ADAA reached a crossroads last year with the untimely passing of Jerilyn Ross, our president and one of the founders. We had to weigh carefully what it means to carry on her legacy in an organization with a rich history of advocacy, education, and science
Our greatest strength is bringing together clinicians, basic and clinical researchers, and consumers. It is also one of our biggest challenges. This broad representation across disciplines is unique among mental health organizations.
We heard from members during the strategic planning process in 2009 and we incorporated these ideas, values, and suggestions into the plan. To broaden engagement and involvement of members, the Board of Directors realigned the governance, leadership, and volunteer structure.
ADAA is strengthened by our members: professionals who provide clinical services and conduct research across a wide range of disciplines; students enrolled full-time in social work, psychology, and medical training programs; and our newest member category for trainees, postdoctoral fellows, and residents. Individuals affected by anxiety and stress-related disorders and their loved ones connect with ADAA for resources, education, and referrals and support the association through donations.
The revision of ADAA’s governance structure will be visible in many ways. The Board of Directors established a leadership-succession plan in which volunteer officers serve two-year terms. The officer positions are President, President-Elect, Immediate Past President, Secretary, and Treasurer. Open positions will be filled through a call to members with an eye toward maintaining a balance across disciplines. This multidisciplinary approach is so central to ADAA’s vision that it was incorporated into the bylaws.
To maintain a growing and dynamic organization, the Board of Directors created new opportunities for members to become involved with ADAA. In addition to the Annual Conference Committee, new standing committees are open to all members to join. 
Providing a forum to nurture networking and meeting others with similar interests continues to be a critical role for ADAA. To further these connections, ADAA has created special interest groups (SIGs)  that allow members to form smaller communities within ADAA.
Promoting careers and professional development has been a central focus of ADAA for more than 12 years. ADAA awards support junior faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and students.
The Career Development Travel Award and the recently established Donald F. Klein Early Investigator Award offer mentoring and networking opportunities. Through our unique partnerships with ABCT and ACNP, Travel Award winners may also present their research at one of these meetings.
While it takes the efforts of many members to review applications, Jim Abelson, MD, PhD, and Lori Zoellner, PhD, have spearheaded this effort in recent years.
Three new awards recognize the accomplishments of our members and acknowledge their commitments to ADAA, as well as to our vision to increase awareness and education about anxiety disorders. The Board was thrilled to present these awards along with the research awards at the opening session of the annual conference:
Advancing science and clinical care is central to ADAA and the vision of its founders. In supporting science and partnering to enhance translation, ADAA leads the way for earlier diagnosis, better treatment, prevention, and cure.
Depression and Anxiety, ADAA’s official journal, offers an outstanding platform to present and disseminate research. The annual conference and webinars offer access to high-quality continuing education, training, and dissemination. Advocating for a cure for these disorders is our ultimate goal, which is attainable through the support of science and research.
Educating the public about anxiety and related disorders remains a core activity for ADAA. From brochures to web content, videos to podcasts, ADAA offers expert information on anxiety disorders and comorbid conditions, including depression, eating disorders, headaches, sleep disorders, IBS, fibromyalgia, and many more. Initiatives such as National Stress Øut Week and our partnership with Active Minds, Suicide Prevention Awareness Network, and OCD Chicago on college campuses are examples of our successful efforts.
Finding ways to talk about anxiety disorders, stress, and related illnesses is key to ending stigma. We know that early diagnosis and intervention are critical to preventing the onset of other disorders. We also know that anxiety often co-occurs with other conditions and has an impact on their outcomes.
ADAA will continue to make sure the public knows and understands this, too. It will take a concerted effort to help the more than 40 million adults and children recognize that anxiety disorders are real, serious, and very treatable.
ADAA needs your involvement to accomplish these goals. You are essential to our success. We want to hear your ideas. We encourage you to become involved. We invite you to engage with leaders. Together, we can expand awareness about anxiety disorders, inform and inspire the next generation of researchers and clinicians, and challenge the leadership to think critically, strategically, and creatively about how to disseminate treatment, translate research, and improve access to care.
We have balanced recent economic and leadership shifts. We have adapted and will continue to build a stronger organization to serve the current and future generations. We thrive because you see ADAA as relevant and valuable. A vibrant organization, ADAA will build bridges and improve the lives of people suffering from anxiety and stress-related disorders.
We want to thank you for your support and for believing in the vision that an organization can be diverse and incorporate patient education, advocacy, clinician training, and research.
Our mission remains: To promote the prevention, treatment, and cure of anxiety and stress-related disorders through advocacy, education, training, and research.