🚧 Website Maintenance in Progress: Thank you for visiting! We are currently in the process of enhancing our website to serve you better. Please check back soon for our new and improved website.

While things are usually slow over the summer (at least in the Northern Hemisphere I should add), I am grateful that the various ISTSS committees and task forces have been working hard on proposing plans to implement recommendations stemming from our Membership Engagement Task Force and Data Committee which conducted the Membership Survey.

Again, many thanks to all those of you who took the time to complete the Membership Survey last year! A summary of results is here. While I am glad to report that a vast majority of you (70%-90%) believe that ISTSS effectively promotes excellence in research and clinical practice (Strategic Goal 1), the health and resilience of people and communities globally (Strategic Goal 3), and innovations in the field (Strategic Goal 4), the survey also identified areas to improve. In particular, it was noted that access to volunteer opportunities and ethnic, racial, and sexual orientation diversity in the organization could be improved (Strategic Goal 2). Similarly, there was room for improvement concerning public health, translation, and policy and advocacy (Strategic Goal 1) and responsiveness to members and stakeholders from many different nations (Strategic Goal 2).

ISTSS is already taking steps to address diversity issues, as I indicated in July, and committees are working actively to implement recommendations from the Membership Engagement Task Force, including increasing the visibility of volunteer opportunities on our website’s homepage as well as extending the “Conversation and Consultation” experiment beyond the Annual Meeting (i.e., all year long).

While Strategic Goal 1, “Research and Clinical Excellence,” is obviously at the core of our organization, ISTSS has since its inception also been committed to policy and advocacy. In a time when data and even facts are increasingly disregarded, it is all the more critical that the ISTSS educate policymakers across the world and promote evidence-based policies. This is not to say that the ISTSS members and other scientist colleagues should rule the world (although I do sometimes wonder), but that we play our part as an international and diverse organization that can promote science to inform political decisions. Global issues including armed conflicts, terrorism, displaced populations and global warming can only be successfully addressed by concerted international efforts. I believe that ISTSS is in fact in a unique position to promote (and even lead) such concerted international efforts as an organization that can leverage its own experience in welcoming individuals from diverse ethnic, racial, national and cultural backgrounds, and that can also speak above local, regional and national interests, on the global stage. In other words, if not ISTSS, then who?