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ISTSS Global Ambassadors

The ISTSS annual meeting brings together a global community of researchers, practitioners, policy makers and more, all interested in improving the lives of individuals, families and communities affected by trauma. As part of the virtual ISTSS 36th Annual Meeting, our ISTSS Global Ambassadors will host a series of region-specific networking events to engage in lively discussion about the cutting-edge work, policy developments, and barriers and opportunities for advancing the traumatic stress field in their regions. Our 2020 global ambassadors cover six continents: Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, Europe, North America, and South America.

Associate Professor Eva Alisic, University of Melbourne, Australia

Eva Alisic is Associate Professor, Child Trauma and Recovery, at the University of Melbourne’s School of Population and Global Health, in Australia. Aiming to improve support for young people and their families, her focus is on mental health and resilience in the face of violence at home, disaster, and war. Her team uses both qualitative and quantitative methods, and collaborates extensively with people with lived experience, policy makers, and artists. Eva has co-developed the Africa and ASEAN Science Leadership Programs, and has a keen interest in global mental health. She blogs at trauma-recovery.net and her Twitter name is @EvaAlisic.

Professor Ashraf Kagee, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa

Ashraf Kagee is Distinguished Professor of Psychology at Stellenbosch University, co-Director of the Alan Flisher Centre for Public Mental Health, and a member of the Academy of Science of South Africa. He received his PhD in Counselling Psychology from Ball State University, completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and a Master of Public Health at the University of Cape Town. His work is broadly located at the nexus of psychology and public health. His research has focused on common mental disorders among persons living with HIV and the psychological and structural factors influencing adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART). With over 200 scientific publications to date, Professor Kagee has been awarded research grants from the South African Medical Research Council, the National Research Foundation, the British Academy, the Guggenheim Foundation. He has also been a co-investigator on several NIH-funded studies. From 2012 to 2017 Professor Kagee served on a working group of the World Health Organization tasked with developing diagnostic guidelines for stress-related disorders for the forthcoming edition of the International Classification of Diseases. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Trauma Centre for Survivors of Violence and Torture in Cape Town and does capacity building work at the Gaza Community Mental Health Centre in Gaza, Palestine.

Dr. Gladys Mwiti, Founder and CEO of Oasis Africa, Kenya

Dr. Gladys Mwiti is a Consulting Clinical Psychologist, Founder and CEO, Oasis Africa Center for Transformational Psychology & Trauma that houses an active psychological clinic and a robust corporate/organizational Employee Wellness Program. Author of five books, numerous journal articles and book chapters, Dr. Mwiti is an internationally preferred speaker. She is immediate past Chairperson of the Kenya Psychological Association (KPA); Interim Chairperson of the Kenya Society for Traumatic Stress Studies; Immediate past Member of the Board of Directors for the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS); Co-Chair, Lausanne Congress for World Evangelization Mental Health and Trauma Issue Group; member, ChildFund Board, Kenya; and member, Langham Partnership International Council. A recipient of several international awards in scholarship, Dr. Mwiti has spent the past 20-30 years mobilizing, training, equipping and dispersing the mental health teams that responded to major incidences around the world, including the Westgate Mall Attack (2015), Nairobi USA Embassy bombing (1998) and Rwanda Genocide (1994); rolling out models, best practices and success measures.

Professor Monique Pfaltz, University of Zurich, Switzerland

Monique Pfaltz is a trained psychotherapist and clinical and experimental researcher. She is an assistant professor at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, and her research assesses socio-emotional processes (e.g., interpersonal boundary setting, regulation of closeness and distance, emotional reactivity, facial emotion recognition) in healthy individuals and patients affected by traumatic stress, with a focus on childhood maltreatment (abuse and neglect). As part of the Global Collaboration on Traumatic Stress, she is currently leading a theme on the socio-emotional development across cultures. Findings of the corresponding projects shall provide a basis for the development of interventions improving social functioning and thus health and well-being of those affected by childhood maltreatment. Dr. Pfaltz is a member of the editorial board of the European Journal of Psychotraumatology and of the Journal of Traumatic Stress and co-organizer of the Annual Zurich Conference on Psychotraumatology.

Dr. Andrés Fresno Rodriquez, Universidad de Talca, Chile

Andrés Fresno, PhD and clinical psychologist, is associate professor psychology at the University of Talca, Chile. Since 2010, he has dedicated himself to the study of traumatic stress. He has conducted research on the relationship between child abuse, attachment and PTSD, and he has trained in therapies for the treatment of PTSD (BEPP, RT, EMDR, REWIND, CBT). He has also actively participated in the Spanish translation of therapy manuals for PTSD (BEPP, RT, CBT), as well as for the evaluation of PTSD and complex PTSD. He is a founding member and current vice president of the Chilean Association of Traumatic Stress (ACET). His areas of interest are PTSD, complex PTSD, emotional regulation, child abuse and attachment.

Associate Professor Sho Takahashi, University of Tsukuba, Japan

Dr. Takahashi is an Associate Professor of the University of Tsukuba, department of disaster Psychiatry. He was dispatched to the Kumamoto earthquake relief mission in 2016 as a team member of Disaster Psychiatric Assistance (DPAT) and a chief of the local mental health headquarter.  He was also a mental health supervisor at Joso flood in 2015, where he supervised the mental health support program for the Joso Flood victims and has continued follow-up mental health support for local municipality staff and the volunteers and community members who had supported the affected area. He and his colleagues made a questionnaire of DPAT-MDS (minimal data set) as a mental health checker. This DPAT-MDS was has been adopted as SPEED Japan version, called J-SPEED. He is a member of a disaster relief commission for The Japanese Society of Psychiatry and Neurology (JSPN), Japanese Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (JSTSS) and Japanese Society of General Hospital Psychiatry. He also belongs to Ibaraki Prefectural Medical Center of Psychiatry as a disaster support manager in Ibaraki prefecture. He is manager and supervisor of Ibaraki prefecture’s DPAT. He is a specialist for Disaster Psychiatry, Dementia, Elderly Psychiatry, Consultation-liaison psychiatry, and Psychosomatic medicine.

Dr. Anne Wagner, Ryerson University, Canada

Dr. Anne Wagner, C.Psych., is the founder of Remedy, a mental health innovation community, and is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Psychology and an Associate Member of the Yeates School of Graduate Studies at Ryerson University. She is currently running a pilot trial of Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) for PTSD + MDMA and has an upcoming randomized trial of Cognitive Behavioral Conjoint Therapy for PTSD (CBCT) + MDMA. Anne has a particular focus on innovating mental health interventions, for example by working with a community-led approach (e.g., with HIV/AIDS service organizations and community health centres), using different treatment formats (e.g., with couples), and facilitators of treatment (e.g., MDMA and psilocybin). She is the Past-Chair of the Traumatic Stress Section of the Canadian Psychological Association, is a Global Ambassador for the International Society of Traumatic Stress Studies, and sits on the Board of Directors of Casey House (Toronto’s HIV/AIDS Hospital).