International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies

Committees and Task Forces


Membership Committee

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  • The purpose of the ISTSS Membership Committee is to advance membership growth, retention and benefits by promoting member participation in ISTSS through volunteerism, recognition and mentorship.


  • Advance membership growth, retention and benefits with the support of staff.
  • Ensure committee efforts support the ISTSS Strategic Plan and Priorities.
  • Develop and implement recruitment and retention programs, with support of staff.
  • Identify potential members and recommend to the Board specific programs targeting major constituencies who are prospective members, that require financial support 
  • To review with staff the membership benefits.
  • Continuously strive to increase the value of membership and the quality of membership development efforts.
  • Committee to collaborate with ISTSS Committees and Task Forces and Affiliate Society, as needed, to ensure those members’ interests are addressed and those membership goals are efficiently met.

Composition & Qualifications

  • Chair(s) is appointed by the President and report(s) to a liaison on the Executive Committee as assigned by the President for one year. 
  • There may be a single chair or two co-chairs of the committee. At least one of the chairs of the committee shall be a member of the Board of Directors. 
  • The chair can be reappointed at the discretion of the President.
  • The committee may establish subcommittees that report to the chair. 
  • The committee consists of no fewer than five and no more than twelve ISTSS members. (NOTE: ISTSS executive committee recommends keeping the committee on the smaller, rather than larger.)
  • Members of the committee are chosen at the discretion of the chair. 
  • All members are appointed for a single year term but may be reappointed.
  • Committee members must be a member of the society.
  • At least one member of the committee shall be a student member and, ideally, at least one member of the committee shall be a member for fewer than two years. 
  • Membership of the committee shall reflect the diversity of the society in terms of professional discipline and other characteristics.  
  • Familiarity with the larger traumatic stress field is valuable. 
  • Committee members must enjoy member interaction and possess good interpersonal skills.
  • Committee members must be able to devote one hour per week to ISTSS activities.
  • Participate in monthly committee conference calls.
  • Participate in Membership Committee meeting held in conjunction with the Annual Meeting.

Authority (including limitations)

  • The committee chair should advise and comment on design and language used in marketing materials as needed.
  • The committee makes recommendations regarding membership policies and benefits to the board. 
  • The committee may recommend to the board for its approval target populations for priority membership development efforts. 
  • The committee may request funding for membership development projects. 
  • The committee has the authority to approve membership development projects that fall within the approved annual budget. 
  • Discounts and/or incentives may be offered by the committee to the membership, if pre-approved by the Board of Directors.
  • The committee may not approve new membership benefits or discontinue current benefits without board approval. 
  • The committee does not recommend annual membership rates and fees, this being the responsibility of the Finance Committee. 
  • The committee may not spend any unbudgeted funds without prior approval. 
  • The committee does not have the authority to expel someone from membership. 
  • The committee cannot make any decisions that do not comply with the relevant sections of Society bylaws. 
  • The committee does not select vendors or service providers to be used by HQ in implementing approved membership development projects.

Society Policies Impacting Function

  • 11/12/08:  Authorize and approve returning to collecting information about member characteristics on a continuous basis through the online new-member application and Member Directory portions of the ISTSS Web site, as outlined by Dr. Elisa Triffleman.
  • 11/12/08:  Approve the proposal of the Membership Marketing Plan, as outlined by Dr. Harold Kudler.
  • 11/13-14/07:  Approve the $2,000.00 expenditure to develop a membership building partnership plan to come back to the Board of Directors for final approval.
  • 6/6/07:  Approve the recommendation of the Membership Committee that the Executive Director of ISTSS (acting in consultation with the Chair of the Membership committee) has the authority to waive or reduce membership fees for a year for specific individuals in specific circumstances.
  • 6/16/05:  Approve proposal to offer a sliding scale on all membership options with electronic-only subscriptions beginning in 2006, based on World Bank estimates of national wealth.
  • 10/29/03:  New category of membership called affiliate membership was created.  Eligibility for this membership category is membership of an affiliate ISTSS organization.  Member benefit is to receive a subscription to JTS.  (Subsequently relabeled in practice as “Subscriber” members to differentiate this from new Affiliate Member Category).
  • 06/22/02:  The close of membership for a year will fall on the same date as the deadline for a reduced rate for meeting registration, and memberships received after this date will be applied to the next membership year, but registration for the immediate upcoming annual meeting will be available at the full member rate.
  • 10/27/90:  The membership committee investigates the proper structure and policies for the establishment of a sponsorship program, donations, and a reduced or variable sliding dues schedule and to have a resolution prepared to vote on at the Mid-Year meeting in June.

