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Awards and Honors

ISTSS Awards Nominations 2023


The ISTSS Awards Committee is delighted to announce the opening of nominations for the 2023 ISTSS Awards. ISTSS offers a range of awards to recognize the contribution of researchers, clinicians, and advocates to the field of traumatic stress. The Society will recognize award winners at the ISTSS 39th Annual Meeting, November 1 to 4, 2023, in Los Angeles, California, United States.

For each award, nominees can be self-nominated or nominated by someone else. An individual can be nominated for multiple awards. When considering whom to nominate for these awards, ISTSS encourages submissions from applicants from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds and from countries outside of North America, as well as within. Elected board members are not eligible to be nominated for awards. 

Given the number of submissions for these awards, the Committee is unable to consider additional materials. Submissions that exceed the character or page limits, or submissions after the nomination date will not be considered.
Queries should be directed to Chair of the Awards Committee, Dr. Angela Nickerson [email protected]

An overview of the awards is available in six languages:

General Awards

Lifetime Achievement Award
This award is the highest honor given to an individual who has made great lifetime contributions to the field of traumatic stress.

To submit a nomination, view criteria and submission requirements please click here.

View Past Awardees

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ISTSS Outstanding Service Award 

The Award for Outstanding Service to ISTSS is designed to recognize a member of ISTSS who has made a significant and sustained contribution to ISTSS that has enhanced the Society and helped it achieve its goals.  Examples would include serving as an initiator and key leader on ISTSS committees, task forces, publications, special interest groups, or policy or other initiatives that have demonstrably enhanced the organization and its ability to effectively (1) engage and serve the membership, (2) foster global collaborations, and/or (3) substantively contribute to the traumatic stress field. Nominees for the award must be current members of ISTSS who are nominated by ISTSS members.  Current ISTSS Board Members are not eligible.

2022 Rick Koepke
2021 Nancy Kassam-Adams, PhD
2020 Dean Gaines Kilpatrick, PhD
2019 Professor Jonathan I. Bisson
2018 Danny Kaloupek, PhD

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Chaim and Bela Danieli Young Professional Award

The award was established by Dr. Yael Danieli in commemoration of her father and mother. This award recognizes excellence in the traumatic stress field by an individual who has completed his or her training within the last five years. For men or women with primary childcare responsibilities, one year per child can be added up to an eight-year limit post training. For example, an individual who completed his or her post-doctoral fellowship in 2008 and has two children would be eligible until 2015. The traumatic stress field may include research, clinical work, advocacy, policy, clergy or media. The definition of training includes clinical internship, post-doctoral training and medical residency.

2022 Ateka Contractor, PhD 
2021 Sheri Madigan, PhD, R.Psych
2020 Kathryn L. Humphreys, PhD 
2019 Laura Miller-Graff, PhD
2018 Aoife O'Donovan, PhD
2017 Angela Nickerson, PhD
2016 Brian Hall, PhD
2015 Cherie Armour, PhD
2014 Erika Wolf, PhD
View Past Winners

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Robert S. Laufer, PhD, Memorial Award for Outstanding Scientific Achievement

This award is given to an individual or group who has made an outstanding contribution to research in the field of traumatic stress. Robert S. Laufer, PhD, was a sociologist who made early and important contributions to the field of traumatic stress and PTSD through his research on the effects of war experiences on Vietnam combat veterans. Laufer was Professor of Sociology at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York and an author of the groundbreaking study of returning veterans, entitled Legacies of Vietnam: Comparative Adjustment of Veterans and Their Peers, published in 1981, with Arthur Egendorf, Ellen Frey-Wouters, and others. Laufer and colleagues expanded the concept of combat exposure to include multiple dimensions. In particular, he focused on witnessing or participating in abusive violence, an important new focus for a guerilla war where there were no front lines, and where enemy combatants and civilians were often difficult to distinguish. He found that abusive violence followed from more extreme exposure to combat, and was associated with distinctive psychological and behavioral outcomes, including different aspects of PTSD. Laufer died prematurely of cancer in 1989 at the age of 47. This award is made in his memory.

2022 Brian Marx, PhD
2021 Thomas C. Neylan, MD
2020 Martin H. Teicher, MD, PhD
2019 Cathy Spatz Widom, PhD
2018 Roxane Cohen Silver, PhD
2017 Jean C. Beckham, PhD
2016 Sandro Galea, MD, DrPH
2015 Karestan C. Koenen, PhD
View Past Winners

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Sarah Haley Memorial Award for Clinical Excellence

This award is given to a clinician or group of clinicians in direct service to traumatized individuals. This written and/or verbal communication to the field must exemplify the work of Sarah Haley. Sarah Haley, MSW, was a psychiatric social worker in the VA clinic in Boston, now a part of VA Boston Healthcare System. Beginning with her treatment of a My Lai veteran who was severely distressed and unable to remember aspects of his highly traumatizing experiences in Vietnam, at a time when traumatic experiences were rarely the focus of treatment, she sat with hundreds of veterans who gradually were able to trust her enough to tell their horrific narratives. Working with these men, who repulsed or frightened many other therapists, led to her landmark article entitled, "When the Patient Reports Atrocities: Specific Treatment Considerations of the Vietnam Veteran," published in the Archives of General Psychiatry in 1974. She established that the Vietnam veteran who had witnessed or taken part in atrocities presented a new and difficult challenge to psychotherapy, one that took courage and conviction on the part of the therapist to help bring about healing. Haley died prematurely of cancer in 1989 at the age of 50. This award is made in her memory.

