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I would like to begin my first column as the new president of ISTSS by thanking everyone for giving me the opportunity to serve the society in this capacity. I am very excited about the coming year and looking forward to building upon the work that John Fairbank and the board have done the past year. I particularly want to thank John for working with me to allow a smooth handoff of administrations, including the very productive board meeting in San Antonio.

John has been a steady hand at the helm this past year and, with strong support from headquarters, has accomplished a great deal for the organization, including recent initiatives in the areas of international trauma training, the PTSD Alliance, and the publication of new public education brochures and the PTSD treatment guidelines. I thank him personally and on behalf of the organization for his excellent stewardship. The November meeting in San Antonio was one of ISTSS's most successful.

Approximately 900 people participated, making it the second-largest conference ever. John Fairbank and program chair Juesta Caddell did an excellent job with the meeting, in spite of space problems with meeting rooms. Congratulations to them for an excellent program and a successful conference.

I would like to take this time to introduce my newly formed executive committee. John Fairbank of course has the role of past president. John Briere, our new president elect, also joins the group. The vice president this year is Susan Solomon, treasurer is Danny Kaloupek, who is staying another year in this capacity, and secretary is Onno van der Hart. Please let us know your concerns and your suggestions in the upcoming year. Looking at the year ahead, our major task will be to keep things on track while improving our efficiency as a board. As John mentioned in an earlier column, the strategic planning meeting this past summer pointed to some organizational inefficiencies and lack of procedural clarity in some areas. Eve Carlson is overseeing the review of organizational policies and procedures in the coming year. As a board, we already have recommended a change in the mission statement of ISTSS, upon which we will be asking you to vote.

In addition to our many ongoing activities, we will have a few new or revitalized initiatives. This past year we voted to establish a separate Trauma Foundation, and we are presently in the process of recruiting trustees to guide its work. I have asked Onno van der Hart and Laurie Pearlman to head a group focusing on complex trauma, particularly the wide range of outcomes associated with repeated developmental trauma, with a goal of bringing together our knowledge about these outcomes and their treatment, recommending future directions. I have asked Linda Williams to head a committee to revitalize a diversity initiative, begun under Sandra Bloom's administration, in attempts to increase involvement of a more ethnically and racially diverse membership. These efforts will focus on membership recruitment and annual meeting planning. Merle Friedman and Matt Friedman will help us continue our international work - and expand it. They will oversee a group of representatives from affiliate organizations, from the newly reconstituted finance committee and from headquarters. They will address international structural issues - e.g., relationships with affiliates, dues structure and wider participation of trauma experts in developing countries - all of which are interrelated and should benefit from more coordination and integration. Susan Solomon will head up a Calendar Committee to help us plan annual meetings that adjoin those of sister organizations with which we share members and content, but that do not compete with those organizations. I will report about ongoing committees and task forces at a later time.

Finally, I want to announce that the 2001 annual meeting will be held in New Orleans, December 6-9. You already should have received the call for papers in the mail; abstracts are due March 15. The theme of the meeting, an apt follow-up to John Fairbank's meeting focusing on public health, is "reaching underserved trauma survivors through community-based programs." Mary Ann Dutton is program chair. Be sure to put the dates on your calendar and join us in the "Big Easy" in December.