Interactions with other committees

  • The Committee will collaborate with ISTSS Committees and Task Forces and Affiliate Society, as needed, to ensure that member's interests are addressed and those membership goals are efficiently met. 
  • The committee maintains regular communication with the Student Section. 
  • The committee maintains regular communication with the SIG Chair.
  • Work with the editor of StressPoints to produce articles.
  • Collaborate with the Social Network Task Force administrator to promote membership, volunteerism, recognition and mentorship.
  • Collaborate with the Data Infrastructure Committee to conduct member surveys.
  • The committee chair will maintain regular contact with identified Executive Committee liaison, identifying areas of requested attention as appropriate in advance of Executive Committee conference calls.
  • Keep the Board of Directors abreast of activities by submitting reports prior to the Midyear and Board Meetings.
  • The committee will consult with the Finance Committee regarding membership dues rates.
  • The committee will consult with the Finance Committee regarding potential changes in membership policy and benefits that may have financial implications for the Society.



  • Provide headquarters with committee roster, updates provided periodically.
  • Conduct monthly committee conference calls.
  • Conduct Membership Committee meeting in conjunction with Annual Meeting.
  • Quarterly review of member characteristics data, collected via the new and renewal member applications and member directory.
  • Generate Membership Committee written report prior to the Midyear and Annual Meeting Board of Director Meetings.
  • Survey lapsed members, in conjunction with the Data Infrastructure Committee.
  • Conduct periodic surveys of the membership, in conjunction with the Data Infrastructure Committee.
  • Update content of membership brochure, as needed.
  • Update content of other membership marketing materials, as needed.
  • Submit budget request to the Finance Committee annually.
  • Submit recommendations to the board via Executive Committee liaison, as needed.
  • Plan and deliver new member/first time attendee sessions at annual meeting, if desired.
  • Staff the Meet a Member table at annual meeting, if desired.
  • Produce articles for StressPoints at least annually regarding membership or as requested.
  • The chair will attend and lead all committee conference calls.
  • The chair is responsible for taking minutes, including key electronic deliberations, and distributing an agenda for each call. However, the chair may assign minutes and agenda responsibilities to a committee member(s).
  • Other duties as assigned by the Board of Directors.
    Collaborate with Social Networking Task Force to promote membership, volunteerism, recognition and mentorship via Facebook, You Tube and LinkedIn.

Staff resources available (from Sherwood scope of work):

ISTSS Database

  • Maintain database of ISTSS members, prospective members, media, affiliated organizations and others as appropriate.
  • Database will track membership status, event participation, leadership positions, materials purchases and payment history.
  • Process revisions as necessary.

Member Retention

  • Prepare and mail 1st, 2nd, 3rd invoices with appropriate message.
  • Prepare and distribute drop survey, tabulate results and present to Membership Committee.
  • Receive and process dues payments via check, credit card, internet and wire transfer.
  • Provide periodic membership reports to the Membership Committee.

New Member Processing

  • Receive and process payments via check, credit card, internet, and wire transfer.
  • Enter information about new members into database.
  • Send welcome letter and new member packet.
  • Provide the Membership Committee with periodic new member reports.
  • Review and update new member packet as needed.

Member Promotion - Response

  • Review and update prospective member packet as needed (excludes design and printing).
  • Send prospective member packet to member prospects in response to inquiries and qualified leads.

Membership Committee

  • Set up and participate in conference calls and meetings.

Financial and other resources available

  • As per current annual budget.


  • The committee meets once a year at the annual meeting. 
  • The chair notifies headquarters regarding a desired date and time to meet and shares the information with committee members after confirmation of date and time by headquarters. 
  • The Membership Committee to conduct monthly conference calls, as budgeted.
  • Chair to determine date and time, including proper time zone, for committee conference calls.
  • If conference calls use headquarters conference call system, chair to notify ISTSS headquarters of desired date and time, including proper time zone.
  • Headquarters will secure a conference call line and provide the phone number and access code to the chair.
  • The chair will then alert committee members to the call’s time and date and provide the phone number and access code.
  • The committee conducts most of its business via email.  The committee works with headquarter staff member(s) as assigned by the executive director. 
  • Committee members are not reimbursed for expenses for involvement in committee matters. 
  • Chair solicits volunteers and makes other assignments as warranted.



Erika Felix - Co-Chair
Univ of California Santa Barbara
Marit Sijbrandij - Co-Chair
VU University Amsterdam
Chelsea Cogan - Member
Univ of Tulsa
E. Alison Holman - Member
Univ of California Irvine
Natalie Hundt - Member
Natalia Jaramillo - Member
University of California Santa Barbara
Ashraf Kagee - Member
Stellenbosch Univ
Sacha A. McBain - Member
Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System
Marcelo F. Mello - Member
Federal Univ of Sao Paulo
Janine Shelby - Member
Ida F. Stroem - Member
Norwegian Centre for Violence and Traumatic Stress Studies
Anka Vujanovic - Member
University of Houston