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It is difficult to believe that half a year has passed since I filled the role of ISTSS president. The society has been very busy. The mid-year board meeting was held in May in conjunction with the ESTSS biannual ECOTS conference in Edinburgh, Scotland. At that conference, Ulrich Schnyder stepped down as ESTSS president and Bas Schreuder filled the position as new president. Congratulations to Bas; we look forward to working with him over the next two years. The new president of ASTSS, Paddy Burges Watson, also joined us at the board meeting. We look forward to working with him as well.

The conference was exciting and well-attended, and the board meeting was very productive. The board moved forward with the strategic planning activities by reviewing and ratifying the priorities set by the planning task force, composed of John Fairbank, John Briere and me. Goals that the task force set last summer include increasing financial resources, increasing and diversifying membership, clarifying and refining structure and governance, increasing and enhancing programs, products and services for members, and improving advocacy for traumatic stress treatment and research.

From ISTSS headquarters, Steve Ketchum, program director, has been working with the board to define objectives for each goal and to define specific tasks to accomplish these goals. Some objectives already have been accomplished this year, especially in the area of financial stabilization. The finance committee's review and revision (increase) of our dues and conference rates (see Winter 2001 StressPoints), as well as the development of new budgeting strategies, have allowed for a more optimistic budget projection for the rest of this year and next year. Fundraising activities also will increase and broaden in scope.

Thanks to Danny Kaloupek, chair of the Finance Committee, and members Susan Solomon, Rachel Yehuda, Stuart Turner, Paula Schnurr, and Executive Director Greg Schultz for their work the past six months. Thanks also to the Fundraising Committee - Russell Jones, Eve Carlson, Rachel Yehuda, Mary Ann Dutton and Stuart Turner - for their work in supporting the upcoming conference in December.

The establishment of the Trauma Foundation by the ISTSS board is under way, based on the efforts of Rachel Yehuda and her Foundation Development Task Force. The foundation will place high priority on supporting consumer-driven projects in traumatic stress, including issues of importance to survivors, and projects that address strategies for prevention and healing.

As part of the strategic planning follow-up and in relation to the Trauma Foundation's mission, the board had the opportunity to discuss again how to be more proactive in distributing information to health professionals, consumers and the media about the impact of traumatic stressors, especially on vulnerable populations, and strategies for prevention and treatment.

Over the years the board has struggled trying to determine whether to respond to stories or events in the popular or professional press that would benefit from a more informed perspective on trauma - and if so, how best to do it. Some of these issues have been discussed in "What Is ISTSS's Advocacy Role?" in the Winter 2001 StressPoints. When to respond - and whether and how to speak as an organization rather than an individual - continue to be difficult challenges. However, board members agree that a more proactive stance, including the development of "fact sheets" and other general and specific information easily available through the Web site and other media is warranted. This work began with the pamphlets developed by the Public Education Committee (posted on the ISTSS Web site and available through the PTSD Alliance and from ISTSS). The PE Committee, headed by Laurie Pearlman and Ed Varra, will explore other ways of reaching a wider audience.

Other topics of discussion at the board meeting included the following: the work of the Annual Meeting Task Force, headed by Patti Resick, which has been developing suggestions for changes to the annual meeting that will increase its efficiency and appeal; a report on the development of ethics guidelines under Ethics Committee Chair Elana Newman; and the Special Interest Groups, coordinated by Barbara Rothbaum and Greg Leskin. I also would like to thank the Nominations Committee, led by Chris Courtois and John Fairbank, for their work in producing an excellent slate of board members (ballot included in the mailing with this issue of StressPoints), as well as two very capable individuals running for president-elect - Onno van der Hart and Frank Putnam. Please take the time to vote for president-elect and board members.