2021 SPPAC - Virtual

Now available

  The full, 2021 virtual SPPAC Program!

And a couple other quick links: Registration and Schedule at a glance


SPPAC 2021 will be virtual! - Letter from SPP President

Hi All,

After much thought and discussion, the SPP Board of Directors has made the decision for SPPAC 2021 to go virtual.   This was a difficult decision and I want to take some time to explain how this decision was made.

Who made the decision?

The voting board members (those board members who are elected by membership) of the SPP Board of Directors voted unanimously to move SPPAC 2021 virtually.  

What were the major factors in making the decision?
  • The safety of our members
  • The safety of the communities we serve
  • Our commitment to not creating disparities by having a decision disproportionately impact certain groups
  • Public Health
  • Delivering high quality programming and maximizing the number who can take part
  • Financial health of SPP
  • Input of members
Why decide now vs waiting until spring?

Deciding now enables conference chairs to let presenters and submitters know what to expect in terms of the conference.  In addition, deciding now will enable the conference planning committee to be creative and thoughtful in the application of technology.  It is unlikely that we will know more about the safety of travel or the availability of a vaccine until much closer to the date which doesn’t give much time to plan for the virtual format.   We pulled off a wonderful vSPPAC for 2020 in just 7 days;  with more time, the sky is the limit!   I’m confident that we will have another even more amazing virtual conference.  Not only will we have a strong scientific program with outstanding presenters, we can also thoughtfully plan how to create opportunities for networking and connecting – things we value so much in our conferences.

What about a hybrid model?

We discussed the merits of a hybrid model and felt that holding the conference virtually is the best way for our members to connect in a way that is safe, reduces risk, and does not lead to disparities among those who might have been able to attend vs not.   As we committed to in our January Board Meeting, we are considering issues of diversity and inclusion in all of our decision making processes.

Does this decision place SPP at financial risk?

Cancelling the in-person conference will result in losing $200K in hotel fees.   Unlike 2020, we are not able to claim force majeure and thus are responsible for these fees.   However, we were at risk of losing significant money even if we held the conference in person as our breakeven point was based on 700-800 people in attendance.   The more we dropped below that amount, the more money we would lose.   As we mentioned in the spring, we are fortunate to have a history of excellent financial stewardship and have the funds to cover these costs.  In addition, the Board is identifying ways to reduce expenses (e.g., 2021 Midwinter meeting will be virtual).   But we will need to be careful in our spending going forward.

Did you consider moving the conference to later in the year?

We discussed this option with the hotel and they would have charged us a substantial penalty to move the conference plus 100% of the original fees.   This news plus the uncertainty of the course of COVID-19, reinforced our feelings that the best decision was to move to virtual for 2021.  

What will the virtual conference cost?

We are still looking at the costs for the virtual conference and will update you as soon as we can.  While we are incurring a significant loss for cancelling the in-person conference, we are not planning for registration fees to absorb that loss.  Registration fees will cover the costs associated with KU- our conference planners and their zoom platform - as well as speaker fees and support for CEs.

Will the dates be the same?

We are considering lots of options regarding dates and time and will keep you posted.

Will we still have the ability to earn CEs?

Yes, we are committed to providing CE opportunities for our members, and in fact, hope to expand these offerings.

How do our members feel about a virtual conference?

Thank you to those who completed the survey.  470 of you responded.

  • 8% preferred in-person, 57% preferred virtual, and 35% preferred a hybrid approach.
  • When asked how likely you would be to attend an in person conference, 1.5% said you would attend no matter what, 6% said you would attend if your institution allowed it, 55% would attend if your institution allowed and a public health indicator you follow looks promising, 19% said you have already decided not to attend, and 18% were unsure.
  • 83% stated that their institution has a travel ban or they anticipate further travel bans coming.
  • 31% said that their institution has already reduced CE monies for 2021.  

While I would like to include all the comments, there were many!   I read through each one - multiple times.  Here is a sampling:

  • As much as I value the in person conferences, it feels disingenuous to travel for a conference when I provide services to high risk and underserved populations.
  • I included that my preference was in-person. However, if the conference was held next month I would very much prefer virtual. I would not be comfortable attending an in-person conference until COVID is well under control. Thanks for all you do!
  • As a student member, funding for conferences has either been minimized or completely eliminated across schools. Some people may not have the financial resources to attend, even if their school or public health indicator lift travel bans.
  • While I appreciate that The Board has worked to gain an understanding of what member preferences are, I am concerned that this will lead to underrepresented groups not being considered. The "majority" is going to be individuals who are able bodied and members of large organizations who could make attending work if feasible. However, the groups of members who do not have access to the same funding, who may have chronic health conditions, and who may have other complicating factors preventing them from attending, may not have a voice in this survey as they are not the "majority." I strongly hope that The Board will consider this important point as you make decisions for 2021.
  • I agree that the important factors are inclusivity and financial health. We need SPP to stay healthy for future years when we will (hopefully) be able to do in person events.
  • I think that the situation with COVID is so fluid and changing that it would be impossible to anticipate and plan for in person only at this point in time.
What about 2022?

At this point, we have not committed to 2022.  We will continue to monitor and will keep you up to date.


Thank you all for how much you care and how committed you are to our organization and the communities we serve. While I am incredibly sad to send this e-mail and make the decision again for a virtual conference, I also feel that it is the right thing to do.  I will miss the opportunity to see so many of you in person and look forward to when that time comes again.  But I also look forward to times of virtual connections.   Our society is so strong- we will continue to grow and be impactful!

Please feel free to reach out to me if you have questions.

Jennifer Shroff Pendley
On behalf of the SPP Board




The SPPAC aims to advance SPP's mission by:

  1. Advancing the science of pediatric psychology and related fields through dissemination of cutting edge research; promotion of research that is culturally, ethically and developmentally sensitive and includes diverse populations; and education on evidence-based assessment, intervention, and emerging areas of research, clinical care and policy.
  2. Providing a forum for individuals at all levels, from students to established investigators and clinicians, to facilitate consultation, collaboration and mentorship.
  3. Promoting the role and value of pediatric psychology in a changing healthcare environment nationally and internationally.


  1. To provide up-to-date information on evidence-based practice in pediatric psychology services for children and families.
  2. To provide a forum for presentation and discussion of current research in pediatric psychology, and how such research informs clinical practice, service delivery, and policy decisions.
  3. To provide opportunities for productive interaction between and among researchers, practitioners, and trainees.


Questions about program content? Contact:

Christopher C. Cushing, PhD
2020 SPPAC Co-Chair


Emily Law, PhD
2020 SPPAC Co-Chair

Questions about conference registration? Contact:

Pam Hicks
2020 Conference Planner


The Society of Pediatric Psychology (Division 54 of the American Psychological Association) is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Society of Pediatric Psychology maintains responsibility for this program and its contents.

Right Side Bar: 

Thanks to our sponsors!


Related Resources

Thanks to our sponsors!