ISTSS is a large, multidisciplinary society. Members involve themselves in ISTSS along two axes: the victim/survivor populations with which they work and the interest areas they have that span survivor groups in scope.
A complete list of victim/survivor population groups and interest areas is included on the membership application. In addition, ISTSS maintains an active committee structure that allows members hands-on participation in program development and implementation.
Questions about SIGs? Or, would you like to create a new SIG? Contact SIG chair, Kathleen Chard, PhD.
Learn More About Each SIGGenomics and Trauma SIG
The Aging, Trauma, and the Life Course special interest group aims to appeal to researchers, clinicians, and policymakers from all disciplines who study trauma and aging or work with older trauma survivors (combat veterans or other survivors of war; Holocaust survivors; sexual trauma survivors; etc.), and who are interested in the unique ways in which trauma experienced at various points across the life course interacts with developmental factors to influence health and well-being. We aim to foster interdisciplinary collaboration and communication among researchers, clinicians, and policymakers who are concerned with the impact that trauma has throughout the aging process, and to help disseminate knowledge regarding trauma and aging.
Eve Davison, PhD
WHSD, Nat Ctr PTSD (116B-3)
150 S Huntington Ave
VA Boston Healthcare System
Boston, MA 02130
The Child Trauma special interest group is a member forum for individuals with an interest in the field of childhood trauma. Our members are diverse, both in terms of individual interest area as well as professional modality. Informal surveys indicate our members work in a range of settings, including private practice, universities, clinics, hospitals, and research laboratories. Group members' interests are broad, and range from chronic/complex childhood trauma to acute injury and incidents.
The SIG offers a forum for ISTSS members, associates, and affiliates to discuss issues related to prevention, assessment, intervention, research, and policy effecting children and families who have been impacted by trauma. We have an active electronic listserv, which is utilized for member discussion, networking, information exchange, posting of conference/position announcements, and collaboration on projects. A particular goal for the SIG is continued representation of childhood trauma within the broader ISTSS society. In the past, this has been addressed through collaboration on conference proposals, enhancing member access to information about child-related programming, and endorsement of high-quality child- and family-related presentations.
We welcome new ideas and members. For more information, please contact Marianne Kabour at email@example.com.
The focus of the Complex Trauma special interest group is on the
development, co-occurring symptoms and treatment challenges associated
with chronic or severe interpersonal trauma. With respect to the
development of complex trauma, it is recognized that an identifiable
traumatic event is not always discernible, especially for young children
for whom the simple unavailability of a caregiver may signify a severe
life-threatening danger and who necessarily depend upon the caregiver to
help them organize and process their reactions to extreme stress.
Moreover, even for an adult, a traumatic event may not necessarily
involve a physical threat so much as a psychological threat to the
integrity of the self by an attachment figure. Profound stressors such
as group violence and chronic exposure to stressors such as poverty and
deprivation and community violence can also affect individuals and
communities in ways that are not limited to PTSD and can exacerbate the
effects of other identifiable stressors that in isolation would not
ordinarily lead to excessive suffering. Thus, a focus on complex trauma
necessarily attends to the historical and current context of severe
stress as well as the systemic cultural factors of privilege and
disadvantage that create the social ecology in which complex trauma can
develop. The fact that events such as these are indeed significant has
been demonstrated repeatedly by neuroscience research indicating
long-term and perhaps irreversible psychophysiological effects on brain
organization. The co-occurring problems observed in individuals who have
experienced complex trauma are varied and include affective, anxiety,
dissociative and somatoform disorders as well as interpersonal problems
and substance abuse. These symptoms are associated both with
treatment-seeking as well as negative outcomes in traditional treatment
approaches. Therefore, in addition to exploring the development and
correlates of complex trauma, this SIG seeks to address the concerns of
clinicians whose clients typically consist of children and adults
suffering from the pervasive and long-term effects of chronic
This SIG looks to knowledge currently being generated by a number of different fields and disciplines including attachment theory, with its emphasis on intimate relationships and caregivers as either sources of trauma themselves or as unable to protect children from fear or trauma; developmental psychopathology, with its emphasis on trajectories of symptoms and vulnerability to subsequent trauma as a function of initial failures in the caregiving relationship; neuroscience research, with its discovery of neurobiological abnormalities associated with abusive or neglectful family relationships; and psychotherapy outcome research conducted on the treatment of patients with complex trauma histories.
