Presidential Task Force & Standing Committees

Continuing Task Forces:  I DARE |  Refugee Mental Health | Medical Health | Assessment | Child Trauma |  Web-Based Resources | Male Health Involvement  | Complex PTSD 

Standing Committees: APA | Awards | Disaster Relief | Early Career Psychologist | Education | Fellows | Finance | Forensics | International | Liaisons | Nominations | Membership | Policy | Practice | Publications | Science | Social Media | Listerv | Monograph Series  | Student Affairs | Veterans | Webinar


Presidential Task Forces

I DARE (Inclusion, Diversity, Anti-Racism, and Equity) Task Force

Chair: Ayli Carrero Pinedo

APA Refugee Mental Health Resource Network Steering Committee: An APA Interdivisional Project

Chair: Elizabeth Carll

Forced migration due to wars, conflict, and persecution worldwide continues to unfold, with the number of people displaced within their country or having fled internationally has reached unprecedented levels recorded by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).  In response to this humanitarian crisis, an APA interdivisional initiative was developed to create a database of volunteer psychologists and mental health specialists as there did not appear to be a cadre of trained psychologists for services to the overwhelming numbers in need. The Network includes psychologists with experience working with refugee, immigrant, and IDP populations in the US and abroad, as well as those interested in training, and conducting research. The database also includes relevant organizations and agencies working with refugees and immigrant populations.  Webinars are provided for volunteers and others. This interdivisional project was initiated, in part, by an APA interdivisional grant (Divisions 56, 35, 52, 55). Additional Divisions are now collaborating and others are also welcome.  See Teaching and Training for more details.

Task Force on Addressing Trauma in General Medical Health Settings

Chair: Terri deRoon-Cassini

The impact that trauma can have on health has been well established; however, the incorporation of psychologists in medical settings to address trauma related issues and improve overall health has only now been developing. For example, there are only a few psychologists across the country who provide care to injured trauma survivors as integrated members of the medical team. The purpose of this task force is to evaluate the role of psychologists in multiple medical environments and develop job descriptions for psychologists in multiple medical departments. This will likely involve developing connections between APA Division 56 and those professional organizations (ie, American College of Surgeons) to discuss ways that psychologists could improve trauma focused care for specific populations of patients.

Task Force on Assessment of Trauma Sequelae

Chair: Judith Armstrong

This group will explore and identify the range of methods for assessment the sequelae of trauma in both children and adults, as well as assessment in international settings. A goal of this group is the development of comprehensive materials to guide psychologists conducting assessments in a range of settings.

Child Trauma Task Force

Co-Chairs: Julian Ford and Carla Stover

This Task Force will identify, and as needed, develop informational materials for pre-professional trainees, as well as practicing psychology clinicians and researchers. The information produced will be based on current empirical knowledge related to the screening/assessment and treatment/prevention for post-traumatic stress impairment and resilience in children and caregivers.  The task force will collaborate with Division 56 task forces and committees addressing Education and Training, Assessment of Trauma Sequelae, and Treatment of Complex Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in order to develop value-added guidance and resources for educators, practicing clinicians, and researchers who want to be informed about the latest developments in the traumatic stress field related to children (from infancy through adolescence) and caregivers (including kin, adoptive, foster, as well as birth parents and other primary caregivers). Resources from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network will also be accessed through task force members' active involvement in that Network as Center directors and lead faculty.  Informational materials for policymakers designed to increase awareness of and support for psychological services and research designed to better the lives of traumatized children and their caregivers and families also will be developed.

Division 56 has partnered withthe International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS), the International Socieity for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISST-D), and the American Professional Society on the abuse of Children (APSAC) to form the Inter-organizational Child Trauma Task Force, consisting of our Division task force co-chairs and the following members:

  • Sandra Rafman
  • Claudette "Claudia" Antuña
  • Amanda Zelechoski
  • Rachel Ann Wamser
  • Laura Captari

Task Force on Developing Web-Based Trauma Psychology Resources

Co-Chairs: Vanessa Simiola and Amy Ellis

This Task Force is responsible for executing a recently awarded Committee on Division/APA Relations (CODAPAR) grant in collaboration with Divisions 12 (Society of Clinical Psychology), 20 (Adult Development and Aging), 27 (Society for Community Research and Action: Division of Community Psychology), 33 (Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities/Autism Spectrum Disorders), 44 (Society for the Psychological Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues), 45 (Society for the Psychological Study of Culture, Ethnicity, and Race), and 53 (Society of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology) to create web-based, empirically-informed materials (e.g., printable fact sheets, videos, and suggested reading lists) on trauma and its impact in underserved health priority populations. These resources will be designed to serve as valuable resources for clinicians, researchers, and the public. This project will help to meet APA's goal of educating professionals and the public about psychology's role in health and well-being.

