International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies

President’s Message Building a Global Community of Trauma Professionals

Posted 22 July 2014 in StressPoints by Nancy Kassam-Adams, PhD

What does it mean to build and sustain a global community that addresses trauma and its effects? Our Strategic Plan states that ISTSS is committed to operating in a manner that is “responsive to issues, members, and stakeholders from all nations” (Strategic Goal #5).

I want to highlight just a few ways that ISTSS is working toward this goal, and ask for your ideas about how ISTSS can continue to do this better. Follow @ISTSSNews on Twitter, and join the conversation (#istsscommunity) to share your thoughts.

A number of ISTSS initiatives are reaching out to include colleagues around the world who might not otherwise be able to participate in ISTSS activities. The Travel Grant Program helps trauma specialists from developing countries participate in the ISTSS Annual Meeting, enriching the experience of all meeting attendees. Travel grants are supported largely by member donations – if this is important to you, please consider making a contribution. New in 2014, ISTSS offers a no-cost “Corresponding Membership”. This option is currently available to trauma professionals living in Africa.

Through the hard work of our Global Meetings Committee, ISTSS has partnered with affiliated societies or regional organizations to organize conferences and symposia, including Norway in 2013 and upcoming 2014 conferences in China, Singapore, Turkey and Chile. ISTSS-organized symposia were also featured at the ESTSS meeting in Bologna (2013) and at the German-speaking society’s (DeGPT) meeting in Hamburg (2014).

We are also expanding the languages in which we communicate with each other. In collaboration with colleagues from Hong Kong, all abstracts from the Journal of Traumatic Stress (JTS) are translated and made available in Chinese, and we have just begun a pilot project with colleagues from Chile to translate JTS abstracts into Spanish. Like many international meetings, the ISTSS Annual Meeting is held in English, but we are experimenting with ways to expand to other languages. Our 2010 meeting in Montreal included a French language track, and the upcoming 2014 meeting in Miami will feature a Spanish language track with simultaneous translation. Many of our collaborative Global Meetings will feature more than one language.

The range of disciplines, specialty areas, and cultural and geographical backgrounds which ISTSS members bring to our work together is one of my favorite things about this Society. As we wrestle with what it means to be a truly global professional community, I am looking forward to our continued work to make this a reality.