International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies

Committees and Task Forces


Special Interest Groups

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Special Interest Groups (SIG)


  • To provide leadership and direction for Special Interest Group activities:
  • Arrange a face-to-face meeting through headquarters at the Annual Meeting.
  • Prepare individual SIG-sponsored Annual Meeting presentations.
  • Notify headquarters of any contact information change for the ISTSS Web site.
  • Notify headquarters if a SIG listserv is required and/or if one should be cancelled.
  • The purpose of Special Interest Groups (SIGs) is to provide members with a forum for communication and interaction about specific topic areas related to traumatic stress. Another goal of SIGs is to provide a means of personal and professional involvement in the activities of the society.
The SIGs will furnish an Annual Report for each Annual Meeting of the Board of Directors. The SIG Committee will provide two reports one for the Midyear Meeting and one for the Annual Meeting. (Motion from June 22, 2002 Board of Directors Meeting)
Composition & Designated Members: Chair is appointed by the President. The committee is composed of the chair of each SIG with the overall SIG Chair appointed by the President.   Each SIG has the authority to appoint its own chairs with the approval of the overall SIG chair.
Authority (including limitations): The committee may recommend the establishment of new SIGS to the Board of Directors and recommend the elimination or suspension of any current SIGs based on inactivity.  The committee may recommend policies and procedures to improve SIG operations and may recommend that a SIG chair be removed for non-performance. The committee may establish electronic mailing lists for each SIG, as well as for the SIG chairs. The committee has the authority to approve the content of the overall SIG page on the ISTSS Web site, as well as individual SIG pages, consistent with ISTSS Web site policies.
The committee cannot spend funds without prior approval by the Board of Directors.
The committee cannot approve or discontinue any SIGS.
The committee cannot remove any SIG chairs.
Society Policies Impacting Function:
5/23/06:  Board of Directors Meeting Motion
Approve Guidelines for Special Recognition awards in ISTSS as follows: Permanent organizational units within ISTSS (e.g., Special Interest Groups; Student Section; Committees) can bestow annual honorific awards in recognition of particular achievements or contributions by individuals. Such awards will be established by and ascribed to the particular organization unit (e.g., the ISTSS Student Section, or a particular ISTSS SIG) rather than to ISTSS in order to avoid confusion with the major annual awards conferred by the Society. The establishment of a new award to be bestowed by an ISTSS entity requires the approval of the ISTSS Board.
Requirements for such special recognition awards are as follows:
  1. The activity honored by the special recognition award must be consistent with the ISTSS mission.
  2. There must be a formal, documented process (e.g., in the ISTSS Policies and Procedures Manual) for identifying potential honorees and determining who will receive the award. The process must include provisions for evaluating and minimizing potential conflict of interest on the part of those who make the award decision.
  3. The award must be at no cost to ISTSS and show involve no more than modest or  token cost to the awarding unit.
  4. Except under unusual circumstances, each unit should bestow no more than one special recognition award annually.
  5. Special recognition awards maybe formally bestowed at a time and place selected by the awarding unit. Announcements of recipients of special recognition awards will generally be timed to occur in conjunction with the ISTSS Annual Meeting. ISTSS will announce special recognition awards and recipients in a suitable manner.
Interactions with other committees: While it is possible for these groups to work with committees or task forces, they are not dependent on them.
Products: The groups produce Web pages related to their SIG and conduct onsite meetings at the annual meeting. The SIGS facilitate the exchange of ideas and information on the electronic mailing lists. The committee makes recommendations to the board regarding the creation or dissolution of SIGS, and the removal of SIG chairs for non-performance.
Staff Resources Available (from Sherwood scope of work): Staff is available to coordinate annual meeting group meetings and to assist in Web page information, as well as to set up listservs for the SIGs.
Financial and other resources available: There are no financial or other resources available that would not require submission of a resource request.

Meetings: The committee may meet at the Annual Meeting, via e-mail and/or as required via conference call.

Policies & Procedures: The Special Interest Group Committee:

  • makes recommendations to the ISTSS Board of Directors regarding leadership, formation of new SIGs, and other SIG activities
  • reports biannually (at the time of the annual meeting and the semi-annual board meeting) to the Board of Directors and the Annual Meeting Program Committee Chair regarding the current activities and progress of all SIG groups
  • submits a proposed budget for SIGS to the Finance Committee for approval


Interest Areas provide a vehicle for members with common interests to network with colleagues nationally and internationally throughout the year. Interest Areas evolve as a critical mass of members define them and seek official sanction. An Interest Area may receive provisional status from the Executive Committee and full status by vote of the Board. Each of the Interest Areas is multidisciplinary and also cuts across differing trauma populations by design. All members of the Society are invited and encouraged to join at least one Interest Area. Active Interest Areas submit proposals for the annual meeting and meet together at least once yearly. Interest Areas that remain inactive for two years lose their official status.
SIGs meet during the annual meeting and may communicate throughout the year. SIG chairs and members may use existing ISTSS forums to communicate information and develop programs. These include, but are not limited to, pre-meeting institutes (PMI’s), symposiums, poster presentations, StressPoints, ISTSS website. SIG chairs and members may choose to develop an email listserv and website bulletin board. Also, additional forums may be identified to serve as means for communicating information and developing programs (i.e., National Center for PTSD Clinical Quarterly).    

