Society of Behavioral Sleep Medicine Awards

2018 Awards



The Peter Hauri Career Distinguished Achievement Award is awarded to a member of SBSM who has made significant, sustained scientific contributions to behavioral sleep medicine or who has made significant, sustained clinical contributions to behavioral sleep medicine as exemplified by innovations in service delivery, dissemination, and public policy.

 Recipient – Michael Perlis, PhD

Michael’s scientific contributions in behavioral sleep medicine have often been foundational. I will only list a few, here. He was the first to propose the neurocognitive model of insomnia as a means to unify the daytime and nocturnal cognitive experiences of insomnia and help address the perplexing objective-subjective discrepancy related to cognitive function in insomnia. He followed this up with a series of data and review articles investigating hyperarousal in insomnia, several of which have been cited over 100 times each. Michael’s original ideas also led to a series of studies conducted by multiple labs to better characterize and explain the neuropathology underpinning insomnia.

Michael has also made seminal contributions in the area of insomnia and depression. Michael’s 1997 paper showing that sleep was the earliest symptom of depression to elevate prior to a relapse helped solidify the causal role of insomnia in depression.

A third example of Michael’s scientific influence has been in understanding the efficacy of CBT for Insomnia. He has written several articles showing CBT-I to be equally or more efficacious than medications, including one of the earliest and best cited meta-analyses on the topic. In doing so, he has contributed substantially to the clear and universally accepted idea that CBT-I is the front-line treatment for insomnia. 

There are multiple generations of scientists and clinicians who have benefited from his mentoring, and his mentees have gone on to make significant contributions to the field.


Recipient: Sheila Garland PhD

The Arthur J. Spielman Early Career Distinguished Achievement Award is awarded to a member who has made significant scientific or clinical contributions to behavioral sleep medicine as exemplified by innovations in service delivery, dissemination, and public policy.

Dr Garland is in her third year as an Assistant Professor at Memorial University of Newfoundland after having completed a 3-year post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania and graduating from the doctoral program in clinical psychology at the University of Calgary. 

She has worked diligently to build a solid program of research in the area of behavioral sleep medicine with a particular focus on understanding and treating sleep disturbances in individuals diagnosed with cancer. Since starting her academic position at Memorial University, Sheila founded the Sleep, Health, & Wellness Laboratory.

Dr Garland was awarded a PCORI grant to fund a comparative effectiveness trial comparing acupuncture to CBT-I for insomnia in cancer survivors. 


Recipient:   Spencer Dawson PhD

The Student Dissertation and Thesis Award is awarded to a student member who has provided evidence of outstanding work on his or her thesis or dissertation project by summarizing the theoretical background supporting the project, the methodological rigor, and the significance of the findings to the field of BSM.

Spencer’s research interests focus on translational science that has the potential to improve our understanding of and treatment of insomnia and sleep disorders.  His Master’s study was an analysis of an intervention trial for the Treatment of Insomnia in the Context of Comorbid Sleep Disturbance using CBTI.  He conducted a comprehensive analysis of an existing dataset from a study conducted by his mentor, Dick Bootzin.  His dissertation research, that he successfully defended last year, was a project he designed from the ground up, using diverse measures including self-report, interview, psychophysiological responses, and polysomnography, to assess empirically the relationship between arousal and sleep misperception.  His research thus integrates easily with this RDoC paradigm and should place Spencer in a strong position to compete for NIMH funding to continue this line of research in the future.  Dr Dawson currently is completing his post-doctoral training at Northwestern University with Dr Ong.