Pamela C. Alexander, PhD
Wellesley Centers for Women
106 Central Street
Wellesley, MA 02481-8203
Phone: (781) 283-2512
Chase Stovall-McClough, PhD
Institute for Trauma and Stress
Child Study Center
NYU Medical Center
New York, NY 10016
Phone: (540) 454-8375
David Read Johnson, PhD
Co-Director, Post Traumatic Stress Center
19 Edwards St.
New Haven, CT 06511
Amber Elizabeth Gray
Restorative Resources Training & Consulting
Susan Mirow, MD PhD
Univ of Utah Sch of Medicine
Dept of Psychiatry
73 G Street
Salt Lake City, UT 84103-2951
The SIG offers the opportunity for researchers, clinicians, policymakers, educators, and others who are engaged in these activities to share ideas and knowledge and build collaboration. The goal will be to develop, learn, and share successful models of, dissemination, and implementation, as well as efficient but rigorous methodologies to evaluate the process and outcomes of further innovations.
Shannon Wiltsey Stirman, PhD
National Center for PTSD, VA Boston
Women's Health Sciences Division
150 S. Huntington Ave (116B3)
Boston, MA 02130
Delyth Lloyd, MA
Australian Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health
Level1/340 Albert Street
Melbourne, VIC 3002
The Diversity and Cultural Competency Special Interest Group (DCC-SIG) of ISTSS focuses and addresses both content and process issues surrounding diversity. While the DCC-SIG recognizes the unique contribution, experiences and perspective of all individuals, we are strongly committed to examining and recognizing the importance of such historically and currently relevant group- and community-level factors as race, ethnicity, tribal/cultural group, sexual orientation, religion, socio-economic status, and nationality, among others. The DCC-SIG believes that these factors mediate, moderate and in many cases, even determine traumatic exposure and post-traumatic response, such as through exposures to hate crimes, general community violence, forced internment, enslavement and other trauma or via contributing factors occurring within societies hostile to particular groups, such as social attitudes and actions contributing to a hostile environment. However, demographic characteristics may also be proxies for or directly countervail the effects of trauma through culturally-specific strengths and resilience factors.
The process issues which the DCC-SIG addresses are multi-fold, but centrally focus on enabling ISTSS as a whole to become more representative of the many groups and communities who are and can make contributions to the field of traumatic stress studies and allied fields.
The DCC-SIG also recognizes that cultural "competence" is a goal to strive for and not a readily reachable static endpoint. Cultural competence has as its starting point awareness of one's own cultural framework and culturally induced blind spots. This may be the beginning point for the development of cultural sensitivity.
Since its inception four years ago, the DCC-SIG has addressed and continues to address the above concerns through a variety of means:
The DCC-SIG always welcomes questions and comments along with new members. Please feel free to contact Bita Ghafoori, PhD, Co-Chair of the DCC-SIG at firstname.lastname@example.org or Stefanie Smith, PhD, Co-Chair of the DCC-SIG at email@example.com.
Convene meetings at ISTSS Annual Conferences, and arrange
presentations and/or workshops at those meetings; Gather information
about current developments in and publications related to early
Facilitate networking and collaboration among interested ISTSS members, by establishing an email list; and Generally, promote study, development, and application of effective early interventions to prevent development of PTSD and other trauma-related problems.
