International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies


Elana Newman, PhD
President, ISTSS

In my last column, I delineated the history, achievements, roles and challenges for ISTSS members and the society. In this column, I am happy to report on specific ISTSS projects that are underway  

As I reflected on specific ISTSS projects in writing this column today, news reports on the release of the U.S. Department of Defense Task Force on Mental Health Report were playing in the background. This report calls for an overhaul of mental health delivery for American military to meet the changing needs over time of both military members and their families. Issues of resilience-building as well as education and training of mental health professionals about trauma assessment and intervention were mentioned. 

With the report’s emphasis on increased education, capacity-building, assessment and treatment of PTSD, and other trauma-related conditions, I was struck by how many ISTSS projects relate to these needs, such as.  

Treatment Guidelines: Some time in the next few months, all ISTSS members will have the opportunity to review the proposed revised ISTSS treatment guidelines and respond with comments about the scientific accuracy of the conclusions and recommendations. I am grateful for the fine work and professionalism of Editors Edna Foa, Terence Keane, Matthew Friedman and Judith Cohen who have been leading this project. 

Dissemination: Furthermore, the ISTSS Dissemination Task Force was established to improve dissemination to clinicians of evidence-based practice regarding the assessment and treatment of traumatic stress conditions. Materials which are evidence-based and free to use are now available on the ISTSS Web site. My hearty thanks to the members of this committee which include Mark Creamer (chair) Richard Bryant, Marylene Cloitre, Judy Cohen, Lori Davis, Grant Devilly, Edna Foa, Merle Friedman, Patti Resick and David Riggs. 

Continuing Education: We have a continuing education task force currently exploring ways to provide members with continuing education opportunities — my thanks to Norah Feeny and her committee for this work examining these options and helping the society make future choices. 

Clinician-researcher Dialogue: Our clinician-researcher dialogue task force is examining how to make the dialogue between clinicians and researchers more constructive and less divisive. We look forward to seeing the work of this committee led by Lucy Berliner and Jonathan Bisson

Public Education: Our Public Education Committee is hard at work to create several very short video narratives of trauma survivors that can be placed on the ISTSS Web site for public education. Thanks to the committee, chaired by Tori Reynolds and Jean Beckham. This level of activity is very exciting. 

Annual Meeting: The annual meeting program committee, organized by program chairs Joanne Davis and Jon Elhai, is nearly done with conference planning. Thanks to the entire team for their hard work. As you may know, we had more proposals submitted this year than ever before, of very high quality, which is a wonderful reflection of the innovation in the field, and our membership’s efforts. On the downside, this means that many worthwhile proposals were rejected. I certainly hope that even if your paper is not accepted, you will share your expertise as a conference delegate and visit with new and old friends. In addition to theme of prevention and our usual diverse programming, I was also very pleased to see a higher number of papers this year about children and active military duty. Please reserve your space now. I look forward to seeing you there! 

Board Direction: The ISTSS board of directors (BOD) met two weeks ago in Opatija, Croatia, concurrent with the European Society of Traumatic Stress Studies conference. I am happy to report that our current financial standing is healthy and improving, and we are building our emergency reserve funds, crucial to our financial stability as an organization. I would like to thank members of the Finance Committee (Nancy Kassam-Adams, Lisa Morris, Kathy Steele, Ulrich Schnyder, John Fairbank, and Russell Jones). During this meeting, the ISTSS BOD also decided to look closely at our internal structure, examining the ways BOD organizes, approves, and vets various projects and activities. In addition, to support our student members, we approved to partially fund the student luncheon, allowing for $10 per student luncheon for 2007. 

Reflecting on these ISTSS activities and the news reports today, I was also struck by the number of ISTSS members critically involved in these endeavors as individuals. The scientific advances, clinical interventions, and policy changes that members are engaged in are truly remarkable. As I discussed in my last column, the success of ISTSS on all of our current projects depends on the expertise, energy and diversity of ISTSS members to share accurate knowledge to improve the ways we help survivors. I am impressed with all the work that members do and invite you all to help ISTSS on collective projects.


Updated on 8/20/07



Back to Top

Print this Page - opens a new window
E-mail this Page