International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies

President's Message April 2014

Posted 19 March 2014 in StressPoints by Nancy Kassam-Adams, PhD

In each issue of Traumatic StressPoints, I will highlight one of our Society’s strategic goals, hoping to spark conversation about how these goals shape our work together.

In preparing for this edition of StressPoints, I came to realize that I had a challenge – organizational issues are just not that exciting. Is it possible to be passionate about the processes we use to do our work? I hope so. Explicitly naming organizational excellence as a goal speaks to our deeply held values about how we work together. Like the framework of a well-designed building, when we get this right we provide the structural foundation for everything else we do.

Goal #6 Organizational Excellence
As a scientific and clinical society, the ISTSS operates within a model that is inclusive, transparent and sustainable.

Do you have ideas about how ISTSS can achieve this goal? Follow @ISTSSNews on Twitter, and join the conversation (#istsscommunity):

  • Why did you join ISTSS?
  • How would you like to be more involved?
  • Which goals would YOU most like to help ISTSS achieve?
  • Promoting excellent science and practice
  • Sustaining professional community
  • Building global relationships
  • Ensuring societal impact
  • What suggestions do you have to improve ISTSS’ decision-making and leadership structure?

Setting a goal of organizational excellence acknowledges that we value not just WHAT we accomplish as a Society, but HOW we accomplish it. The strategic planning process identified two specific objectives that arise from this goal:  to become a strategic board, and to empower and engage ISTSS membership in work and decision-making. We have made great strides toward the first objective, with a very real culture shift in the Board’s work. The ISTSS Board has embraced a focus on continuity and multi-year planning, guided by strategic goals.

Many challenges remain, but here are just a few of the ways that ISTSS is becoming increasingly inclusive and transparent, while engaging members in both work and decision-making:

  • Since 2012, ISTSS committee chairs, task force leaders, board members and key staff members have gathered as a “leadership council” just prior to the Annual Meeting. This larger group works together for several hours, promoting communication and collaboration across ISTSS’ many activities.
     
  • We are more “communicative” than ever before, with regular news and updates at www.ISTSS.org. We have multiple opportunities to learn from and interact with each other (throughout every day) via ISTSS’ social media presence on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn.
     
  • We are supporting the revitalization of Special Interest Groups (SIGs), with SIG leaders
    being chosen by SIG membership for specified terms, and with clearer expectations for regular engagement among SIG members throughout the year. Active SIGs will be able to tap additional resources (e.g. LinkedIn groups) to support their work. SIGs have also been invited to take over a portion of the ISTSS website home page for a month at a time to share news and ideas relevant to their trauma interests.


ISTSS is lucky to have committed and hard-working members who want to serve. 38 members are currently serving as program deputies and more than 200 as abstract reviewers for the 2014 Annual Meeting. If you are excited about moving the work of ISTSS forward, I encourage you to consider how you would like to be involved and to offer your time and talents to ISTSS.