Brief Background and Rationale:
Although most human service professionals believe in the importance of early intervention post-trauma to prevent development of chronic psychological problems, there is little agreement as to the appropriate forms of care. A range of psychological interventions has been advocated for use with various traumatized populations within days or weeks of their trauma exposure, including education about trauma and stress reactions, training in stress-management, critical incident stress debriefing (CISD), cognitive-behavioral brief intervention packages, EMDR, and psychopharmacological interventions. Currently, prospective research studying response to trauma and beginning within hours or days of the traumatic event is increasing rapidly, and a number of recent publications have suggested the potential utility of early interventions in preventing development of PTSD (e.g., Foa, Hearst-Ikeda, & Perry, 1995; Bryant, Harvey, Dang, Sackville, & Basten, 1998). Recent support for such interventions is occurring at the same time that the utility of debriefing procedures is being subjected to increased scrutiny (ISTSS Practice Guidelines on Acute Intervention and Debriefing; Raphael, Meldrum, & McFarlane, 1995; Rose & Bisson, 1998). These developments are relevant for clinicians, educators, researchers, administrators and policy-makers.
Josef I. Ruzek, PhD
National Center for PTSD
VA Palo Alto Health Care System
795 Willow Road
Menlo Park, CA 94025
Phone: (650) 493-5000 x22977
Patricia Watson, PhD
National Center for PTSD
VA Medical & Regional Office Ctr
White River Junction, VT 05009
Phone: (802) 295-9363 x6071
Fax: (802) 296-5135
The Family Systems Approaches to Trauma Special Interest Group (FSAT-SIG) seeks to establish a focus that promotes increased knowledge about the nature of psychological trauma, along with the prevention and treatment of its effects on individuals and their intimate relationships, from a family systems perspective. Individuals do not experience traumatic events in isolation; rather, they are part of larger couple, family, and socio-cultural systems. It is important to understand and address both 1) how trauma impacts the broader systems within which the individual survivor interacts and lives, and 2) sources of resilience within these systems that facilitate recovery and growth.
In an effort to promote the larger mission of ISTSS, the FSAT-SIG is designed to: 1) educate the ISTSS Community about advancements both within and outside the field that have implications for research and treatment of trauma survivors and their family systems, 2) promote awareness of the relationship between traumatic stress and issues for couple and family systems, 3) foster communication among FSAT-SIG members regarding their clinical and research work and interests, 4) stimulate further research and clinical developments in this area to narrow the gap between research and clinical practice, and 5) disseminate information regarding FSAT-SIG activities to ISTSS and to the larger field.
Briana S. Nelson Goff, PhD
School of Family Studies and Human Services
Marriage and Family Therapy Program
Kansas State University
322 Justin Hall
Manhattan, KS 66506-1403
Phone: (785) 532-1490
Fax: (785) 532-5505
Laurel J. Kiser, PhD, MBA
Department of Psychiatry
University of Maryland School of Medicine
737 W Lombard St., Rm 500
Baltimore, MD 21210
Phone: (410) 706-2490
Fax: (410) 706-0022
Current conceptualizations of posttraumatic stress disorder arose from two major groups of clinical observations: "war neurosis" and "shellshock" among male veterans of combat and "rape trauma syndrome" among female survivors of sexual assault. While the medical and mental health professions now refer to such traumatic stress reactions under the common rubric of PTSD, current research and clinical observations still suggest that men and women may respond differently to traumatic events. For example, risk factors for PTSD differ by gender, men and women manifest symptoms of PTSD in different ways, and, most notably, women evidence twice the rate of PTSD as men following traumatic exposure. Unsurprisingly, many clinical and research specialties in the field of PTSD fall along gendered lines. As a result, interactions between type of trauma exposure and gender as they may relate to the risk and course of PTSD remain to be elucidated. Clinical observation and scholarly work in this area is essential to the basic understanding of traumatic stress responses and to providing the most effective treatment to trauma survivors
The primary goal of the ISTSS Gender and Trauma SIG is to create a dialogue among clinicians and researchers to effectively address and explore the role of gender in PTSD. A SIG within ISTSS is the ideal forum for this task, because we are able to bring a multidisciplinary group of professionals together from disparate service settings (e.g. Veterans Hospitals, Rape Treatment Centers) and disparate populations of interest that represent expertise with both men and women. In addition, individuals working in this area are able to disseminate the results and observations to a receptive audience with relevant application for this work.
