Press Kit

The American Institute of Stress Department of Media Relations is AIS’s official communications link to local, national, and international media. The media/public relations staff supports The American Institute of Stress with centralized, coordinated communications, providing round-the-clock services and products for print, online and electronic media and is the official AIS institutional, fellow and staff link to news media.

The Media and Public Relations Staff are available to respond to journalists’ inquiries and requests. In addition to providing news releases and tip sheets, we also provide:

  • Photographs and digital images
  • Interview scheduling
  • Background information on research and fellows

The leadership and Fellowship of AIS is comprised of globally recognized experts in many areas of stress management, from Psychiatrists, Psychologists and other mental health practitioners to Cardiologists, Oncologists, and General Practitioners along with experts in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Combat Operational Stress (COS). Our press kit will provide you with background information on important stress-related health issues, as well as stories and opinions from the world’s elite physicians.

Please use any of the materials found on this website for the purpose of promoting The American Institute of Stress and its mission with proper attributes.  

AIS can help you develop stories and articles about:

  • Stress: America’s New Black Death
  • Stress and its relation to heart disease, cancer, and other health issues
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Combat Operational Stress
  • Stress in Youth
  • Workplace Stress
  • Cutting edge stress management techniques
  • Innovative, up to the minute, Stress Science and Research

If you require more or different information than is provided, please contact us.

If you would like to reprint any of the information found on this website, please contact us for permission and attribution guidelines. We also ask that you send us a copy or link.

Download a Fast Facts PDF >

  • American Institute of Stress (AIS) is a non-profit organization established in 1978 at the request of Hans Selye to serve as a clearinghouse for information on all stress-related subjects. AIS is the source of all science-based stress management information. Founding members included Paul Rosch, Linus Pauling, Alvin Toffler, Bob Hope, Michael DeBakey, Herbert Benson, Ray Rosenman, and other prominent physicians, health professionals, and lay individuals interested in exploring the multitudinous and varied effects of stress on our health and quality of life. The mission of AIS is to improve the health of the community and the world by setting the standard of excellence of stress management in education, research, clinical care, and the workplace. Diverse and inclusive, The American Institute of Stress educates medical practitioners, scientists, health care professionals, and the public; conducts research; and provides information, training and techniques to prevent human illness related to stress.
  • The Chairman of the Board of Directors is Tracey B. Kirsch
  • The President is Daniel L. Kirsch, PhD, DAAPM, FAIS
  • Executive Director is William C. Heckman, M.S, DAIS
  • Our Board of Directors, Advisory Board, and Fellows include individuals with expertise in a wide range of stress management specialties. Many are available for lectures, consultation or to serve as Expert Witnesses in Workers’ Compensation, FELA, and other litigation.
  • The American Institute of Stress Speakers Bureau is a free service provided for our health care colleagues, corporate partners, and media outlets throughout the United States. Many AIS Fellows across numerous clinical specialties are available to speak at Conferences, Special Workshops, Training Sessions, In-services, and other forums on a wide range of stress topics.
Statistic Verification
Source: American Psychological Association, American Institute of Stress, NY
Research Date: 7.8.2014
Top Causes of Stress in the U.S.
Cause Factors
Job Pressure Co-Worker Tension, Bosses, Work Overload
Money Loss of Job, Reduced Retirement, Medical Expenses
Health Health Crisis, Terminal or Chronic Illness
Relationships Divorce, Death of Spouse, Arguments with Friends, Loneliness
Poor Nutrition Inadequate Nutrition, Caffeine, Processed Foods, Refined Sugars
Media Overload Television, Radio, Internet, E-Mail, Social Networking
Sleep Deprivation Inability to release adrenaline and other stress hormones
U.S Stress Statistics Data
Percent of people who regularly experience physical symptoms caused by stress 77 %
Regularly experience psychological symptoms caused by stress 73 %
Feel they are living with extreme stress 33 %
Feel their stress has increased over the past five years 48 %
Cited money and work as the leading cause of their stress 76 %
Reported lying awake at night due to stress 48 %
Stress Impact Statistics
Percent who say stress has a negative impact on their personal and professional life 48 %
Employed adults who say they have difficulty managing work and family responsibilities. 31 %
Percent who cited jobs interfering with their family or personal time as a significant source of stress. 35 %
Perccent who said stress has caused them to fight with people close to them 54 %
Reported being alienated from a friend or family member because of stress 26 %
Annual costs to employers in stress related health care and missed work. $300 Billion
Percent who say they are “always” or “often” under stress at work 30 %
People who cited physical symptoms experienced the following
Fatigue 51 %
Headache 44 %
Upset stomach 34 %
Muscle tension 30 %
Change in appetite 23 %
Teeth grinding 17 %
Change in sex drive 15 %
Feeling dizzy 13 %
People who cited psychological symptoms experienced the following
Irritability or anger 50 %
Feeling nervous 45 %
Lack of energy 45 %
Feeling as though you could cry 35 %

“BUILDING RESILIENCE: The American Institute of Stress” is an overview that includes history, mission, and vision for the future. It appeared in EP Magazine in September 2013. Download the article >

Download AIS history as a PDF >

The American Institute of Stress is a non-profit organization established in 1978 at the request of Hans Selye to serve as a clearinghouse for information on all stress-related subjects. Other founding members included Linus Pauling, Alvin Toffler, Bob Hope, Michael DeBakey, Herbert Benson, Ray Rosenman, and other prominent physicians, health professionals, and lay individuals interested in exploring the multitudinous and varied effects of stress on our health and quality of life.

