Letter From The President

On Responding to the Need for Greater Diversity within ISSTD

One of the important events at our annual conference is the “Town Hall Meeting”. This is an opportunity for everyone attending to comment on the state of our Society and the field of traumatology in general. This is an opportunity to comment on where we are going and where we would like to be. This year’s Town Hall Meeting presented a sobering observation with respect to the lack of diversity within our Society. As an International Society, we have worked to extend our welcome outside of North America; to encourage and embrace colleagues from around the globe. The observations at our Town Hall meeting challenges us to examine how there are different borders that needed to be crossed. How do we embrace and acknowledge other cultures and ethnicities? How do we welcome colleagues from other cultures as well as from other countries? Can we look within our own countries and our own selves to recognize blind spots and short-comings? To address this, ISSTD has taken a few firststeps. At our March Board meeting, the Directors voted to create a task force examining how trauma and dissociation is a public health issue. This task force is jointly chaired by Heather Hall and Michael Salter. After hearing the concerns expressed by so many at our Town Hall, Heather and Michael decided that issues of diversity are a key element for their task force to study. While the task force is just in the earliest stages of forming, I am excited to see what develops and what recommendations they will suggest to our Board of Directors. To further, push the issue of diversity to the forefront, the conference committee is looking to organize a panel discussion on promoting greater cultural awareness and ethnic diversity within our Society. Identifying key faculty and core issues is our immediate task at hand. Who will be invited to sit at the table? A greater challenge is to find ways to continue this focus and this energy past the first year. How does this become an on-going goal of our Society? How do we expand beyond physical/geographical borders? How can we better craft our invitation to other colleagues to join in our Mission? A Shameless Plug for Support: Our Treasurer and Webmaster, D. Michael Coy has been spearheading the movement to update the ISSTD website. His challenge is to bring our on-line public face into the 21st Century with a more responsive and user-friendly format allowing not only members, but guests from the general public as well as interested clinicians, scholars, and researchers to access state of the art information about dissociation, complex trauma, and all that ISSTD has to offer. The software, updates, and technical support does not come cheaply. To offset the cost of this critical revision, we have launched the 35 for the 35th Campaign. We are asking each of you to contribute $35 (or some variant thereof like $135 or $35.35 or $3,535.35) to make the needed changes a reality. We are able take donations on-line here: DONATE NOW! Thank you in advance for your help and your contributions. In closing, I encourage all members of our society to support the work of ISSTD, to reach out to colleagues, and friends, inviting everyone to join in our mission and vision.