International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies

Leadership Awards

Posted 26 November 2013 in StressPoints by ISTSS


ISTSS honored the recipients of its 2013 Leadership Awards at their 29th Annual Meeting in Philadelphia. ISTSS wishes to extend special thanks to the 2013 Frank W. Putnam Trauma Research Scholar Committee, 2013 Awards Committee, and the 2013 Program Committee for their contributions to the 2013 awards program.

The Lifetime Achievement Award is the highest honor bestowed by ISTSS. It is awarded to an individual who has made significant lifetime contributions to the field of traumatic stress. The ISTSS 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award recipient is Frank W. Putnam, MD.

Dr. Frank Putnam, MD, is a professor of psychiatry at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine and Adjunct Professor of Pediatrics at the Children's Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati. He has been Director of the Mayerson Center for Safe and Healthy Children and the Chief of the Unit on Developmental Traumatology in the Intramural Research Program at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). He is a founding member, past Board member and a past vice president of ISTSS.

Dr. Putnam's impact on the trauma field has been huge. During his 20 year tenure at NIMH, he provided leadership and vision that resulted in support for numerous trauma grants that have accelerated the growth of our field in incalculable ways. He also mentored current leaders in the trauma field, including Michael De Bellis, MD, MPH, Eve Carlson, PhD, Jennie G. Noll, PhD, Michael S. Scheeringa, MD, MPH, and George Bonanno, PhD.

His direct contributions include helping to create the field of developmental traumatology. He pioneered the practice of studying children to prevent complex trauma in adults. He conducted the first longitudinal study of sexually abused girls at a time when it was politically incorrect and unpopular to do so. Dr. Putnam is credited with obtaining some of the first hard evidence of the effects of sexual abuse, including revictimization and self-harm outcomes and high rates of obesity and birth complications.

Dr. Putnam is also well known for a related but independent line of groundbreaking work focused on characterizing and assessing dissociation and dissociative disorders, which was also controversial at the time. His accomplishments in this area are many including developing, in collaboration with Eve Carlson, PhD, the most widely used measure of dissociation, the Dissociative Experiences Scale (DES) and related measures. These measures have had global impact as evidenced by citation in over 3,000 publications and translation into 18 languages. In addition, he is credited with achieving the "first modern study of Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID)", including its clinical phenomenology, course, epidemiology, neurobiology, psychophysiology, memory pathology, and treatment.

On top of his scholarly accomplishments, Dr. Putnam has been a steadfast participant in shaping trauma policy. He was a member of the Ohio Governor’s Task Force on Prosecution of Child Abuse and Neglect, the Advisory Board Ohio Children’s Trust Fund, and the Child Trauma Task Force of the Ohio Department of Mental Health. He played a major role in founding the National Child Traumatic Stress Network and also served on the Advisory Board for the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement and the Institute of Medicine/National Academy of Sciences Committee on Depression, Parenting Practices and the Healthy Development of Young Children Subcommittee on Child Abuse Law Revision.

Frank Putnam is is a trailblazer whose bright mind has helped to illuminate the understanding of pathways between early life adversity and psychological harm across the lifespan. He is deeply deserving of this award.


The Chaim and Bela Danieli Young Professional Award was established by Dr. Yael Danieli in commemoration of her father and mother. It is given for excellence in traumatic stress service or research by an individual who has completed their training within the past five years. The 2013 award recipient is Katie A. McLaughlin, PhD.

Katie McLaughlin, PhD, graduated summa cum laude from the University of Virginia, earned a master’s degree in psychology from Penn State, a second master’s in epidemiology and public health from Yale University, and PhDs in psychology and epidemiology and Public Health from Yale University. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School and a research fellowship at the Harvard School of Public Health. She is currently an assistant professor of psychology at University of Washingon.

Kate’s work joins the areas of the epidemiology and developmental psychopathology with a special focus on childhood adversities. It includes several papers documenting the effects of Hurricane Katrina over time and a major collaborative study of Army suicide. Her recent efforts include studies of brain development in Romania. In all of these endeavors, Katie's work has been characterized by a pattern of beginning with understanding and characterizing typical psychosocial and physiological development and then determining how exposure to extreme stress alters typical developmental trajectories.

