. Skinner’s daughter and Lisa Kristina Tillman, B.F. Skinner’s granddaughter, for contributing to the production of the WBAD video and supporting the WBAD project!


Stay tuned for more exciting announcements about WBAD coming soon!


Click on the following link to view the premiere video of World Behavior Analysis Day!

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