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The International Society of Traumatic Stress Studies celebrates the completion of its ambitious $100,000 Global Travel Award Campaign! Led by the vision and generosity of two ISTSS members who initiated the campaign with leadership gifts, the ISTSS Board then launched a $20,000 matching gift campaign and, with the support of the wider ISTSS community and $10,000 that ISTSS received from the estate of Ellen Frey Wouters, successfully reached its milestone of $100,000.

Dr. Amy Street played a seminal role, as then-ISTSS Treasurer, in getting the entire effort off the ground and in leading conversations with anonymous donors to establish the endowment. 
This campaign would not have been possible without the able stewardship of Drs. Julian Ford and Debra Kaysen.

  • The ISTSS Board of Directors set a shining example by unanimously contributing personally to the Global Travel Award fundraising initiative, and demonstrating our dedication to support members from all across the world, and especially those from areas that face the greatest socioeconomic challenges and disparities, in attending the Society’s annual meeting. Every ISTSS member who is able to attend the annual meeting makes an essential contribution through their personal participation, and every member of the Board recognized this in a very tangible way through their contribution to the Global Travel Award fund.”

—Dr. Julian Ford, ISTSS Immediate Past President

  • Over the course of my career, I have had the privilege of working with and learning from trauma professionals across the world. The problems we are trying to solve are bigger than any of us can tackle on our own. That is why ISTSS establishing the Global Travel Award is so important and meaningful. It is a way for us to bring together at the ISTSS annual meeting trauma professionals from around the world, including those who would otherwise never be able to attend our meeting. By the generous contributions of ISTSS members, we have provided an avenue for us to work together and learn from each other. Having spoken to some of our awardees at the last annual meeting, it is truly for the benefit of our entire community to be able to have them participate.”
—Dr. Debra Kaysen, ISTSS President

These global travel funds are open to any researcher or clinician who demonstrates financial hardship and provides a strong motivation for the impact that attending the ISTSS annual meeting will have on their career. Since its inception, ISTSS has made it a priority to support researchers and clinicians from underresourced and underserved countries and regions by providing financial support for their travel costs to attend the ISTSS annual meeting. 

  • In recent years, ISTSS has received four applications for every one travel award that it has been able to support, leaving many worthy applicants without the necessary funds to attend. This endowment will make a true difference.
  • Between 2012 and 2019, ISTSS supported 16 travel grant awardees from a variety of countries such as Bangladesh, Cambodia, Lebanon, the Philippines, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Australia and Ukraine. These awardees have enhanced the ISTSS Annual Meetings with their research and unique perspectives.

Now that the goal has been met, the ISTSS Global Travel Award Endowment will support, in perpetuity, countless more annual meeting attendees from underrepresented countries.

Felicien Izaturwanaho, from Rwanda, attended the ISTSS 35th Annual Meeting in Boston. You can read his reflections as a Global Travel Award recipient in a previous edition of StressPoints.

Chioma Igboegwu, from Nigeria, who attended the same meeting, says that “it was a most inspiring, empowering experience. There was no other way that I could have attended but for the Global Travel Award. Prof. Eve Carlson inspired me to join ISTSS. I gave a poster presentation, titled, ‘The Co-morbidity and Predictors of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and Depression in Personnel of the Nigeria Police Force. I also used the opportunity to speak on a Three-Dimensional Psychological Intervention Strategy (3-DPIS) Model, which I developed as a guiding light for scholars to integrate the holistic psychological approach in addressing the issue of traumatic stress.”  

A 2018 Global Travel Award Winner, Alexandra de Young, from the University of Queensland (Australia), says of her experience: “The ISTSS Annual Meeting is the best in my field for keeping up to date with the latest ground-breaking trauma research findings from across the world and for facilitating networking with existing and new collaborators. Receiving the ISTSS Global Travel Award in 2018 came at a very important time in my career. I was able to disseminate the results from an RCT that I conducted in collaboration with colleagues in Switzerland and I arrived home energised and motivated with new knowledge, strengthened collaborative relationships, new research contacts and ideas. I’m now leading a global collaboration research project, COVID-19 Unmasked, with 6 other countries: https://www.global-psychotrauma.net/corona. I have met several of the researchers involved at the ISTSS Annual Meeting.”

Chioma I. Igboegwu, PhD

Alexandra de Young, PhD

While we are conducting a virtual annual meeting this year, the money in the endowment fund will continue to grow. According to Rick Koepke, ISTSS Executive Director, “more earnings will accumulate and be available to support global travel when the ISTSS annual meeting next occurs in person. In the meantime, for this year’s meeting, the Board authorized a program inviting global applicants to apply for a waiver of registration fees for the meeting.” 

We are excited about the new possibilities that a virtual meeting presents, including enhanced access for international members, and we look forward to returning to in-person meetings in the future. On behalf of the entire ISTSS organization, we say THANK YOU, and we look forward to the ISTSS 36th Annual Meeting!