Named by her nominators as one of their top two postdocs in the past 25 years, she earned a National Institute of Mental Health Career Development Award on the first submission. Her work has been published in top journals in psychology, psychiatry, epidemiology, and public health. She has produced over 100 peer-reviewed papers, is co-investigator on several NIMH grants, and PI of many foundation grants. In short, this young professional is more accomplished than many seasoned professionals and is therefore greatly deserving of this award.


The Public Advocacy Award recognizes outstanding and fundamental contributions to advancing social understanding of trauma. The 2013 award recipient is NATAL: Israel Trauma Center for Victims of Terror and War.

The Israel Trauma Center for Victims of Terror and War (NATAL) based their longstanding and excellent record of promoting the resilience of Israeli society through treatment, prevention, public awareness, and research. NATAL was founded in 1998 as an apolitical non-profit organization that provides support to survivors of war and terror-related trauma. They collaborate with mental health professionals to ensure the accuracy of their information and to enhance the sensitivity with which it is disseminated.

Their ongoing work includes four annual media campaigns aimed at increasing public knowledge about trauma and reducing social stigma about seeking trauma treatment. The campaigns involve television, radio, newspaper, magazines, newsletters, and the internet. They provide a hotline number that is broadcast on all media outlets during emergencies such as terrorist attacks. They work closely with relevant film makers to sponsor psychoeducational discussions of their films. They reach adolescent and young adult audiences via a rock band whose members are combat veterans with PTSD and they reach even younger audiences with puppet shows. They also host regular conferences on specialized trauma topics such as the history of trauma in Israel and the effects of trauma on journalists. In addition, they regularly welcome and educate foreign ambassadors, senators, and government ministers.

NATAL’s work goes beyond advocacy to include direct services. They provide: psychotherapy and psychiatry services to over 300 patients per week; a social therapeutic club for trauma survivors; a mobile unit that offers in-home care and support to emergency services personnel; a trauma studies center that trains mental health professionals; and a testimonial center where trauma survivors go to document their experiences.


The Sarah Haley Memorial Award for Clinical Excellence is given to a clinician or group of clinicians providing direct service to traumatized individuals and whose contributions to the field exemplify the work of Sarah Haley. The 2013 award recipient is Elizabeth A. Hembree, PhD.

Elizabeth A.Hembree ,PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist and associate professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and a clinical associate professor at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. At the University of Pennsylvania, she was Director of Clinical Training at the Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety, Director of the Rape and Crime Victims Program, and she is currently Director of Clinical Services at the Center for Couples and Adult Families.

In the spirit of Sarah Haley, Dr. Hembree has been tireless in her efforts to make prolonged exposure therapy (PE) widely available in a way that retains its fidelity and rooting in empirical evidence. In numerous invited lectures, she has trained thousands of therapists in many countries (including Japan and Iceland) to treat active military, veterans, and civilians with PTSD. Her trainings are marked by warmth, compassion, and a deep reservoir of experience treating traumatized patients and supervising trauma-oriented therapists.

Many of the most pedagogically effective and well-known PE training cases were drawn from her clinical practice. Her dissemination efforts also benefit from the fact that she was a key clinical and scientific contributor to the development of prolonged exposure; as evidenced by her authorship on papers reporting the results of the major randomized trials of PE and on the Prolonged Exposure Therapy Training Program that is a key part of the VA PE rollout. Moreover, she is an author of many presentations and peer-reviewed publications appearing in major journals such as Developmental Psychology and the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.

Dr. Hembree seamlessly integrates research findings with clinical practice in a way that has had large impact on making evidence-based treatment for trauma accessible and widely available.


The Robert S. Laufer, PhD, Memorial Award for Outstanding Scientific Achievement, established by Ellen Frey-Wouters, PhD, in memory of her husband, Robert S. Laufer, acknowledges an individual or group for their outstanding contribution to research in the field of traumatic stress. The 2013 award recipient is Professor Chris Brewin.

Professor Chris Brewin is a professor of clinical psychology at University College London. He is an Elected Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science and the British Academy. He is a recipient of the British Psychological Society's Shapiro Award, and chaired the ISTSS Publication Committee for three years. He has been an associate editor of the Journal of Traumatic Stress and the British Journal of Clinical Psychology. A member of several scientific advisory boards, he is a member of the work group that developed the DSM-5 criteria for PTSD and of the ICD 11 working group on stress disorders.

