ISTSS Honors Global Advancements in Trauma Research and Treatment

CHICAGO, IL, November 18, 2019 – Although its roots extend back more than a century, the modern field of traumatic stress studies continues to grow and evolve. Every year, the International Society of Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS) recognizes achievements by trauma experts working to understand, prevent and treat traumatic stress. The awards, presented at ISTSS 35th Annual Meeting in Boston, Massachusetts, honor ISTSS members and other dedicated professionals for their service to ISTSS, to the field as a whole and to trauma survivors.

“These professionals have dedicated their careers to helping people recover from trauma, and in many cases their work has had a global impact,” said ISTSS President Julian D. Ford, PhD, ABPP. “To present them with these awards is truly an honor.”

The Lifetime Achievement Award is the highest honor given to an individual who has made great lifetime contributions to the field of traumatic stress.

Winner: Patricia Resick, Ph.D., ABPP, for establishing Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) as a globally recognized frontline treatment for PTSD and comorbid conditions.

Resick was a pioneer in investigating the posttraumatic effects of rape, conducting one of the first clinical trials with rape victims. She spent the bulk of her career developing Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) and conducting rigorous randomized controlled trials with female survivors of sexual trauma. Her treatment manuals and training materials have been translated into at least 11 languages, with CPT clinical work spanning the globe.

The ISTSS Outstanding Service Award recognizes an ISTSS member who has made a significant and sustained contribution to the Society that has enhanced it and helped it achieve its goals.

Winner: Jonathan Bisson, DM FRCPsych (Cardiff University) for his service to the membership, enhancement of global collaborations and contribution to the field.

Bisson led the development of the 2018 ISTSS PTSD Prevention and Treatment Guidelines, recalibrating ISTSS’s approach to guideline development to meet standards of increasing sophistication and actively engaging the ISTSS membership in the process. Bisson has served ISTSS for almost 20 years in various board and committee positions.

The Chaim and Bela Danieli Young Professional Award recognizes excellence in the traumatic stress field by an individual who has completed their training within the last five years (or up to eight years for people with primary child care responsibilities).

Winner: Laura Miller-Graff, PhD (Notre Dame University) for her work studying the effects of violence on developmental trajectories and evaluating evidence-based interventions in global contexts.

Miller-Graff’s research examines developmental and cross-cultural patterns of resilience and psychopathology in children and adults exposed to multiple, chronic and severe forms of violence. Her work utilizes social, ecological and intergenerational frameworks to study how the sequelae of traumatic events unfold over time and across systems. Currently, a significant portion of her work focuses on applying this basic research to intervention development for violence-exposed groups both in U.S. contexts and in international conflict settings. 

The Robert S. Laufer, PhD, Memorial Award for Outstanding Scientific Achievement recognizes an individual or group that has made an outstanding contribution to research in the field of traumatic stress.

Winner: Cathy Widom, PhD (John Jay College and Graduate Center City University of New York), for helping to define how child abuse and neglect perpetuate the cycle of trauma and victimization.

Widom’s research on child abuse and neglect serves as the foundation for understanding of the intergenerational cycle of trauma. She has also helped shape public policy, providing evidence for the crucial role of law enforcement officers, teachers and other youth-serving professionals in recognizing the signs of abuse and neglect and engaging in serious efforts to intervene as early as possible.

The Sarah Haley Memorial Award for Clinical Excellence honors a clinician or group of clinicians in direct service to traumatized individuals.

Winner: Michael Marks, PhD, ABPP (University of Arizona) for improving access to mental health care for veterans in rural communities and providing other professions such as first responders with psychological and behavioral resilience-building tools.

In 1979, Marks co-founded Vietnam Veterans of Montana, where the closest available resource for Vietnam veterans was two states and two mountain passes away in Spokane, Washington. His Supportive Education for Returning Veterans (SERV) program, which he designed with a colleague to help returning veterans transition from war zones to academic life, has helped shift the field’s focus away from pathologizing reactions to trauma in favor of assisting survivors to integrate traumatic experiences into community service. The SERV program has been refined to help first responders, nurses and teachers cope with the demands of their work.

About the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS)
ISTSS is an international interdisciplinary professional organization that promotes advancement and exchange of knowledge about traumatic stress. Learn more at