International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies

Committees and Task Forces


Annual Meeting Organizing Committee

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Purpose of Committee (scope of responsibilities)
  • The Annual Meeting Organizing Committee is responsible for multi-year planning and coordination of ISTSS Annual Meeting logistics and meeting structure to ensure successful Meetings that advance the Society’s strategic goals.  The committee works closely with ISTSS staff on promotion and marketing of the Annual Meeting, and on identifying and sustaining new and ongoing sources of funding or revenue related to the Meeting.
  • The committee plans and conducts the Annual Meeting in a fiscally responsible manner, within a budget determined and approved by the Board. 
  • The committee identifies and recommends future meeting sites and dates for Board approval. 
  • The committee works very closely with the Scientific Program Committee to integrate multi-year planning for meeting theme, scientific and other content, meeting structure and activities, and promotion to a diverse and inclusive audience of potential presenters and attendees.
Chair/ Position Reporting Relationships (where fit is within the organizational structure)
  • The Chair of the Organizing Committee is appointed by the ISTSS President, with approval of the Executive Committee. The Chair serves for a 3 year term, and reports to the President.
  • The Chair appoints the Funding Deputy, Promotion and Social Media Deputy, and Local Committee Representative.  The Chair may appoint up to 3 additional at-large committee members for 1 – 3 year terms to bring needed skills / competencies to the Committee.  A Student Representative (1 year term) to this committee is appointed by the Student Section Chair.
  • The Chair communicates regularly with the Scientific Program Chair and Co-Chair to coordinate current and multi-year scientific and logistical planning for the Annual Meeting.
Composition (by position or other qualifications rather than name; length of service, number of members) 
  Role / responsibility Term Appointed by & reports to
  1. Annual Meeting Organizing Committee Chair
Overall responsibility for Annual Meeting structure and logistics, multi-year planning in keeping w strategic direction from Board 3 years President
(EC approval for appointment)
  1. Funding Deputy
Multi-year planning and implementation of strategies to increase funding / revenue for Annual Meeting (includes but not limited to: exhibitors, sponsors, grants, donations, increased attendance) 2- 3 years Organizing Committee Chair
  1. Promotion and Social Media Deputy
Multi-year planning and implementation of promotion activities (abstract submission, meeting attendance), in keeping w strategic direction from Board 2- 3 years Organizing Committee Chair
  1. Local Committee Representative
Optimize local involvement and resources for each year’s Meeting - works with Promotion & Funding Deputies, bringing local expertise and connections 1 year Organizing Committee Chair
  1. Student Representative
Optimize student involvement in all aspects of Annual Meeting 1 year Student Section Chair
  1. At Large members
As needed to fill specific needs or share work load, the Organizing Committee Chair may appoint 1 - 3 At Large members. 2- 3 years Organizing Committee Chair
Authority (what committee/task force/position has authority to do)
Within the strategic direction and overall policies set by the Board, the committee has the authority to
  • make day to day decisions with regard to planning and conducting the ISTSS Annual Meeting
  • commit to expenses within the approved budget for each Annual Meeting
  • modify Annual Meeting procedures and logistics to facilitate efficient and high quality planning process and meeting operations.
Limitations on authority (what committee/task force/position does not have authority to do)
  • The committee does not have the authority to approve changes in Annual Meeting strategic direction, core policies or budget. The committee is encouraged to identify any needed changes in these areas, and to make appropriate recommendations to the Board.
  • The committee identifies and makes recommendations to the Board regarding future Meeting sites and dates, but does not have the authority to commit to future sites / dates / contracts without Board approval.
Society policies impacting committee/task force/position function (relevant votes the Board of Directors has taken)
  • The committee is subject to the written Annual Meeting Manual and any written or accepted Society policies, including the Speaker Reimbursement policy (effective date January 2007).
  • During the Board of Directors’ meeting held November 12, 2008, the Past President was asked to inform the Annual Meeting Committee that the Board would like the committee to structure some
  • sort of monitoring system to compare content consistency year by year to determine if there are under-represented areas and to take steps to incorporate such a system.
