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The mission of ISTSS includes the development and dissemination of scientific information about traumatic stress. With this in mind, the society created the Public Education Committee. This committee places its primary focus on getting the word out to the public, rather than to the scientific and professional communities.

That's a big job, and one that can't be done overnight. An enormous amount of information about traumatic stress has been developed over the past decade, and the information needs to reach as many people as possible. The committee can make a very important contribution to the public (and the society) by carefully working to identify effective public education processes and projects.

In November 1997, Sandy Bloom, then ISTSS president, formed the Public Education Committee to meet this mission, with Laurie Pearlman chairing the committee. The first project was to produce and disseminate the memory pamphlet, "Childhood Trauma Remembered." In it, the pamphlet describes the latest scientific knowledge about traumatic memory. The pamphlet, published in May 1998, was the product of intensive effort by many contributors, headed up by Susan Roth and Matt Friedman and with help from ISTSS headquarters.

In addition, committee members also produced a public education brochure based on CTR that is substantially shorter and designed to be distributed in waiting rooms and in mailings.

Three projects keep committee members busy currently. First, they are working to formulate and implement a circulation plan for the CTR pamphlet. This project entails identifying the appropriate parameters such as population, price and quantity to ensure the broadest distribution of the pamphlet. The second project, in conjunction with Rachel Yehuda, involves creating a public service announcement about trauma, designed specifically for a psychiatry radio show. Third, the committee wants to develop a general strategy for spreading trauma-related news.

These three projects reflect the perspective of the committee. It recognizes that a growing amount of information is available about traumatic stress and sees numerous ways to disseminate this information. Rather than attempting to catalog and distribute all information, committee members chose to develop a process by which committees, interest area groups or individual members could disseminate information with the support of ISTSS. The committee used the distribution of the CTR as both a model and pilot case. Proposed future projects include developing a mechanism to allow ISTSS members ,or ISTSS as a whole, to respond to trauma-related events in the media, and developing a speakers' bureau.

In November 1998, Brian Litzenberger, who headed up the memory pamphlet subcommittee, joined Pearlman as co-chair of the committee. Committee members include Lucy Berliner, Ted Bober, Chris Courtois, Berthold Gersons, David Lilly, Elana Newman, Joe Rudolph and Camille Wortman.