Stress has become such an ingrained part of our vocabulary and daily existence, that it is difficult to believe that our current use of the term originated only a little more than 50 years ago when it was essentially “coined” by Hans Selye. How this came to pass because of a serendipitous laboratory accident is interesting, but not nearly as fascinating as the story of its discoverer, Hans Selye.

Hans Selye (Selye János in Hungarian), was born in Komarno, Slovakia (at that time Komárom, Hungary) in 1907. Selye attended school at a Benedictine monastery, and since his family had produced four generations of physicians, he entered the German Medical School in Prague at the age of 17, where he graduated first in his class, and later earned a doctorate in organic chemistry. As a medical student, Selye observed that patients suffering from different diseases often exhibited identical signs and symptoms. They just “looked sick”. This observation may have been the first step in his recognition of “stress”. He later discovered and described the General Adaptation Syndrome, a response of the body to demands placed upon it. The Syndrome details how stress induces hormonal autonomic responses and, over time, these hormonal changes can lead to ulcers, high blood pressure, arteriosclerosis, arthritis, kidney disease, and allergic reactions. His seminal work “A Syndrome Produced by Diverse Nocuous Agents” was published in 1936 in Nature. Selye’s multi-faceted work and concepts have been utilized in medicine and in almost all biological disciplines from endocrinology to animal breeding and social-psychology.

Selye spent a significant time of his life in Hungary, in Czechoslovakia, in the USA, and in Canada. I first met Selye in 1949, when he was writing his monumental tome “Stress”. He was already internationally regarded as one of the world’s leading authorities on endocrinology, steroid chemistry, experimental surgery, and pathology. Selye once said that he never felt he really had any nationality of his own but also confided that he was most proud of his Magyar Hungarian heritage. Selye’s average workday was 10 to 14 hours, including weekends and holidays. He habitually got up around 5:00 A.M. or earlier, took a dip in the small pool in the basement of his house, and then rode his bicycle six miles to work.

Selye probably received more awards than any other physician (including the highest order of Canada), but not the Nobel Prize, although he was nominated for it several times. Many of his 40 books and over 1700 publications became bestsellers all over the world. Selye died in 1982 in Montreal, Canada; his influence on the scientific community is unbaiting and his work contributed to a better scientific and popular understanding of the disease and its causes. Advances in stress research have always been a function of the level of our knowledge of biochemistry and physiology. Much of what Selye believed and proposed was not entirely correct. He was unaware of a host of other components that were subsequently demonstrated to be important instruments in the stress orchestra. His real legacy can be summed up by what he often reminded me: theories don’t have to be correct – only facts do. Many theories are of value simply because of their heuristic value, i.e., they encourage others to discover new facts, which then lead to better theories.

Although Selye was fluent in at least eight languages, including English, and could converse in another half dozen, his choice of “stress” to describe the non-specific response syndrome he discovered, was unfortunate. He had used “stress” in his initial letter to the Editor of Nature in 1936, who suggested that it be deleted since this implied nervous strain and substituted alarm reaction. He was also unaware that stress had been used for centuries in physics to explain elasticity, the property of a material that allows it to resume its original size and shape after having been compressed or stretched by an external force. As expressed in Hooke’s Law of 1658, the magnitude of an external force, or stress, produces a proportional amount of deformation, or strain, in a malleable metal. Selye several times that had his knowledge of English been more precise, he would have gone down in history as the father of the “strain” concept.

This created considerable confusion when his research had to be translated into foreign languages. There was no suitable word or phrase that could convey what he meant since he was really describing strain. In 1946, when he was asked to give an address at the prestigious Collège de France, where Bernard and Pasteur had been friendly rivals, the academicians responsible for maintaining the purity of the French language struggled with this problem for several days, and subsequently decided that a new word would have to be created. Apparently, the male chauvinists prevailed, and le stress was born, quickly followed by el stress, il stress, lo stress, der stress in other European languages, and similar neologisms in Russian, Japanese, Chinese and Arabic. Stress is one of the very few words that are preserved in English in languages that do not use the Roman alphabet. The closest Chinese word to signify stress is written as two characters as illustrated below and can be translated as Crisis. The upper character represents DANGER. The lower character represents: OPPORTUNITY

Finding an acceptable definition of stress was a problem that haunted Selye his entire life. As usual, “The Greeks had a word for it.” Twenty-four centuries previously, Hippocrates had written that disease was not only pathos (suffering) but also ponos (toil), as the body fought to restore normalcy. While ponos might have sufficed, the Greeks settled for stress. Because it was clear that most people viewed stress as some unpleasant threat, Selye had to create a new word, “stressor”, in order to distinguish between stimulus and response.

We customarily use stress as a variant or shortened form for distress. However, it can also refer to pleasurable stimuli or events, which Selye labeled “eustress”. Winning a race or an election can be just as stressful as losing, or even more so. Sudden death can follow news of the unexpected death of a loved one, but also occurs in healthy young brides overcome by joy and excitement on their wedding day. Thus, stress is not a useful word for scientists, because, it often cannot be adequately defined, much less measured. Nevertheless, it somehow best embraces the variegated phenomena that fall under the broad heading of mind-body relationships, and will not likely be replaced by any other word or phrase that is more meaningful.

When Hans Selye was asked by reporters what stress was, he often replied: “Everyone knows what stress is – but nobody really knows.

The AIS brochure includes membership information, history, and mission.

Download brochure > 

Executive Director
William C. Heckman, M.S, NBCT, DAIS

Chairman of The Board
Tracey B. Kirsch

AIS President
Daniel L. Kirsch, PhD, DAAPM, FAIS

Dr. Kirsch is available for interview. Below are some sample interview questions for each. Both can speak on a wide variety of topics beyond those listed here. These shortlists give an introductory example of the kind of interview that they typically provide.

Sample Interview Questions- Kirsch


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