Role of Special Interest Group Leaders

  • Review with the SIG Committee biannually the goals and objectives for the year.
  • Maintain relationships with the membership at large via newsletter, etc. and with newly entering members to the Society with regard to the networking of interested members.
  • Submit proposals for presentation at the annual meeting. 
  • Summarize for the SIG Committee the year's activities, the current number of SIG members, and requests for financial support.
Below approved June 2, 2002:
ISTSS encourages the SIGs to maintain information about their group on the ISTSS Web site. ISTSS will provide each SIG with X mg. server space, should they choose to use it.
All pages must conform to the overall scheme of ISTSS’s site, but may also include additional logos, or graphics that exemplify the work of the SIG. A single point of contact and a back-up point of contact, for the SIG shall be provided to ISTSS. All information regarding the Web site will flow through these people. The home page for the SIG will contain at least this information:
  1. the name of the SIG
  2. the mission or purpose of the SIG
  3. information about how to join the SIG
  4. a point of contact to the SIG that is someone from the SIG group who is knowledgeable about the work of the SIG.

Other information may be provided as the SIG feels appropriate. Additional pages may be posted, within the space provided by ISTSS. Updates to the SIG Web page may be made as often as once per quarter, but must be made at least annually. The SIG shall maintain responsibility for the information on the site, but shall conform to the general guidelines of the ISTSS Web site as designated and governed by the Web site Committee, who have final authority for the content of the site, as directed by the Board of Directors.


Kathleen Chard - Chair
Cincinnati VAMC
NASER AHMADI - Facilitator
Ananda Amstadter - Facilitator
Virginia Commonwealth Univ
Anne N. Banducci - Facilitator
VA Boston Healthcare System
Charles C. Benight - Facilitator
Univ of Colorado at Colorado Springs
Marcel O. Bonn-Miller - Facilitator
National Ctr for PTSD
Malisa M. Brooks - Facilitator
Melissa Brymer - Facilitator
National Child Traumatic Stress Network
Barton D. Buechner - Facilitator
Vetransitions LLC
Nilton G. Castro - Facilitator
Pace University
Ruby Charak - Facilitator
Univ of Texas
Chelsea Cogan - Facilitator
Univ of Tulsa
Hannah Cole - Facilitator
Peter Colvonen - Facilitator
VA San Diego Health Care System
Ateka Contractor - Facilitator
Univ of North Texas
Suzannah Creech - Facilitator
The University of Texas at Austin/VA
Amanda Devane - Facilitator
Stephen DiDonato - Facilitator
Thomas Jefferson University
Sandra DiVitale - Facilitator
Emory Univ
Jennifer Elkins - Facilitator
Univ of Georgia
Charles C. Engel - Facilitator
RAND Corporation
Wyatt R. Evans - Facilitator
University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio
Sheila Frankfurt - Facilitator
VISN 17 Center of Excellence for Research on Returning War Veterans
Alessandra Grillo - Facilitator
Boston VA Healthcare System
Brian J. Hall - Facilitator
Univ of Macau
Bianca Harper - Facilitator
Jerell Hill - Facilitator
Pacific Oaks College
Charissa Hosseini - Facilitator
Palo Alto University
Julie Kaplow - Facilitator
Univ of Texas
Amanda J. Khan - Facilitator
Suffolk University
Harold Kudler - Facilitator
VA Central Office
Eric Kuhn - Facilitator
VA National Center for PTSD
Lauren Laifer - Facilitator
Jessica Lambert - Facilitator
California State Univ Stanislaus
Christopher M. Layne - Facilitator
Matthew T. Luciano - Facilitator
Univ of Memphis
Susan McConnaughy - Facilitator
SUNY Empire State College
Alex McConnell - Facilitator
Miami Univ
Jodi B. McKibben - Facilitator
Reese Minshew - Facilitator
Melissa A. Mitchell - Facilitator
Summa Health System
April J. Naturale - Facilitator
Lauren C. Ng - Facilitator
Boston University
Yael Nillni - Facilitator
National Ctr for PTSD, Women's Hlth Sci Div, VA Boston Healthcare System
Nicole Nugent - Facilitator
Brown Univ
Anica Pless Kaiser - Facilitator
Josef I. Ruzek - Facilitator
National Center for PTSD
Rayna Sanghvi - Facilitator
Palo Alto University
Jeremiah Schumm - Facilitator
Wright State University
Michael J. Silverstein - Facilitator
Drexel University
Stefanie F. Smith - Facilitator
CSPP at Alliant International Univ
Brian N. Smith - Facilitator
National Center for PTSD and Boston University School of Medicine
Casey Straud - Facilitator
Laura Straus - Facilitator
Lillianne M. Villarreal - Facilitator
Anka Vujanovic - Facilitator
University of Houston
Kristen H. Walter - Facilitator
Naval Health Research Center
Patricia J. Watson - Facilitator
VA Regional Medical Ctr
Marina Weiss - Facilitator
Adelphi Univeristy
Melissa White - Facilitator
Danett Williams - Facilitator
KIPP Bay Area Schools
Shannon Wiltsey Stirman - Facilitator
National Ctr for PTSD and Standford Univ.
Carolyn Yeager - Facilitator
Univ of Colorado at Colorado Springs
Lindsey Zimmerman - Facilitator