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New Zealand Dissemination Activities

Sara Runga, New Zealand
Could you please tell us a little about you and your background?:
Kia ora! My name is Sara, I am of indigenous Māori decent, and I come from New Zealand! I am currently undertaking my thesis for the degree of Master of Applied Psychology in Behaviour Analysis (MAppPsy-BA) at The University of Waikato.  My decision to journey into postgraduate studies stemmed from my personal experience battling a mental health illness. I understand that times such as these can be extremely tough for individuals and their loved ones, and I want to be able to provide these people with the tools they need to lead healthy and rewarding lives.

How did you become interested in CBS?:
I was introduced to CBS during the first year of my masters program in 2016. ACT seemed like a natural extension to the behaviour analytic work I had started becoming passionate about! I was excited to come across an approach that felt like something I could, and have been, applying to my own life! One of the many things I love about ACT, is that it incorporates a holistic approach to achieving health and wellbeing, thus aligning with indigenous Māori frameworks of health.

Could you tell us about your research and application interests?:
I am interested in the application of ACT to health-related issues such as obesity, particularly for indigenous populations. In New Zealand, we have extremely high rates of obesity amongst our indigenous Māori and Pasifika communities, and I am interested in adapting ACT principles to weight loss methods.

Could you tell us about your experience at the World Conference this year?:
My experience at the World Conference this year was beyond amazing! The environment facilitated my learning in ways that I hadn’t expected! I particularly enjoyed the practical workshops that incorporated role play exercises as they provided ideas for integrating the ACT matrix into practice.

Was there anything that stood out to you about the CBS community?:
One thing that I find really inspiring about the CBS community is that we share the same values. It’s as though we all have a common purpose, and it goes beyond our work into our everyday lives. Everyone I met was genuinely supportive and caring of one another, and I just love that!

What will you be taking back from your experience that might be helpful to you?:
Attending this conference has been such a rewarding experience and it is really difficult to pinpoint one exact moment that has been helpful because the truth is, the whole experience was totally invaluable! Receiving this scholarship gave me the opportunity to connect with fellow students, researchers, and practitioners from across the world, whom of which I would never had met had I not been in attendance! Listening to the presentations of the many world renowned researchers at the conference was awe-inspiring, and allowed me to attain skills and knowledge that I can take forward into my research pursuits, employment, community volunteering, and my own life!

Do you have anything else that you would like to share with the community?:
Thank you to the diversity committee for choosing me as a recipient of this scholarship! I am incredibly grateful for the experiences I had, and the people I met as a result of attending the conference! Also, a big thank you to those who contributed to the diversity fund, without your support, I would not have made it here and attending the world conference has truly made a difference to my work, my education, and my life!

Are you wondering how you can help to disseminate CBS in the developing world through scholarship opportunities like this? Please consider donating to the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Fund via Paypal by using the button below. Your donation will help us continue to bring increased diversity to our annual conferences by providing funds for individuals who come from diverse backgrounds and who would not be able to attend an ACBS conference without this added financial support.

Every dollar/euro/yen goes to helping those in need -- not a nickel goes to administration. Money collected for this fund is distributed by an ACBS Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee. Scholarships are awarded based on need and merit. 

Please note that this contribution does not qualify as a tax-deductible charitable contribution, according to USA tax law ... but it's a nice thing to do.

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