The SIG has three sub-specialty areas: Research, Clinical and Education & Policy. Each of these three branches of this SIG undertakes activities to further the overall goals of the SIG. The research branch sponsors and supports gender-related research submissions to the ISTSS conference program. The clinical branch sponsors and encourages clinically oriented workshops and presentations regarding gender and PTSD at the ISTSS conferences. The clinical branch also compiles a resource book for clinical training in medicine, psychology, and social work where students can obtain experience with PTSD populations of both men and women, or training experiences that directly address gender issues. The Education branch is responsible for educating the membership on issues relevant to gender and PTSD in health care administration, health policy, and research administration, and organizing action on the part of the membership if appropriate. Such action may range from letter writing campaigns to circulation of employment openings, to responses to RFAs. Branch activities are accomplished via meetings at ISTSS annual meetings and an email listserve for the SIG.
Jaimie L. Gradus, DSc, MPH
Women's Health Sciences Division
National Center for PTSD
VA Boston Healthcare System
150 S. Huntington Ave. (116B-3)
Boston, MA 02130
Work: (857) 364-6688
Fax: (857) 364-4515
Katherine M. Iverson, PhD
Clinical Research Psychologist
Women's Health Sciences Division, National Center for PTSD, VA Boston Healthcare System
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
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Ananda Amstadter, PhD
Virginia Commonwealth University
Virginia Institute for Psyc Genetics
800 E Leigh, Ste 100
Richmond, VA 29425
Nicole Nugent, PhD
197 Don Ave
Rumford, RI 02916
The focus of this SIG is on the development of a network of professionals interested in traumatic stress exposure and outcomes as related to a range of genomic approaches spanning family studies, candidate gene studies, GWAS, whole genome, gene-environment interplay, and epigenetic processes. This group will foster opportunities to develop collaboration among SIG members, to learn from one another, and to provide further learning to members of the larger ISTSS community.
First, the intent of this group is to foster a network of collaboration, which is particularly important in genetic studies that often require collaborations across multiple international groups. Second, the group will provide opportunities for clinicians and scientists interested in different aspects of genomic research, an inherently transdisciplinary field, to learn from one another. Third, the Genomics and Trauma SIG will aim to provide opportunities for ISTSS members who are unfamiliar with genomic approaches to learn more about genomic methods and the implications of genomic findings for other areas of the study of traumatic stress.
Leilani Kuuipo Ordway
3628 Old Colony Rd
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
Work: (269) 966-5600
Fax: (269) 385-5811
Rouguiatou Diallo, M.Sc
10341 Bushman Dr
Oakton, VA 22124
Work: (202) 884-8461
Maria Yellowhorse Braveheart, PhD
Center for Rural and Community Behavioral Health at the University of New Mexico
9500 Osuna Road NE, #325
Albuquerque, NM 87111
The ISTSS Internet and Technology (I&T) Special Interest Group (SIG) is a forum for researchers, clinicians, and educators with an interest or expertise in all things associated with the Internet and technology. It is understood that I&T are tools to facilitating work and social networking. The I&T SIG is especially interested in how these tools can and do help traumatized or help understand them. Therefore the I&T SIG promotes interdisciplinary dialogue, special projects, and research on the interface between I&T and trauma.
Some History: The I&T SIG is among the oldest, being established with the first group of SIGs by the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS). It has sponsored sessions early in its history.
New Beginning: We are especially interested in becoming a valued resource for new and younger ISTSS members and students. Plans are underway to establish social networking web sites, a Twitter network, and other efforts to promote interaction among I&T SIG members.
Prof. Charles R. Figley, PhD, The Paul Henry Kurzweg, MD,
Distinguished Chair in Disaster, Mental Health, Fulbright Scholar,
Tulane University Graduate School of Social Work Professor, Editor of
Phone: (504) 862-3473
The LGBT SIG was created to increase the representation of sexual minority and gender variant populations within ISTSS. We are concerned about the lack of LGBT-focused presentations and posters at the annual ISTSS meeting and thus strive to raise awareness of the unique health needs of LGBT trauma survivors at the annual conference and also within the organization in general.. This is particularly important given the high rates of trauma, PTSD, and help-seeking behavior among LGBT populations.