Task Force on Facilitating Male Trauma Survivors’ Meaningful Involvement in Health Research

Co-Chair: Christopher Anderson and Joan Cook

The goal of this task force is engage male sexual abuse survivors and researchers in a participatory and inclusive dialogue about health care research. Survivors and researchers will share their perspectives on important research topics, relevance of outcomes, how results can best be applied, and barriers to engagement.This project will generate relevant research priorities and testable questions with the intent to improve both the quality of research into male victimization issues and also the participation of male survivors in that research.

Task Force on Treatment of Complex Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Chair: Christine Courtois

This group is a collaborative effort with the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation. The goal of this task force is to provide practicing clinicians and other health professionals guidance on the treatment of complex posttraumatic conditions that result from repetitive and chronic interpersonal trauma over the lifespan, specifically but not limited to developmental trauma beginning in childhood. Watch the division listservs and social sites for announcements, as the guidelines will be available in 2016.

Theory & Practice

Disaster Relief Committee

Chair: Melissa Brymer

Disasters are violently destructive events that initiate various levels of acute, persistent, and chronic stress. Some proportion of those who are most affected are likely to develop symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder, as well as other mental health problems. This committee focuses on strengthening the capacity of the Division of Trauma Psychology and its members to provide evidence-informed psychological support to disaster survivors across a variety of situations and settings. Additionally, this includes access to scientifically sound information regarding the epidemiology of the psychosocial sequelae of disasters and the risk and protective factors associated with greater or lesser resilience.

Practice Committee

Chair: Vacant

This group is concerned with all aspects of treating the effects of psychological trauma and will monitor the state of the field, identify areas of need for training and research, funding and dissemination, and look for ways to help provide informational resources to Division members. This committee is currently working on a number of projects including a project with Division 35 on curricula about violence against women and children, inclusion of a complex trauma diagnosis in the DSM V in collaboration with other groups within the field of trauma treatment, writing a Monitor article on trauma, developing training videos on trauma through APA, creating a current best practice standards for trauma treatment.

Forensics/Correctional Committee

Co-Chairs: Vacant

Psychological trauma is overrepresented in clinical and forensic populations. Research findings on the adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), dissociation, neurological imaging, epigenetics, developmental trauma, complex trauma, and toxic stress have entered the legal arena. Hence, psychologists are increasingly offering trauma expertise in criminal, administrative, immigration, civil proceedings, correctional and post-correctional settings. Literature has established forensic psychology as a specialized area of practice that necessitates training. Unfortunately, much like trauma training in general, it is rare to find forensic training opportunities that are trauma-informed. Given the high prevalence of trauma, particularly complex presentations, in forensic samples, it is critical that Division 56 play a key role in guiding the conversation and education between two overlapping disciplines with large bodies of research and practice. Creating relevant training opportunities could help bridge the divide between forensic psychologists who may lack trauma expertise and trauma psychologists who may find themselves in court without much knowledge about forensic guidelines, research, trends, and practices.

The Forensics/Correctional Committee within Division 56 is focused on:

  1. informing and guiding Division 56 members on forensic and correctional guidelines, research, trends, and practices relevant to trauma psychology;
  2. identifying and disseminating information to students, practitioners, researchers, and educators;
  3. promoting and influencing trauma-informed policies within the legal arena; and
  4. creating partnerships with other disciplines (e.g., legal, judicial, law enforcement, etc.), institutions, organizations, and APA divisions to address research, funding, and dissemination of best practices in the assessment and treatment of trauma within forensic and correctional contexts.

