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Marit-headshot-Sept-2022.pngAs Immediate Past-President of ISTSS, this will be my final Presidential column in StressPoints. After this column, Dr. Angela Nickerson, the Current President of ISTSS, will take over. With Angela Nickerson, I am confident that our society will be in more than excellent hands. Having already passed the gavel to Angela, I take the opportunity to look back on the past year.
First of all, I am very happy to tell you that we can look back on a very successful meeting that drew a high number of attendees. We have met with our colleagues and friends, and we have also welcomed new members to ISTSS. Thanks to the tremendous efforts of our meeting chairs, Drs. Isaac Galatzer-Levy and Dr. Katherina Schultebraucks, the scientific program was excellent. The annual meeting featured keynotes spanning child traumatic stress (Dr. Alicia Lieberman), innovations in traumatic stress treatment from cognitive science (Dr. Iris Engelhard) and the acute response to trauma and resilience (Dr. George Bonanno).
The ISTSS Board approved the updated Strategic Plan for 2024-2026, an effort that was so well led by Dr. Andrea Phelps. In this strategic plan, we ensured that ISTSS will continue to focus on research and clinical excellence in the field of traumatic stress, to strive for a diverse and engaged organization, to maximize global impact and to ensure financial strength. We are excited to carry out the activities necessary to reach these goals in the years to come and to remain the visible and well-established traumatic stress organization and worldwide resource that we are now. I hope that ISTSS, as a global organization, will become more accessible for members located in areas of the world with few trauma professionals, such as countries in the global south.
It has been a great honor and pleasure to serve the Society as President. Being a Board member for seven years now (with one year to go as Past-President), I have met a great number of new colleagues within the traumatic stress field. Before I joined ISTSS, I was already quite strongly embedded in the European traumatic stress research field, with collaborations worldwide due to research in the global mental health field. My experience with ISTSS board membership helped me to cross the ocean(s) and to get much better acquainted with the global traumatic stress field. I have broadened my scope, learned much about the topics and sensitivities that may not (yet) be so central in the Dutch or European research arena, but may be so in other parts of the world each with their own histories and populations.
Next year, we will meet again in Boston. Unlike our tradition of meeting each November, the 2024 meeting will be scheduled in the last full week of September (23-28). Just a reminder, this means that abstract submission will take place earlier and will open on January 9, 2024. We hope to receive again many submissions this year.
I wish you all happy holidays and a healthy 2024!