The primary goal of the SIG is to increase dialogue within ISTSS about the mental health needs of LGBT trauma survivors. Creating a platform for clinicians and researchers to explore this area will hopefully foster increased research around trauma and recovery among LGBT populations, as well as continued and improved culturally competent service provision to members of this community.
Since its inception in 2008, the LGBT SIG has supported a number of presentations at the annual meetings of ISTSS, as well as increased the number of articles on sexual and gender identities and trauma published in Stresspoints.
Laura Johnson, PsyD
Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital
Edward Alessi, PhD, LCSW
Rutgers School of Social Work
New Brunswick, NJ
The ISTSS Media SIG is a forum for researchers, clinicians, and journalists. The Media SIG promotes interdisciplinary dialogue, special projects, and research on news coverage of trauma and disaster, facilitates collaboration between researchers, scholars and media practitioners to promote public understanding of trauma; and encourages scientific and scholarly contributions to the study of journalism and trauma.
Some history: The Media SIG meets annually at ISTSS. Media SIG discussions have served as the impetus for a number of important projects, including ISTSS panels, symposia, and a 2006 pre-meeting institute designed to train clinicians to work with media. A Media SIG discussion led to publication of Tragedies and Journalists, a Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma booklet for journalists who cover tragedy.
Victoria E. Bruner, LCSW-C, RN, BCETS
US Dept of Defense
PO Box 52
Cabin John, MD 20818
Elizabeth Carll, PhD
Bonnie L. Green, PhD
Members of the Special Interest Group (SIG) Psychodynamic Research and Practice are committed to promoting clinical practice and research contributions which consolidates, informs, and develops the theoretical foundations and provision of psychodynamic trauma therapies. We aspire to further document and disseminate the merits, challenges and limitations of psychodynamic therapies in work with trauma survivors.
The over-arching goal of RMSIG is to explore current, state-of-the-art methodological approaches, foster communication among researchers and between researchers and practitioners and provide educational opportunities, especially aimed at new or junior investigators. We welcome participants at all levels -- those wanting basic information, experienced individuals looking for a new solution to a thorny methods problem, and experts wanting to share and exchange ideas. Together, we can improve the trauma research field.
Brian J. Hall, PhD
NIMH Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Psychiatric Epidemiology
Department of Mental Health
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Hampton House, 8th Floor
624 N. Broadway
Baltimore, MD 21205
Jodi B. A. McKibben, PhD
Research Assistant Professor
Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress
Department of Psychiatry
Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences
4301 Jones Bridge Road
Bethesda, MD 20814
The mission of the ISTSS Spirituality SIG is to provide a forum for discussion of issues related to the interaction of trauma and spirituality. Discussion may take place at the annual ISTSS conference, on the spirituality listserv and Web site, and via email correspondence among SIG members.
To identify and disseminate state-of-the-art research and clinical strategies that address the relationship between trauma and spirituality in the lives of trauma survivors and clinicians to the SIG membership and the ISTSS society at large.
Recognizing that spirituality is a primary domain of experience for many people that has been historically under-researched, particularly in the field of trauma, the SIG seeks to advocate for the inclusion of spiritual variables in research designs and development of treatment approaches which address these issues in projects advocated and undertaken by SIG and ISTSS members in their various locations.
Events of terrorism have occurred outside the realm of acknowledged war, on a grander scale and by increasingly destructive means, including acts of bioterrorism. The enormity of the impact of September 11, 2001 and subsequent events in the United States and elsewhere have expanded the scope of terrorism and continued to call into question our assumptions of safety and security. The media and the manner in which information is shared around the world have also served to increase the range of impact of these events. Though there exists a growing database of information regarding the psychological consequences of terrorism, many challenges and unanswered questions remain regarding the event-specific impact of terrorist and bioterrorist events on individuals, families, and communities. Adequate intervention planning requires an understanding of the temporal sequencing and co-morbidity patterns of distress associated with this type of exposure and the systemic impact of ongoing fear on the social fabric of communities and nations. Thus, advances in the research and treatment of terrorism-related trauma are interdependent.
