When it comes to making a difference, solving community problems and being an agent of positive change, Dr. Doreen Hilton, a professor at Fayetteville State University’s Department of Psychology takes a committed but somewhat unconventional approach. 

Since the 1980s Hilton has been a member of the Association of Social and Behavioral Scientists. The organization is hosting its 80th Annual Conference at the Embassy Suites at 4760 Lake Valley Dr. on March 19-21. The conference is open to the public and will cover a broad range of topics. 

“The Association of Social and Behavioral Scientists was founded at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte,” said Hilton. “The conference has a long history — the association, too — of addressing issues that impact the lives of blacks. The association is an embracing organization committed to making a difference. That has always been a highlight for me.”

What makes the conference significant is that scholars in a wide array of disciplines come together and exchange ideas. They generate and discuss theories and practical applied solutions. The scholars come together at the meeting every year and it is at this conference that they share those ideas and research. Many go back to their home institutions and home agencies and continue the work that was shared and inspired at the conference. 

“Every year that I have gone, I have come back with new information and ideas and new energy to infuse into the teaching and work I do with students here,” said Hilton. “It is also an excellent opportunity for networking with scholars from across the country.”

As President Elect and Program Chair, Hilton knew Fayetteville would be a great fit for the conference. 

“We have many universities in North Carolina, we also have a large military presence here. This is a good place to bring scholars together to highlight the work that goes on in this area of our country that fits with the mission of our organization,” she said. 

Concurrent breakout sessions are planned throughout the course of the conference. The topics of discussion deal with everything from mental health of veterans to HIV AIDS prevention to educational challenges, which Hilton noted is important with budget cuts at public schools and higher education. Some of the education sessions will deal with retention and the high school dropout rates across the country. Health issues like diabetes and cancer are on the agenda as well. 

“All of these health issues are far too prevalent in the African-American community,” said Hilton. “This conference gives us the opportunity to address some of the issues and go back to our communities and implement programs and research that will improve our communities. There are many in our area affiliated with military: active duty, veterans and family members. They have experiences that are very different from the general population and it is important for us to address those and take a look at what we can do to make a difference there, too.”

The Association of Social and Behavioral Scientists 80th Annual Conference is open to the public but registration is required. The cost is $260 and includes the W.E.B. DuBois Luncheon. Tickets for the W.E.B. DuBois Luncheon on Friday, March 20 are $35. To register for the conference and/or purchase tickets to the W.E.B. DuBois Luncheon, call 910-551-6761 or email

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