International Committee

Chair: Elizabeth Carll

This committee insures that international issues are represented in division business and policies and fosters international collaboration and communication concerning trauma related issues including research, practice, training, and policy.

Liaisons to Other Divisions and Organizations

Chair: Vacant

This committee maintains liaisons to other trauma-related professional organizations, including but not limited to ISTSS and ISSTD.

  • Liaison from Division 20 (Adult Development and Aging) - Lisa Brown
  • Liaison from Division 35 (Society for the Psychology of Women) - Julii Green
  • Liaison from Division 39 (Psychoanalysis) - Tamara Greenberg
  • Liaison from Division 44 (Society for the Psychological Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues) - David Pantalone
  • Liaison from Division 45 (Society for the Psychology Study of Ethnic Minority Issues) - Cheryl Talley
  • Liaison from Division 48 (Society for the Study of Peace, Conflict, and Violence) - Judith Kuriansky
  • Liaison from APA Committee on Aging (CONA) - Joan Cook
  • Liaison from Committee on International Relations in Psychology - Elizabeth Carll
  • Liaison from Traumatic Stress Section of the Canadian Psychological Association (TSS-CPA) - Paul Frewen
  • Liaison from International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS) - Julian Ford
  • Liaison from International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD) - Paul Dell

Policy Committee

Chair: Diane Elmore

The mission of the APA Division 56 Public Policy Committee is to share the scientific and clinical expertise of the division membership and the broader trauma field with policy makers to help inform and promote appropriate and effective public policies related to psychological trauma. The Public Policy Committee has been working on a variety of federal policy issues related to psychological trauma in conjunction with the Public Interest Government Relations Office at APA. These efforts have included sharing information and resources with policy makers, drafting and reviewing legislative proposals, recommending trauma experts for consultation and presentations and meeting with congressional offices, federal agencies, and stakeholder organizations.

Research Committee

Science Committee

Chair: Constance Dalenberg

The Science Committee monitors the state of the field, identifies areas of need for research, and provides informational resources to Division members regarding scientific research on trauma. We will also provide guidance to Division 56 leadership on an as-needed basis. Our goals include working on ways to make the science of psychological trauma more available to the general public in a way that is accurate. These include working on Wikipedia entries on psychological trauma and related issues and on conceptualizing and selling a better federal funding structure for trauma research.

Committee on Meeting the Needs of Veterans in the Community

Co-Chairs: Sonya Norman and Jessica Hamblen

This task Force will work to identify specific knowledge, skills, and abilities recommended for effectively treating Veterans in the community. A goal of this task force is to develop a comprehensive list of resources for psychologists treating Veterans, including on-line trainings, educational materials, written and web-based materials to share with Veterans and their family members, and consultative resources.

Teaching & Training Committees

Education and Training Committee

Chair: Janna Henning

This committee encourages education and training at doctoral and post-doctoral levels in the science and practice of trauma studies, and oversees the creation of Continuing Education programs.

Webinar Committee

Chair: George Rhoades

This committee is responsible for planning and organizing the Division 56 webinar series. Please contact the chair if you have suggestions for a topic or to request an opportunity to present.

Publications Committees

Publications Committee

Chair: Vacant

This group develops content and standards for all of the division's publications:

  • Newsletter: Editor - Jonathan Clevland and Viann Nguyeng-Feng
  • Journal: Editor - Kathleen Kendall-Tackett | Co-Associate Editors - Jack Tsai, Zhen Cong, Sylvia Marotta-Walters, Sandra Mattar, Diane Elmore, Paul Frewen, and Tyson D. Bailey | Editorial Fellows - Annett Lotzin, Viann Nguyen-Feng, and Rachel Wamser-Nanney
  • Website: Editor - Kenneth J. Thompson

Social Media Committee

Co-Chairs: Xenia Barnes and Rebecca Rampe

The Social Media Committee develops and maintains the Division's social media presence, including Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Our goal is to communicate with members and engage with others who are interested in trauma. These channels will allow us to highlight current events regarding trauma, present highlights of work that Division members are doing in the field of trauma, and quickly communicate about events that are happening at the APA convention.