The challenges posed by terrorism are immediate and ongoing, given its evolving nature and the need for increased coordination among individuals, community-based, national and international groups in the field. This Special Interest Group serves to assist the trauma community with sharing resources, collaborating and developing response strategies that would ultimately benefit affected populations. Annual meetings of and presentations by the SIG on Terrorism- and Bioterrorism-Related Trauma provide a venue for the exchange of ideas, disseminating data, and sharing clinical innovations regarding terrorism-related issues. They also lead to clarifying further the role of the mental health community in responding to the needs of those impacted. The SIGs website and ongoing email communications will enable continuing dialogue and activities between the meetings.
Ginny Sprang, PhD
College of Social Work and College of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry
University of Kentucky
3470 Blazer Pkwy. Suite 100
Lexington , KY 40509
Phone: (859) 543-0078
Fax: (859) 543-1121
The Theory and Traumatic Stress Studies SIG originated when a group of international researchers met at the ISTSS meeting. These researchers were all interested in advancing theoretically based studies in traumatic stress studies. Due to the lack of studies that were theoretically based, the SIG was created. Since the initial meeting there have been some significant advances. This includes a special issue that is coming out in Trauma Psychology: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, several symposia offered at ISTSS, and discussions for a book. During the sessions at ISTSS, which have been well attended, we have gathered a list of approximately 20 to 30 individuals interested in joining a SIG with this focus. This is a group that can help to generate more theoretical development in our field.
Charles C. Benight, PhD
Professor of Psychology
Director CU: Trauma, Health, & Hazards Center
University of Colorado at Colorado Springs
Colorado Springs, CO 80918
The primary goal of the Trauma Assessment & Diagnosis SIG (TAD-SIG) is to establish a focus within ISTSS to promote increased knowledge about state-of-the-art methods, procedures, and instrumentation in assessing trauma exposure and traumatic stress symptoms. We intend to create a platform for education, collaboration and dissemination, for clinicians and researchers interested in assessment and diagnosis within the traumatic stress field. We conduct our SIG meetings at the annual ISTSS conventions.
J. Richard Monroe
Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital
5000 S. 5th Ave 116B
Hines, IL 60622
Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress
4301 Jones Bridge Road
Bethesda, MD 20814
The primary goal of the ISTSS Traumatic Loss and Grief SIG (TLG-SIG) is to promote increased knowledge about theory, research and practice related to children and adults who are experiencing traumatic loss and grief. The TLG-SIG serves as a vehicle for practitioners and researchers to discuss and advance theory, assessment and evidence-based practice methods for children and adults experiencing traumatic loss and grief. The TLG-SIG will promote interdisciplinary dialogue and sharing of current studies, instruments, and practice methods related to traumatic loss and grief via the TLG-SIG website and listserv, ISTSS annual meeting, email communications and conference presentations.
We welcome new ideas and members. For more information, please contact Alison Salloum at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alison Salloum, PhD
School of Social Work
Department of Pediatrics
University of South Florida
4202 East Fowler Avenue, MGY 132
Tampa, FL 33620-6600
Phone: 813- 974-1535
This SIG seeks to provide a forum for scholarly discussion, networking, and collaboration about clinical and research practices relevant to trauma and substance use disorders.The overarching aim of the Trauma and Substance Use Disorders SIG is to focus upon advancing evidence-based clinical work as well as basic and applied research related to substance use disorders among trauma-exposed populations.
Anka A. Vujanovic, PhD
National Center for PTSD, VA Boston Healthcare System
Division of Psychiatry, Boston University School of Medicine
150 South Huntington Avenue (116B-2)
Boston, MA 02130
Marcel O. Bonn-Miller, PhD
National Center for PTSD & Center for Health Care Evaluation, VA Palo Alto Healthcare System
795 Willow Rd. (152-MPD)
Menlo Park, CA 94025
Phone: 650-493-5000 (x27908)