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Keynote Addresses

Trauma, Recovery, and Resilience:
Journeys of Healing and Transformation in Boston

Roseann Sdoia
Boston Marathon Bombing Survivor
Boston, Massachusetts, USA


Osob Issa, MSW
Children’s Hospital Center for Refugee Trauma and Resilience 
Boston, Massachusetts, USA


Grete Dyb, MD, PhD (Moderator)
Norwegian Center on Violence & Traumatic Stress Studies
Oslo, Norway

Wednesday, November 13
Roseann Sdoia: Today, as a Boston Marathon Bombing Survivor and amputee, Roseann is making great strides in changing the lives of others. As one of the top motivational speakers and more recently a published author of Perfect Strangers, Roseann combines her powerful, personal story of perseverance with her professional corporate background and offers lessons learned throughout her challenging comeback journey as insightful, motivational tools that everyone can use to discover their own unstoppable strength. Roseann’s mantra that “life is only as positive as you make it” serves as the foundation for redefining one’s own mindset in achieving every personal and professional goal and ultimately living a happier, richer and more fulfilling life.

Osob Issa is a clinical social worker and program coordinator at the Refugee Trauma and Resilience Center at Children's Hospital in Boston. Issa received her master’s degree in social work from Boston University. She was born in Somalia and arrived in the United States as a refugee. Issa has been working with refugee and immigrant families in Boston and North America for the last 10 years through community-based participatory research and intervention. She has facilitated numerous trainings and workshops on the intersections of mental health, culture, identity, substance abuse, racial justice, resilience, and health adjustments of refugee and immigrant populations. She is an expert in building culturally responsive mental health services and is deeply committed to global struggles for social justice. 

Grete Dyb is a professor at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo and head of research at the Norwegian Centre for Violence and Traumatic Stress Studies. As the Principle Investigator of “The Utøya Study,” she is conducting longitudinal research projects on survivors and families of the massacre in Norway in July, 2011. She was trained in child and adolescent psychiatry and worked many years as a clinician in hospitals and outpatient units. Her special interest, childhood trauma and posttraumatic stress reactions in children and youth, has resulted in research on children, youth and families exposed to traumatic events such as child sexual abuse, violence, accidents and disasters. She has authored 90 international and national scientific publications within the field of childhood trauma, disasters, terror attacks and the impact of trauma on mental health in children, adolescents and adults and served as a teacher and supervisor for bachelor's, master's, PhD and post-doc students since 1992. She recently served for six years on the International Society of Traumatic Stress Studies Board of Directors and as President of ISTSS in 2016.

Truth and Reconciliation:
Envisioning Justice from the Victim’s Perspective


Judith Lewis Herman, MD
Harvard Medical School
Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Thursday, November 14
Judith Lewis Herman, MD, is a part-time professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. For thirty years until she retired, she was director of training at the Victims of Violence Program at The Cambridge Hospital in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Dr. Herman received her medical degree at Harvard Medical School and her training in general and community psychiatry at Boston University Medical Center. She is the author of two award-winning books: Father-Daughter Incest (Harvard University Press, 1981) and Trauma and Recovery (Basic Books, 1992). She has lectured widely on the subject of sexual and domestic violence. She is the recipient of numerous awards including the 1996 Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies and the 2000 Woman in Science Award from the American Medical Women's Association. In 2007 she was named a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association.

Better Together: Examples from Cognitive Processing Therapy of the Interaction Between Clinical Practice and Research


Patricia A. Resick, PhD, ABPP
Duke University
Durham, North Carolina, USA

Friday, November 15
After earning her doctorate from the University of Georgia, Dr. Resick served as an assistant and associate professor at the University of South Dakota and associate to full professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, where she was awarded an endowed professorship, Curator’s Professor, in 2000. During that time she developed and was director of the Center for Trauma Recovery. In 2003, Dr. Resick became director of the Women’s Health Sciences Division of the National Center for PTSD, VA Boston Healthcare System and professor of psychiatry at Boston University. In 2013, she joined Duke University.  Dr. Resick’s specialty is in understanding and treating the effects of traumatic events, particularly posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). She developed Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) for PTSD and is currently working on multiple clinical trials. Dr. Resick’s research has been continuously funded for 40 years; she has published more than 300 articles and chapters and 9 books. She has served as president of both the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS) and Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT). She has won research and mentoring awards from ISTSS and ABCT as well as the lifetime achievement award from the Trauma Division (56) of APA.

Addressing the Effects of Trauma in Children, Youth and Families Facing Adversity Globally


Theresa S. Betancourt, ScD, MA
Boston College School of Social Work
Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Saturday, November 16
Theresa S. Betancourt is the inaugural Salem Professor in Global Practice at the Boston College School of Social Work and director of the Research Program on Children and Adversity (RPCA). She is the principal investigator of an intergenerational, longitudinal study of war-affected youth in Sierra Leone (LSWAY). Dr. Betancourt has also developed and evaluated the impact of a family strengthening intervention for HIV-affected children and families and is leading the investigation of a home-visiting early childhood development intervention that can be integrated with poverty reduction and social protection initiatives in Rwanda to promote enriched parent-child relationships and prevent violence. In the U.S., Dr. Betancourt is engaged in community-based participatory research on family-based prevention of emotional and behavioral problems in refugee children and adolescents resettled in the U.S. 

Charting a Course Forward for the Traumatic Stress Field:
International Perspectives


Julian Ford, PhD (Moderator)
University of Connecticut Health Center
Farmington, Connecticut, USA


Judith Lewis Herman, MD
Harvard Medical School
Boston, Massachusetts, USA


Professor David Forbes, BA(Hons) MA (Clin Psych) PhD
Director Phoenix Australia – Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health
University of Melbourne, Australia


Professor Cherie Armour
Queens University Belfast
Belfast, United Kingdom


Gladys Mwiti, PhD
Oasis Africa Center for Transfromational Psychology and Trauma
Nairobi, Kenya

Saturday, November 16
Closing Keynote Plenary

This featured panel brings to a close the ISTSS 35th Annual Meeting with a conversation amongst international leaders in the field about their vision for the traumatic stress studies field in the next decade. Panelists include:

  • From Kenya, Gladys Mwiti is the founder and director of Oasis Africa, leading task-shifting for mass trauma interventions such as Rwandan genocide, the Nairobi USA Embassy bombing and the Westgate Mall terror attack.
  • From the U.K., Chérie Armour is an internationally recognized leader in advanced statistical methods for understanding the nature and lifecourse trajectory of traumatic stress.
  • From Australia, David Forbes leads the Phoenix Australia Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health and served as Co-Chair and lead editor of the newly released third edition of the ISTSS PTSD Treatment Guidelines.
  • From the U.S., Judith Herman, the pioneering author of the classic volume, Trauma and Recovery, that has guided and inspired thousands of professionals for three decades.

With the moderation of Julian Ford, the president of ISTSS, this group of distinguished and dedicated traumatic stress professionals will engage in a metalogue on questions such as: What are the most pressing human rights, social justice and global security challenges to which traumatic stress researchers, clinicians and educators should bring their expertise over the next decade? What will be the most important advances in assessment and treatment of traumatic stress in the next decade? What will be the most important advances in biological, epidemiological and public health research and technology? What do traumatic stress professionals most need to learn by listening to and partnering with trauma survivors?