Professor Brewin has been a leading voice in the science of traumatic stress for more than 30 years. He is known for developing the influential dual representation theory of PTSD. He has recently devoted himself to developing a neural model of intrusive imagery in psychopathology including PTSD and in characterizing the neurobiology of emotional memory in PTSD.

His ideas have attracted research funding since 1983 from a variety of sources including the UK Medical Research Council, Cancer Research UK, the Ministry of Defense, and the National Institutes of Health. He has published 8 books and over 200 articles in top tier journals including: Biological Psychiatry, the American Journal of Psychiatry, the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, and the Archives of General Psychiatry.

While achieving these impressive accomplishments, he has found time to mentor the next generation of scientists including: Willem Kuyken, PhD, Lynn Myers, PhD, Louise Sharpe, PhD and Emily A. Homes, PhD DclinPsych, all of whom have held academic appointments.

Professor Chris Brewin is a remarkable and prolific scientist who has thought deeply about the psychology of trauma, put his ideas to rigorous tests, and convinced other experts to follow his lead. He exemplifies the true spirit of the Laufer Award.


The Frank Ochberg Award for Media and Trauma Study recognizes significant contributions by clinicians and researchers regarding the relations between media and trauma. The 2013 award was presented to Journalists’ Critical Incident Stress (CIS) Research Group.

The Journalists Critical Incident Stress (CIS) Research Group is recognized for their large body of empirical work aimed at illuminating relationships between journalism and trauma, which has largely focused on the experiences of Japanese and Chinese journalists. Both groups have been traditionally understudied. Yet, thanks to the efforts of the CIS Research Group, international audiences, including those who attend ISTSS meetings, are learning much about how these journalists are responding to traumatic stress exposure and what can be done to protect them from deleterious outcomes.

Their studies have revealed that almost 90% of Japanese journalists experienced at least one job-related traumatic event and post-trauma psychological symptoms, and has drawn important distinctions between the psychological experiences and awareness of critical incident stress. It has also highlighted the important role of social support and organizational factors in altering post-trauma pathology trajectories. The group has also taken on the important task of translating relevant English language resources into Japanese.

The Journalists Critical Incident Stress (CIS) Research Group serves as a model of how to bring an empirical approach to the important problem of documenting and preventing traumatic stress among journalists. We are very pleased to honor and encourage them with this award.


Frank W. Putnam Trauma Research Scholars Awards

This year, the ISTSS Board of Directors established the Frank W. Putnam Trauma Research Scholars Awards. The Scholars are named in honor of Dr. Frank W. Putnam, who is being recognized for his outstanding contributions to the field of traumatic stress research, service to children and families around the world, and decades of mentorship and service to the society. Previously the student research grant program, the Frank W. Putnam Research Scholars Award was endowed by anonymous donors identified as the friends and colleagues of Dr. Putnam.

The Frank W. Putnam Trauma Research Scholars Award provides two $1,000 awards to ISTSS student members whose proposals were considered to have the greatest potential to contribute to the field of traumatic stress. The 2013 recipients are:

Sarah Campbell, George Mason University, Proposal: A Daily Diary Study of PTSD and Interpersonal Processes

 

Janie Jun, University of Washington, Proposal: Psychotherapy Processes Underlying Sudden Gains in Treatment of PTSD

 

ISTSS 2013 Student Poster Award

This award is presented annually in recognition of excellent work in a poster submission to the ISTSS Annual Meeting. The 2013 recipients are:

First Prize: Brian Smith - Kent State University, Kent, Ohio, for the poster, “Substance Use Moderates the Effects of PTSD and Depression on Suicidality among Minority Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Adolescents and Young Adults”

Honorable Mention: Abigail Ross - Boston University School of Social Work, Boston, Massachusetts, for the poster, “Promoting Parental Resilience in Military Families: Results from a Randomized Clinical Trial”

Honorable Mention: Levent Sipahi - Wayne State University, School of Medicine, Detroit, Michigan, for the poster, “Longitudinal Epigenetic Variation at DNA Methyltransferase Genes is Associated with Risk for and Resilience to PTSD”