Committee Update

Committee Update: Public Health Committee

The Public Health Committee, co-chaired by Michael Salter and Heather Hall, is seeking to expand the reach of the ISSTD into the public sector to address the social determinants of complex trauma. This committee originated as a Public Health Subcommittee back in 2018 and it became a full-fledged committee in 2020.

The impetus for the subcommittee was our (Michael and Heather’s) shared interest in the social inequalities that give rise to complex trauma and dissociation. We understood that those inequalities also make trauma-specialist care unaffordable and inaccessible to many marginalized communities and traumatized people. While the ISSTD has historically been focused on improving one-to-one clinical care, low income and marginalized people are often accessing health care in other settings. We wanted to explore how the ISSTD might contribute to trauma and dissociation care in diverse communities, as well as contribute to primary prevention and early intervention for those at increased risk of complex trauma and dissociative disorders.

Over the last five years, we have developed an intersectional public health framework that recognizes the contribution of inequality and discrimination to complex trauma and discrimination. We published our approach in the journal Trauma Violence Abuse in 2022 with the title “Reducing Shame, Promoting Dignity: A Model for the Primary Prevention of Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder” (Salter & Hall, 2022).

After this, the sub-committee evolved to become a fully-fledged Committee. The Committee has been meeting regularly to develop a proposal for a training program that seeks to expand on training and resources currently provided by the ISSTD by developing, piloting, and evaluating a service-level training focused on trauma-informed, dissociation-informed, violence-informed, shame-sensitive, dignity-affirming care. We are hoping this training will promote healthcare environments that traumatised people finding welcoming, understanding and flexible. The training will be a new edition to the Center for Advanced Studies offerings. We are excited to see this project evolve and will keep the ISSTD members posted on our progress.


Salter, M., & Hall, H. (2022). Reducing Shame, Promoting Dignity: A Model for the Primary Prevention of Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Trauma Violence Abuse, 23(3), 906-919.