Manager: Rachel Wamser-Nanney

Monograph Series

Co-Chairs: Anne P. DePrince and Ann Chu

Convention & Awards Committees

APA Program Committee

2024 Program Chair: Chuck Benincasa

This committee is responsible for organizing the annual APA convention program for the division. This includes soliciting and reviewing submissions for the convention, developing the convention program, and planning suite programming.

Awards Committee

Co-Chairs: Tyson Bailey & Sravya Vajram

This committee develops criteria for awards, proposes new awards and creates processes for selecting the recipients of those awards, which are announced annually.

Fellows Committee

Chair: Priscilla Dass-Brailsford

The current committee consists of the following dedicated Division members:
Charles Figley
Bonnie Green
Melba Vasquez

Fellow status in APA is given to those who have made unusual and outstanding contributions to the field of trauma psychology. Their distinguished contributions are the foundation on which the future of trauma psychology is built.  Fellows make on-going contributions to science, practice, and public policy through activities in this Division and in the field of psychology. Applications for fellow status are coordinated by the Fellows Committee.

There are two types of Fellows Applications:  Initial Fellows & Current Fellows

Initial Fellows
APA members who are not Fellows of any APA division must meet APA Initial Fellow criteria, apply for Fellow Status according to APA procedures, and complete forms via the APA application portal below.

In addition to meeting APA Fellow criteria, applicants must meet two or more of the specific Division 56 Fellow criteria, listed below.

  1. Being a pioneer in the recognition and application of trauma psychology
  2. Making important contributions to the scholarly literature in the field of trauma psychology
  3. Producing consistently outstanding instructional or training programs that educate the next generation of trauma psychologists or developing important innovations in teaching or education in the field.
  4. Demonstrating consistently outstanding clinical work with the traumatized as recognized by international or national groups through citations, awards, and other methods of recognition.
  5. Demonstrating consistently outstanding public service relevant to trauma psychology over many years that might include (a) leadership within Division 56; (b) testimony about trauma psychology before courts and Congressional committees or government commissions; (c) service on review panels (e.g., NIH, NSF); or (d) public education/advocacy.
  6. Demonstrating leadership in the area of trauma psychology across science, education, policy, and practice internationally and/or nationally.

Division 56 requires that all new Fellow application materials (including three letters of recommendation from APA Fellows, at least one of whom must be a Division 56 Fellow) be submitted through the APA portal by October 1. This timeframe allows the Fellows committee to review all materials, make a recommendation, and forward completed application materials to APA in time to meet their deadline. We are aware that other websites have a incorrect deadline date listed, please note the deadline for submission is October 1

Current Fellows
If you are a current Fellow in another APA division, we ask that you write a letter describing how your work meets the above Division 56 Fellow criteria. We also ask for a CV and one (1) letter of recommendation from a current Division 56 Fellow (listed here).

Please submit these materials directly by e-mail to Priscilla Dass-Brailsford at  pd227(at)georgetown(dot)edu. We accept these applications on a rolling basis throughout the year.

We encourage all who are interested and qualified to apply!  Although self-nominations are welcome, if you know of someone who qualifies for Fellow status please encourage them to apply.  If you have any questions or need assistance with the application process please feel free to contact Priscilla Dass-Brailsford directly.

Membership Committees

Early Career Psychologist Committee

Chair: Maria Valgoi

This committee represents Division 56 to APA's Early Career Psychology Network, and coordinates ECP activities within Division 56. You can now join the Division 56 ECP Listserv. There are currently three subcommitees working on various projects related to professionals in their early career:

Membership Committee

Chair: Margo Jacquot

This committee is responsible for recruitment of members and processing applications. Please send any questions or comments about the membership process to

Student Affairs Committee

Chair: Amanda Acevedo

This committee created a nationwide network of fellow students with interests in trauma, as well as a forum in which we can participate in current academic conversations and events regarding cutting-edge work within the field of trauma. You can also join the Division 56 Student Listserv.

EC/Business Committees

Finance Committee

Chair: Barbara Niles

This committee deals with all budgetary matters for the Division.

Nominations and Elections Committee

The Past-President Dawn Hughes serves as chair of Nominations and Elections. Please contact that person if you are interested in any elected office in the Division. Nominations are due by January 15th of the year in which an election is held. For information about which offices are open in any given election, please check the Fall issue of the Newsletter.