2022 Bluehub Clinical Team at Phoenix Australia 
2021 Janine S. Shelby, PhD
2020 KCSARC Clinical Team
2019 Michael Wm. Marks, PhD, ABPP
2018 B. Heidi Ellis, PhD
2017 Lori S. Katz, PhD
2014 Mary Beth Williams, PhD, LCSW, CTS
2013 Elizabeth A. Hembree, PhD
View Past Winners

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Innovation Award

This award is given to an individual or group who has used innovative methods to advance the field of traumatic stress in the areas of prevention, research, treatment, teaching, policy and advocacy. Candidates will be evaluated on the following criteria: 

  • Evidence of a scientifically informed approach to innovation.
  • Evidence of reach and impact of the innovative research, treatment or knowledge translation activity. 
Applications are especially encouraged for innovative approaches that address diverse populations and health disparities.

2022 Dr. Roxanne Cohen Silver and Dr. E. Alison Holman 
2021 Amy Ai, PhD
2020 Albert “Skip” Rizzo, PhD

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Underrepresented Scholars Membership Award

Black and Indigenous people have historically and are currently targets of systematic discrimination and violence. In addition, scholars from these groups are underrepresented in academia including within the field of traumatic stress and are underrepresented within the ISTSS membership. In alignment with our goal of fostering representation within the field and within our society, and of helping support the next generation of diverse scholars, this award provides an avenue for membership and organizational involvement for talented scholars from around the world who identify as Black and/or Indigenous professionals. Awardees receive one full year of ISTSS membership and conference attendance. Individuals may apply whether or not they are current ISTSS members. Learn more about this award.

2022 Dr. Uchechukwu Hope-Ekwueme 
Dr. Maria Crouch
Dr. Stephanie Hargrove
Dr. Nathaniel G. Harnett
Dr. Stacey McMullen
Dr. Cynthia (Nicole) White

Frank W. Putnam Trauma Research Scholars

This award is presented to Student Members who submit proposals judged to have the greatest potential to contribute to the field of traumatic stress. The Scholars are named in honor of Dr. Frank W. Putnam, recognizing his outstanding contributions to the field of traumatic stress research, his service to children and families around the world, and his decades of mentorship and service to the Society. Previously known as the Student Research Grant Program, the Frank W. Putnam Research Scholars Program was endowed by anonymous donors who are friends and colleagues of Dr. Putnam. Learn more about this award

2021 Anna Vannucci and Cameron Pugach
2020 Adebisi Akinyemi, M.A. and Jessy Guler, M.S.
2019 Krista Engle, Mollie Marr
2018 Jessica Blayney, Daniel Lakin
2017 Hilary Lambert, Sarah Herzog
2016 Carolyn Yeager, Stephanie Wells
2015 Katherine L. Guyon-Harris, Jonathan W.L. Reeves
2014 Charlotte Heleniak, Diana Bennett
View Past Winners

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Global and Student Travel Awards

ISTSS typically offers a select number of Global Travel Awards and Student Travel Awards each year. A limited number of Global Travel Awards are available to support attendees coming from underserved regions of the world (e.g., low- and middle-income countries; underresourced communities in higher income countries) and experiencing financial hardship with meeting costs.

Because the 2020 and 2021 annual meetings were virtual, we offered Global and Student Registration Awards that covered the cost of registration for the ISTSS Annual Meeting. Learn more about these awards.

Global Registration Award

2021 Dr. Saulo G. Tractenberg

Student Registration Award

Aniqua Salwa
Christy E. Mather
Jasmine N. Lewis
Sara Babad
Maya Zegel


ISTSS Award for Excellence in Trauma Services for the Underserved: Policy, Advocacy, Research and Clinical (PARC)

ISTSS has developed the Award for Excellence in Trauma Services for the Underserved: Policy, Advocacy, Research and Clinical (PARC). This is a new award intended to recognize and promote excellence in trauma work being undertaken with underserved populations. Underserved populations will differ across the world but the focus is populations facing systemic barriers to equity, inclusion, and social justice based on identities, including race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, nationality and political beliefs and other ideologies. 

This award is open to ISTSS members who are engaged in trauma work with underserved populations. Priority will be given to individuals who (1) have demonstrated a sustained commitment to trauma work with underserved populations, (2) self-identify as belonging to an underserved population themselves, (3) have demonstrated commitment to trauma-related diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice, and (4) have demonstrated sustained commitment to ISTSS via membership or service activities. Learn more about this awards.

2022 Dr. Lauren Ng

ISTSS Student Poster Award

This award is presented annually to recognize excellent work in a poster submission to the ISTSS Annual Meeting.

Ifrah Sheikh, MSc - First Place
Emily Felber, MS - Honorable Mention
Jacob Julian, BA - Honorable Mention

Kristen Nishimi -- First Place
Maxime Fortin -- Honorable Mention
Mernyll Manalo -- Honorable Mention
View Past Winners

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Public Advocacy Award - (Discontinued)

This award is given for outstanding and fundamental contributions to advancing social understanding of trauma.

2018 Daniel Press
2017 Howard Reich
2016 Diane Elmore, PhD, MPH
2015 Hedi Fried, PhD
2014  Bruce Shapiro
2013  NATAL: Israel Trauma Center for Victims of Terror and War
View Past Winners

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Frank Ochberg Award for Media and Trauma Study - (Discontinued)

This award recognizes significant contributions by clinicians, researchers, graduate students and scholars working at the intersection of media, journalism and trauma. The Ochberg Award recognizes research and innovation which advances understanding of the role of news media in traumatic events and their impact; which elucidates the medical and ethical consequences of journalism practices when covering traumatic events; or which contributes to the resilience of journalists who cover violence, conflict and tragedy.

2018 Matthew Pearson
2016 Klas Backholm, DSc
2015 VA Gun Safety Video Workgroup
2014 E. Alison Holman, PhD, FNP and Roxane Cohen Silver, PhD
2013 Journalists' Critical Incident Stress (CIS) Research Group
View Past Winners

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