International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies

Policy and Advocacy Activities


ISTSS Joins Campaign in Opposition to Policies to Restrict Scientific Meeting Attendance

ISTSS joined numerous other organizations in a campaign expressing opposition to the Conference Accountability Act (S.1347).This legislation would prohibit a federal agency from paying the travel expenses for more than 50 employees stationed in the U.S. to attend any conference occurring outside the U.S., unless the Deputy Secretary and the Chief Financial Officer of the agency submit a written certification to the U.S. Congress that attendance for such employees is in the national interest. 

This legislation was passed by the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee in 2014. A companion bill in the U.S. House of Representatives (GSA Act of 2013 - H.R. 313), was passed by the full House in 2013. If this legislation is enacted, it would place further burdens on already onerous restrictions that have impeded U.S. federal employees from participating in scientific meetings, such as those hosted by ISTSS.

ISTSS Statement on the DSM-V

In 2011, ISTSS submitted a statement to the DSM-V Anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive (OC) Spectrum, Post-traumatic, and Dissociative Disorders Work Group to support the designation of an umbrella category of "Trauma and Stress-Related Disorders".

ISTSS Testimony on Sexual Assault in the Peace Corps

In 2011, ISTSS submitted written testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee on the issue of sexual assault in the Peace Corps.


ISTSS Co-Sponsors Briefing in U.S. Congress

In 2008, ISTSS co-sponsored an educational briefing in the U.S. House of Representatives entitled Addressing the Mental Health Needs of Service Members, Veterans, and their Families: Innovative Strategies for Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery.  

ISTSS Statement on Torture

Torture is a pressing national and international issue that has direct implications for ISTSS' central mission to reduce traumatic stressors and their immediate and long-term consequences. In 2005, ISTSS approved an official statement on torture and its impact, and the special roles and ethical obligations of health and social care professionals in responding to torture.

The statement was drafted by ISTSS member Stuart Turner, MD, with input from the ISTSS Executive Committee and approved by the Board of Directors. ISTSS member concerns brought to the Board of Directors by the Society Ombudsperson were a key catalyst in this action by the Society.

ISTSS Letter in Response to the Proposed Revisions to the Common Law

The International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS) appreciates the opportunity to provide comments on the proposed revisions to the Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects (also known as the Common Rule) outlined in the Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in the Federal Register on September 8, 2015. These revisions, which are intended “to modernize, strengthen, and make more effective the Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects that was promulgated as a Common Rule in 1991” are critically important to ensuring better protection of human subjects involved in research while facilitating valuable research and reducing burden, delay, and ambiguity for investigators. Read Letter