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This first 2022 SIG Spotlight shares some of the SIG transitions and celebrations that are occurring. First, the hat of the Board Liaison of SIGs has been tossed from Dr. Maureen Allwood (New York, USA) to Dr. Christian Kristensen (Porto Alegre, Brazil). Dr. Allwood has served as an ISTSS Board Member for six years and as the SIG Liaison for the past three years.

Dr. Kristensen is now in his third year as an ISTSS Board Member and is eager to continue to support the SIG Leadership as they facilitate ISTSS members’ specific trauma interests.  Dr. Kristensen is Professor of Psychology at the Graduate Program in Psychology, and Dean of Graduate Studies, Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil (PUCRS).  He is also the Director of the Center for Studies and Research in Traumatic Stress (NEPTE-PUCRS). With 25 active SIGs covering traumatic stress interests from theories to technology, substance use to sleep disorders, and justice to genomics, Dr. Kristensen will rely heavily on his organizational and administrative talents, as well as his vast knowledge of the trauma field.

In preparation for this transition and in response to a number of questions about the structure and function of the SIGs, the job descriptions for both the SIG Chairs and Board Liaison were updated. That takes us to the second transition. The changeover of SIG Chairs will now take place on the same date for all SIG groups. We identified February 1st as the annual date for changes because it will allow new Chairs to begin their roles before conference submissions are due, and it will allow outgoing Chairs the time to facilitate smooth transitions following the annual meeting. There continues to be no term limit for SIG Chairs. However, Chairs are encouraged to consider a succession plan long before they intend to resign their position. One recommended strategy is to identify a Co-Chair at least a year in advance, who would later become the Chair.

A third transition is the increase in SIG meetings during the pandemic. Through perseverance and tenacity, many SIGs are now using virtual meetings to remain connected outside of the annual meeting. With conference submissions approaching, virtual platforms might be particularly helpful for collaborations, including cross-country collaborations. These virtual meeting platforms have been crucial as SIGs strive to meet their stated purpose—which is to provide members with a forum for communication, networking, and interaction about specific topic areas related to traumatic stress throughout the year. SIGs also provide a means of personal and professional involvement in the activities of the Society.

As the hat has been tossed and received, I will close by sharing that it has been such a pleasure serving as the Board Liaison to SIGs over the past three years. As a collective we were able to develop webinars, newsletters, and other educational materials for ISTSS members. We have established and formalized a number of guidelines, have established an annual meeting of all SIG Chairs, and have launched and continued this Spotlight column in StressPoints. I will continue in the role of contributing editor for the Spotlight articles and I look forward to continued SIG connections and celebrations.

About the Author 

Maureen Allwood, PhD, is an 18-year ISTSS member and a Professor of Psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York. She is also an Adjunct Associate Professor, at Heilbrunn Department of Population and Family Health, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University Irving Medical Center, and a founding member and Co-Chair of the Trauma and Justice SIG.