We're live here in Orlando, and it's been a busy day of presentations and posters before the start of the full Annual Research Meeting. More than 500 researchers participated in today's pre-conference Interest Group meetings, which offer a venue for networking and discussion on emerging research in specialized areas. "[Interest Group meetings] are an opportunity to talk broadly and deeply about where we should be going as a field and new approaches to how we do our work," said Tami Mark, co-chair of the Behavioral Health Services Research Interest Group. "It's a chance to go more in-depth and an opportunity to interact with each other." These communities are composed of research and policy professionals who share common goals for improving health care, and many Interest Groups recognized the outstanding work their members have done to inform policy and clinical decision-making. The following groups presented awards during today's meetings:

Child Health Services Research Interest Group:

2012 Nemours Child Health Services Research Award Tumaini Rucker Coker, M.D., M.B.A. Mattel Children's Hospital

Disability Research Interest Group:

Service Award Rene Jahiel, Ph.D. Ecole Libre des Hautes Etudes

Gender and Health Interest Group:

2012 Carol Weisman & Gary Chase Gender-Based Research Awards

Best Abstract “Reporting In-Military Sexual Assault and Current Mental Health of OEF/OIF Active Component, Reserve, and National Guard Servicewomen” Michelle Mengeling, Ph.D. Iowa City VA Health Care System

Honorable Mention “2011 VHA Emergency Services for Women (ESW) Survey” Kristina M. Cordasco, M.D., M.P.H., M.S.H.S. VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System and the University of California, Los Angeles

Honorable Mention “Differences Between Male and Female Home Care Clients and Subsequent Admission to Long-Term Care in Ontario, Canada” Andrea Gruneir, Ph.D. Women’s College Hospital

Best Poster “Is Neighborhood Socioeconomic Status Independently Associated with Predicted Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) Risk and Disparities in CHD Risk among Adults in the United States?” Chloe Bird, Ph.D. RAND Corporation

Interdisciplinary Research Group on Nursing Issues:

2012 New Investigator Award Lusine Poghosyan, Ph.D. Columbia University “Policy and Organizational Scope of Practice Barriers and Facilitators for Primary Care Nurse Practitioners in a State with Health Reform”

2012 Mentor Award Nancy Dunton, Ph.D. University of Kansas Medical Center

The groups are ending the day with a joint poster session and reception, so we're off to meet and mingle with the Interest Group participants and their outstanding volunteer leaders who ensure that these communities continue to be a source of peer-to-peer networking and discussion.