  • In order to promote multi-year planning for the Annual Meeting in keeping with ISTSS’ strategic goals, in March 2014, the Board of Directors approved a new two-committee structure for Annual Meeting planning (Annual Meeting Organizing Committee and Scientific Program Committee), with 3 year terms for key leaders of each committee.
Interactions, Influences & Interdependencies with other committees and positions
  • The Chair communicates regularly with the Scientific Program Chair and Co-Chair regarding current and multi-year Annual Meeting activities and planning, and with the President regarding overall strategic direction.
  • The committee works in close coordination with the Scientific Program Committee, based on strategic direction from the Board and the policies and procedures set forth in the Annual Meeting Manual.
  • The committee makes recommendations to the Finance Committee regarding changes in the
  • Annual Meeting budget, and consults with the Finance Committee any changes in Annual Meeting operations which have financial implications.
Additional interactions:
  Interacts w / Liaison to
Annual Meeting Organizing Committee Chair President, Program Director
Funding Deputy Finance Committee, Travel Grants Committee, other ISTSS fundraising group(s)
Promotion and Social Media Deputy Social Networking Administrator, StressPoints Editor, Web Editor, Marketing & Communications Manager
Local Committee Representative Marketing & Communications Manager
Student Representative Student section
Job products (what work committee/task force/position accomplishes during a year)
The committee works in concert with the Scientific Program Committee to produce the Annual Meeting. 
Once per year, the committee reviews the Annual Meeting Manual in collaboration with staff, and updates the Manual as needed.
The committee recommends future meeting sites and dates to the Board for approval.
Staff resources available (relevant sections of Sherwood scope of work)
The Sherwood Group scope of work specifies the following activities related to the function of this committee.  (See current year scope of work for detailed listing.)
Planning and coordination
  • Distribute current versions of sections of the Annual Meeting Manual to appropriate parties
  • Maintain listserv for committee
  • Arrange for conference calls as necessary (maximum of 6 per year)
  • Provide any background info to committee to address issues
Support for Annual Meeting logistics
  • Meeting Program publication
    • Extract abstract data for publishing of preliminary program and final program
    • Receive speaker selections from Scientific Program Committee
    • Receive information regarding late-breaking conference sessions, and communicate with speakers and members regarding the same.
  • Exhibitors / Sponsor relationships and arrangements
  • Promotion of the Annual Meeting
    • Production and mailing / e-distribution of various materials (call for abstracts, first announcement)
    • Outreach via social media and other electronic means
  • Meeting site selection & management
    • Investigate future meeting sites and propose sites to committee for consideration
    • Site visit to upcoming Meeting location
 Financial and other resources available
 Committee operations: The committee has funds available to conduct 6 conference calls throughout the year and a meeting room at the Annual Meeting location for a face-to-face meeting.  Any unexpected expenditures beyond each year’s approved budget must be approved by the Finance Committee via a resource request form.
Annual Meeting expenses: A budget is approved by the Board each year for the Annual Meeting, and the committee has the authority to commit to meeting expenses within this approved budget.
Description of operations/processes/procedures (how committee works)
Meetings:  The chair schedules regular committee meetings (at least quarterly), sets each meeting’s agenda, and leads each committee meeting. The committee may meet face-to-face at Annual Meeting, and/or have discussions via conference calls and utilize e-mail for discussions and decision-making.
At least once per year, the full committee meets jointly with the Scientific Program Committee to review and evaluate past year’s meeting and to coordinate overall planning activities.
Procedures: There is a separate Annual Meeting Policies and Procedure Manual. The aims of this manual are to:
  1. Provide a template for program planning based on the experience of past meetings,
  2. Outline duties and volunteer job descriptions so there is a shared understanding about roles and responsibilities,
  3. Provide a mechanism for documenting meeting planning related policies,
  4. Supply perspective and practical suggestions to aid the Scientific Program Chair and Co-Chair and Annual Meeting Organizing Chair,
  5. Provide a detailed timeline for meeting planning tasks.


Amy Williams - Organizing Committee Chair
Steven A Cohen MIlitary Family Clinic at Metrocare
Rochelle Hanson - Senior Advisor
NCVC - Medical Univ of South Carolina
Synne Ø. Stensland - Co-Chair
Abby Blankenship - Funding Deputy
Univ of Texas Hlth Sciences Ctr San Antonio STRONG STAR
Amanda Hasselle - Social Media Deputy
Krista M. Engle - Student Representative
Bita Ghafoori - Deputy
California State University Long Beach