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The ISTSS board approved the establishment of an ISTSS Foundation at its meeting held prior to the 1999 conference in Miami. In addition to the Foundation, the board took action on a variety of new and ongoing programs. The meeting concluded Sandy McFarlane's presidency and began the 2000 board's term under the presidency of John Fairbank.

The new Foundation, proposed by ISTSS Vice President Rachel Yehuda, will provide the society with a new level of major program and development continuity, a channel to provide funding to develop and support new leaders in the field, and a vehicle to provide resources and education for professionals and consumers as an extension of ISTSS. The ISTSS Foundation's approved mission statement includes three components:

  1. Establish independent infrastructure through which ISTSS can provide programs and services for the public.
  2. Secure grants and gifts with which the ISTSS can fulfill its mission and goals, serving its members and the public.
  3. Support scientific and educational advances through grants and scholarships.

An independent board will lead the Foundation. A Foundation Steering Committee has been established to develop the operational mechanism for the Foundation. A proposal will be presented for board review at the 2000 Midyear Meeting.

Yehuda also presented the board with an opportunity for ISTSS to participate in a new nonprofit organization called the PTSD Alliance. The mission of the Alliance is to increase awareness and promote a better understanding of treatment options. The PTSD Alliance is a non-profit consortium created by Pfizer Inc., to be formally unveiled in February 2000. There are four organizations participating in the Alliance: 1) The Sidran Foundation; 2) The American Academy of Obstetrics and Gynecologists; 3) The Anxiety Disorder Association of America; and 4) ISTSS. Pfizer initiated the Alliance program in conjunction with FDA approval of Zoloft for treatment of PTSD.

Yehuda will serve as the ISTSS representative to the Alliance and Edna Foa will serve as alternate representative. The Alliance program will continue through mid-2001. Alliance products to be developed during that time include a consumer education brochure, video series, professional overview brochure with resources, teleconference series for clinicians and the public, media education, and an automated toll free information and referral phone line.

ISTSS participation in projects such as the Alliance provides the society with new organizational relationships and increased visibility.

The board also took action on these important issues:

  • The ISTSS Annual Meeting: A task force will address strategic and structural issues surrounding the evolving and growing ISTSS annual meeting. Planning for future ISTSS meetings will be scheduled to avoid conflicts with related meetings or work in conjunction with them.
  • Public Education: The board accepted the Public Education Committee proposal for pricing and distribution of the Public Education Brochure, the consumer-oriented adaptation of the ISTSS Childhood Trauma Remembered brochure. The committee will work to achieve the widest possible distribution of both publications. All ISTSS members will receive a copy of the new Public Education Brochure once it is printed in February.
  • Student Section Award: Student Section Chair Joe Rudolph is working to develop communication among students and between students and senior members of ISTSS. New programs and initiatives include an online chat area on the ISTSS Web site and formalizing the student representative process. The board then approved a new ISTSS Student Research Award. The award, developed by ISTSS Treasurer Dan Kaloupek, will provide a small grant-funding mechanism for post-graduate student members of ISTSS to help them conduct research activities, including doctoral dissertations. The proposal is structured in a way so it addresses a broad range of professions and the circumstances in which people might find themselves. Award details and application information will be published in Traumatic StressPoints and on the ISTSS Web site in July 2000.
  • Treatment Guidelines: The formal title of the recently completed ISTSS Treatment Guidelines is "Effective Treatments for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: Practice Guidelines from the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies." The project took two years to complete with the hard work of editor Edna Foa, co-editors Matt Friedman and Terry Keane, and dozens of writers and reviewers. The summary guidelines will be published in JTS, probably in July 2000. Guilford Press will publish the book and the editors are donating proceeds from the book to ISTSS.

Yet while the ISTSS Treatment Guidelines show that there has been a dramatic increase in the number of evidence-based treatments for people with PTSD, what has yet to emerge is the transfer of evidence-based interventions in practice. During the coming year ISTSS Past President Sandy McFarlane will constitute a task force to develop a plan to advance the treatment guidelines. The task force will consider identifying effective methods of disseminating the treatment guidelines; creating a consumer focused edition; identifying requirements for training service providers; developing approaches to ensure quality applications; updates to the guidelines.

  • International Trauma Training: A proposal for an ISTSS Task Force to Improve the Quality of International Trauma Training was presented to the board by ISTSS member Stevan Weine. The task force will articulate and analyze problems related to international trauma training and bring issues to the board with a proposal for the next step in the project.
  • Latin American Trauma Society: The development of a Latin American affiliate traumatic stress society is progressing through the efforts of ISTSS member Andy Stone. Stone met with the board to discuss the steps necessary to formalize the organization. The informal network includes contacts in Columbia, Mexico, Argentina, Spain, Portugal, Brazil, El Salvador, Cuba and Guatemala. There are also numerous Latin American expatriates living in North America who have expressed an interest in a Latin American affiliate society.
  • United Nations Working Group: The ISTSS International Working Group on Traumatic Stress is working with the United Nations to develop a document to guide practice and public policy in countries torn by exposure to traumatic events. The report will emphasize public health principles and processes that can be employed to mitigate the effects of traumatic stress among the general population as well as other personnel effected by trauma.

Sandy McFarlane, 1999 ISTSS President, opened the board meeting with a review of recent ISTSS' recent accomplishments and opportunities. He emphasized the challenges faced by growing organizations, particularly the need to honor a diversity of opinions while working toward consensus. He thanked the 1999 Executive Committee and committee chairs. After lunch, ISTSS President-elect John Fairbank officially began his term as ISTSS President. Fairbank emphasized the need for continuity as new board members take office, and reviewed continuing ISTSS initiatives. Thematically, his administration will focus on the recognition of the need to address traumatic stress using interventions based on the principles of public health. This will form the 2000 Annual Meeting theme.

Board members whose terms ended with the conclusion of the morning meeting and those whose terms began after lunch participated in the full meeting, providing valuable continuity. Present were 19 of 21 1999 board members, five of six 2000 board members, three ex-officio board members representing ISTSS publications and affiliated organizations and several guests presenting reports and proposals. The large participating group made for lively discussion of the issues.

APA: TFT Doesn't Qualify for Continuing Education

In September 1999, the Continuing Professional Education Committee (CPEC) of the American Psychological Association (APA) determined that, at this point, thought field therapy (TFT) as a topic for continuing education for psychologists does not meet the current criteria for appropriate curriculum content.

According to the criteria and procedures manual of the APA sponsor-approval system, TFT did not yet meet Criterion H. Criterion H states that CE programs "are up-to-date with respect to the topics and the empirical, theoretical, and practice literature, and use current data, and address pre-determined educational objectives using teaching methods and material appropriate to the subject matter."

In particular, the sponsor-approval system criteria and procedures manual states, "Claims made that imply new, innovative, and/or breakthrough types of findings may require substantiation via empirical support." Since TFT has not yet received empirical support, the committee determined it was not in accordance with the curriculum content criteria.