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Underrepresented Scholars Membership Award


ISTSS is an international, interdisciplinary professional organization that promotes advancement and exchange of knowledge about traumatic stress. This knowledge includes understanding the scope and consequences of traumatic exposure; preventing traumatic events and ameliorating their consequences; and advocating for the field of traumatic stress globally. One of the strategic goals of ISTSS is to have an engaged and diverse membership. To be able to advance that strategic goal and to accomplish our broader societal mission, it is essential that the field of traumatic stress include scholars from diverse and underrepresented groups. 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 membership of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies.


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, ISTSS has developed the ISTSS Underrepresented Scholars Membership Award. This award is intended to provide an avenue for membership and organizational involvement for talented scholars from around the world who identify as Black and/or Indigenous professionals. Our society recognizes that there are many other groups that are also underrepresented in the field and within the organization, but given the historic lack of representation from these specific groups ISTSS would like this award to reflect its overarching goal of supporting its members who identify as Black and/or Indigenous.


ISTSS memberships and conference registration will be awarded to support and recognize five (5) self-identified Black and/or Indigenous early career professionals whose focus is within the scope of traumatic stress in the areas of research, teaching, policy work, or clinical service.  Awardees should have completed their terminal training and be within 10 years of receiving their degree. Awardees will receive one full year of ISTSS membership and conference attendance. Individuals may apply whether or not they are current ISTSS members. Awardees will also have the opportunity to apply for a renewal of up to 2 additional years dependent on level of engagement and participation, and the applicant’s specific circumstances.

Although terminology regarding race and ethnicity are social constructs that change over time, culture, and place, by Black we are referring to individuals of Sub-Saharan African descent (e.g. African-Americans, Afro-Europeans, Afro-Asians, Afro-Caribbean) and individuals from black racial groups of Africa. The term indigenous (also tribes, first peoples/nations, aboriginals, adivasi, janajati) refers to distinct social and cultural groups with ancestral ties to the lands and natural resources where they live or from which they have been displaced through colonization. These groups tend to have distinct social, economic or political systems, language, culture and beliefs from the dominant society. According to the World Bank, indigenous people are found in over 90 countries. 

Awardees receive:

  • One registration to the ISTSS Annual Meeting
  • The opportunity to review abstracts for the ISTSS Annual Meeting
  • One full year of ISTSS membership, which includes:
    • Access to publications, such as the Journal of Traumatic Stress (JTS) and the electronic, bi-monthly eNewsletter, StressPoints
    • Online tools such as validated assessment instruments and treatment manuals, and the Career Center
    • Networking and professional recognition, including connection to a global network of trauma experts
    • Opportunities to volunteer in committees and Special Interest Groups​ as part of a vibrant global organization of individuals committed to the understanding and treatment of traumatic distress

How to Apply

We are not currently accepting applications for this award. The application includes: 

  • A short statement (no more than one page in length) explaining your area of ‎professional or academic focus; why you would like to become an ISTSS member, or ‎why you would like to continue in ISTSS if you are currently a member; how ISTSS may ‎benefit your career; and how you anticipate contributing to ISTSS’s mission or how you ‎have contributed to date. ‎
  • A brief biography (two to three paragraphs in length), including information regarding ‎your self-identity as Black and/or Indigenous.
  • A CV.

Selection Process

The subcommittee will evaluate all completed applications on the basis of their potential contribution to the field of traumatic stress in research, teaching, clinical service, policy or advocacy. Applicants will also be evaluated on their potential for engagement with and potential for contributing to the mission of ISTSS.

For renewing applications, prior awardees should submit a brief statement (two or three paragraphs in length) describing their ongoing work in the area of traumatic stress and their engagement with the ISTSS (e.g., SIG membership, volunteer roles, conference attendance and presentation) during the time period of the award.