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Traumatic stress research group honors leaders, names new board

November 21, 2011
by News release
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Deerfield, Ill. — The International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS), an international, interdisciplinary professional organization that promotes the advancement and exchange of knowledge about traumatic stress, honored leaders and innovators in the profession and announced the group's 2011-2012 Board of Directors at its 27th Annual Meeting in Baltimore.

“Each year ISTSS has the privilege of honoring leaders, visionaries and innovators in the field of traumatic stress treatment and research,” said ISTSS President Eve Carlson, PhD. “This year’s awardees are highly deserving of these awards for the valuable contributions they’ve made to our field. It is my honor to recognize them.”

Lifetime Achievement Award is the highest honor given by ISTSS. It is awarded to the individual who has made great lifetime contributions to the field of traumatic stress. 2011 ISTSS Award Winners include:

Mark Creamer, PhD, Australian Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health

Dr. Creamer has had a long and esteemed career as a clinical psychologist and researcher in the area of traumatic mental health. His career as a psychologist began in 1980 where he worked in a number of different clinical and psychiatric settings. From 1991 to 1996 Dr. Creamer worked as a lecturer at the University of Melbourne.


Following this experience, Dr. Creamer developed the Centre for War Related Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This later became known as the Australian Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health (ACPMH), Australia’s equivalent to America’s National Center for PTSD. At present ACPMH is internationally recognized as conducting research of the highest standard, developing policy and providing training across government and industry, including the Commonwealth Departments of Veterans Affairs, Defence and Health.

Frank Ochberg Award for Media and Trauma Study recognizes significant contributions by clinicians and researchers on the relationship of media and trauma.

Stephen J. Cozza, MD, Uniformed Services University Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress


After retiring from the military and joining the staff of the Uniform Services University of Center for Traumatic Stress, Dr. Cozza took action to address this significant yet generally overlooked need. His advocacy and expert application of principles and clinical understanding became key drivers in development of the Sesame Street Workshop’s Talk, Listen, Connect series for military children and their families.


These programs feature Elmo and other Sesame Street Muppet characters as they confront deployment stress within their own families. Hundreds of thousands of military households have viewed these programs and they are highly valued because of their effectiveness in opening conversations and promoting understanding within families and across generations.

Public Advocacy Award is given for outstanding and fundamental contributions to advancing social understanding of trauma.

Lisa K. Bernhardt, MPP, Appropriations Committee, U.S. Senate

Since 2001, Ms. Bernhardt has served as senior professional staff providing oversight for the U.S. government programs relating to substance abuse and mental health, health services research, bioterrorism and emergency preparedness. In this capacity, Ms. Bernhardt has worked tirelessly to ensure high quality programs for children and families affected by trauma.


This is most directly evidenced in her support for the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, a national network of over 130 hospital, university and community-based child trauma centers committed to improving treatment access and raising the standard of care for children and families affected by traumatic stress. This program was launched as a Congressional initiative in 2000 and has since become an effective national and international resource serving those who have experienced many kinds of traumatic events.

Chaim and Bela Danieli Young Professional Award recognizes excellence in traumatic stress service or research by an individual who has completed his or her training within the last five years.

Wietse A. Tol, PhD, Yale University

Dr. Tol’s research has been aimed at diminishing the 10/90 gap in mental health research, in trying to address the reality that 4 percent of published mental health research originates from countries, which account for 80 percent of the global population. To this end he has established and trained research teams in four low- and middle-income countries: Burundi, Indonesia, Nepal and Sri Lanka.


Furthermore, Dr. Tol has presented his research findings in a variety of international conferences. He received a cum laude designation for his doctoral degree, a degree that is exceptionally awarded in academia in the Netherlands. In addition to his research activities, Dr. Tol has been active in humanitarian programming and in implementing public mental health interventions.

Robert S. Laufer Award for Outstanding Scientific Achievement is given to an individual or group who has made an outstanding contribution to research in the field of traumatic stress.

Kerry James Ressler, MD, PhD, Emory University

Dr. Ressler is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and researches the molecular and cellular mechanisms of fear learning and the process of extinction of fear in mouse models. Dr. Ressler is also a practicing psychiatrist with an interest in translational and clinical research on fear-based psychiatric disorders; he focuses on PTSD at Grady Memorial Hospital. Dr. Ressler hopes that by understanding how fear works in the mammalian brain in the laboratory, it will improve understanding of and provide translational treatments and possibly prevention for fear-based disorders, such as PTSD, phobic disorders and panic disorders.

Sarah Haley Memorial Award for Clinical Excellence is given to a clinician or group of clinicians in direct service to traumatized individuals. This written and/or verbal communication to the field must exemplify the work of Sarah Haley. (Two recipients)

Vanessa Kelly, PsyD, UCSF Trauma Recovery Center

For more than 25 years, Vanessa has directly treated urban victims of violent crime, victims of sexual assault, prostitution and family members of homicide – starting out at the Boulder County Rape Treatment Center and for 10 years in her current position at the UCSF Trauma Recovery Center. At the request of the California Governor’s Office, she conjointly designed and implemented support group interventions statewide for the California family members and survivors of the September 11th terrorist attacks.

EMDR-Humanitarian Assistance Programs

EMDR-Humanitarian Assistance Programs (EMDR-HAP) was established in the U.S. in 1995 as a non-profit organization in response to the Oklahoma City bombing. A needs assessment and volunteer clinician recruitment followed, resulting in both direct intervention with first responders and other victims, in addition to pro bono training programs in collaboration with local agencies. Since that time, EMDR-HAP has responded to agencies requesting help after both natural and man-made disasters, both in the U.S. and in developing nations.

ISTSS Elects 2011-2012 Board of Directors

ISTSS also announced its newly elected Board of Directors members at the Annual Meeting.

"Our association is the leader in traumatic stress research and treatment," said Carlson. “We believe it is our responsibility to provide a forum for sharing the latest treatment and research methods. I am excited to welcome a new group of leaders to the ISTSS Board of Directors who will continue to carry out this vision."

ISTSS is run by a committed group of elected and unelected volunteers drawn from the various trauma-related disciplines around the world. The organization is governed by a Board of Directors consisting of 21 members, including a membership-elected Executive Committee and several ex-officio (non-voting) members.

2011-2012 ISTSS Board of Directors include:

  • Eve Carlson, PhD (President)
  • Dean Kilpatrick, PhD (Treasurer)
  • Diane Elmore, PhD, MPH (Secretary)
  • Marylene Cloitre, PhD (Past President)
  • Karestan Koenen, PhD (President-Elect)
  • Jon Bisson, DM
  • Alain Brunet, PhD
  • Kathleen Chard, PhD
  • Joan Cook, PhD
  • Grete Dyb, MD, PhD
  • Charles Engel, MD, MPH
  • Julian Ford, PhD
  • Harold Kudler, MD
  • Ruth Lanius, MD, PhD
  • Kathryn Magruder, MPH, PhD
  • Candice Monson, PhD
  • Daniel Mosca, MD
  • Gladys Mwiti, PhD
  • Meaghan O’Donnell, PhD
  • Nnamdi Pole, PhD
  • Eric Vermetten, MD, PhD

For more information, visit www.istss.org.

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