AASECT Annual Conference- Update from the Co-chairs

As we approach AASECT’s 49th annual conference, we are diligently working on developing a quality program that highlights this year’s theme: Honoring Our Past, Celebrating the Present, and Envisioning Our Future. We are emerging from our conference planning to give you a glimpse into what you can expect this year in Vegas!


This year’s proposal submissions surpassed years past, and we received several quality proposals that spoke to the overall theme but also filled some of the gaps in knowledge and skill building that have been noted by members during past conferences. In addition, a new presentation format was added to this year’s program; the Original Research Session format seeks to showcase research being conducted in the field to help conference attendees be fully informed in the most contemporary studies on sexuality. We have just completed final selections of conference presentations, so please be on the lookout for an email detailing these decisions.


During this planning period, we were also able to confirm the plenary speakers for this year’s conference. We are delighted to share those names with you here:

  • David Malebranche (Opening/Engaging Diversity Plenary); respected researcher & expert on HIV/sexual health
  • Byllye Avery (Schiller Plenary); longtime social justice/sexual health activist & Founder of Black Women’s Health Imperative 
  • Sarah Weddington (Schiller Plenary)
  • David Buss (Whipple Plenary); professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, known for his evolutionary psychology research on human sex differences in mate selection
  • Doug Braun-Harvey; AASECT Board member; sexual health author, trainer and psychotherapist who bridges sexual and mental health and facilitates organizational change
  • Carrie Bettinger-Lopez; the White House Advisor on Violence Against Women, serving as a senior advisor to Vice President Biden and as a member of the White House Council on Women and Girls, where she focuses on supporting and coordinating national and global efforts to combat domestic violence, sexual assault, and other forms of gender-based violence

Lastly, we cannot forget that this year’s conference is also a celebration of AASECT’s 50th Anniversary! A 50th Anniversary Committee has been working to craft an interactive, educational and entertaining celebration that will encourage members to engage, connect, and learn with each other. Please check on the website, our social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Snapchat) for updates and further details on how we will be honoring this momentous period in AASECT’s history.


We are eager to reflect on and commemorate AASECT’s history with you while also collaborating together to advance the future of our field.


We look forward to seeing you in Las Vegas!


Mariotta Gary-Smith MPH, CSE

Jayleen Galarza, PhD, LSCW, MEd, CST

2017 AASECT Annual Conference Co-chairs 

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