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The ISTSS 20th Annual Meeting takes place November 14–18 in New Orleans, with a conference theme of “War as a Universal Trauma.” Presentations in the war track will focus on the variety of populations affected by armed conflict—active duty personnel, veterans, civilian adults and children exposed to war trauma, aid workers, refugees and internally displaced persons—as well as the many types of war-related trauma such as combat, peacekeeping, terrorism and bioterrorism, torture, sexual trauma and other types of violence.

The conference, as always, will feature tracks on many aspects of traumatic stress. Some will cover clinical practice, assessment and diagnosis, and community programs and interventions. Others will address biological and medical research, and clinical and interventions research. Still others will be organized around prevention and early intervention, disaster-terrorism and mass trauma. Also there will be tracks on culture and diversity, public policy, and training and education.

Unique aspects of this year’s meeting include:

  • An increased emphasis on highly interactive poster sessions, which will run concurrently with oral presentations, allowing for expanded offerings and increased opportunities for presenting.
  • Partnerships with the Conference on Innovations in Trauma Research Methods (CITRM) and the Association for Advancement of Behavior Therapy (AABT), with conferences held respectively Nov. 17–18, and Nov. 18–21, providing opportunities for participants to present at all three conferences.
  • An added symposium on the longitudinal course of cortisol in normal, PTSD, and remitted individuals across the acutely traumatized, female child sexual abuse survivors, healthy elderly individuals and survivors of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
  • “Between Heaven and Earth,” a documentary film, which explores trauma experienced by members of the Palestine Red Crescent Society emergency medical teams.

Plenary presentations will focus on war and public health, military psychiatry, warfare and human rights, and multilevel preventive interventions following war. Chris Hedges of The New York Times will deliver the opening plenary address drawing on his book, War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, to explore why people and governments go to war.

Of major interest to those who provide care will be an array of pre- and post-meeting institutes, workshop-style presentations covering clinical topics such as group therapy, couples treatment for PTSD, gestalt and emotion focused treatment approaches, overcoming treatment roadblocks and failures, cognitive processing therapy for sexual abuse, pharmacotherapy of PTSD, and management of panic, phobias and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Child-focused institutes will address implementation of evidence-based treatments for children, cognitive-behavioral school-based interventions, and methods of helping children in medical settings. Other presentations will address resilience interventions, ethical issues in trauma work, mass disaster response and more.

Master clinician sessions will feature Amy Wagner presenting on application of dialectical behavior therapy to trauma-related problems; Sherry Falsetti addressing treatment of PTSD with panic attacks; and Kathy Shear demonstrating traumatic grief treatment. Expert clinical consultations will provide an opportunity to consult with Robert Pynoos on child traumatic stress, Arieh Shalev on hospital emergency room and terrorism response, and Richard Bryant on cognitive-behavioral treatment for acute stress disorder.

We look forward to seeing you and exchanging ideas at this highly anticipated international event. Go to www.istss.org/meetings/index.htm to read more about the meeting.