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Submission Guidelines

Note: Title text for all presentations is limited to 200 characters (25 words).

With the exception of Pre-Meeting Institutes (PMIs), all abstract text is limited to 1,400 characters including spaces (approximately 200 words). PMI abstract text is limited to 2,800 characters including spaces (approximately 400 words).

Overall Suggestions

The Program Chairs strongly recommend that multiple institutions be represented in panels and symposia, including representation of multiple independent research projects (as opposed to a series of presentations drawn from a single data source or close group of collaborators). It is also acceptable for a given presentation within a symposium to integrate multiple studies and findings. We also prioritize presentations that incorporate presenters at multiple career stages (i.e., a mix of students and senior presenters), as well as reaching out to individuals whose discipline may be underrepresented at ISTSS (e.g., economic, public policy, etc.). Furthermore, we have a strong interest in panels and symposia that “reach across the aisle.” We would like to create a social norm that it is acceptable to reach out to colleagues whose positions and interpretations of data differ significantly from your own. Presenting a broad range of views and opportunity for diverse perspectives are instrumental to the health of the society.

Presentation Types

Pre-Meeting Institute (PMI)

Institutes are full- or half-day sessions that provide opportunities for intensive training on topics integral to the conference program, presented by leaders in the field. Submissions must specify the level of presentation (introductory, intermediate or advanced) and summarize the evidence for the material to be presented. Priority will be given to courses that present material for which there is clear empirical support. Pre-Meeting Institutes will be presented live. 


A symposium is a session that includes a group of four sequential presentations, each related to the overall theme of the symposium. A submission includes a brief outline of the overall submission topic, along with separate submission of the component parts of the symposium. All symposia should, at the time of submission, include data which has not yet been published. Symposium presentations will be selected for live or pre-recorded presentations.

Preference will be given to symposia with four speakers; however, we encourage creativity in the roles these presenters assume. The following serve as examples:

  • A symposium may include a chair, who provides an overview to a complex topic (for example, epigenetics), followed by three data-focused presentations. If that approach is taken, the role that the chair will play in framing the discussion should be noted as such in the symposium overview submitted for review.
  • A chair may serve as a non-presenting chair, providing brief introductions and time-keeping, but with four other individuals presenting their work (and thus four presentations submitted alongside the symposium overview), or with three presenters and a discussant.
  • A chair may also serve as a presenter, with three other presenters (and again, with four presentation abstracts submitted).

It is at the symposium chair’s discretion whether they choose to include a discussant, but if a discussant is included, significant time should be allotted for them to fulfill their role.

Please do not hesitate to contact the conference chairs to inquire about whether your symposium configuration would work well. Our goal is provide a forum for a broad range of presenters while allowing for time to deeply engage in material. 

Panel Presentation

A panel is a session that includes three to five participants including an optional discussant discussing a common theme, issue or question. Panels may include short statements during which panelists outline diverse or similar approaches to the same question. Panels are typically more interactive than symposia, involving active discussion and debate among the panelists. Panel presentations will be selected for live or pre-recorded presentations.

Workshop Presentation

A workshop is an instructional session that aims to help participants increase their understanding and skill in a particular area of interest. Such sessions may include active involvement of the audience. Priority will be given to workshops that present material for which there is clear empirical support. Workshops will be presented live. 

Case Study Presentation

A case study is a session that uses material from a single or a set of cases to illustrate clinical, theoretical, or policy issues. These sessions may involve the audience in discussion of the case material presented. Case study presentations will be selected for live or pre-recorded presentations.

Flash Talk Presentation

Individual five-minute presentations on a topic related to traumatic stress, typically including the presentation of research data. Flash talks will be presented live in a grouping of talks by track with a moderator. 

Poster Presentation

Individual presentation in a poster format on a topic related to traumatic stress, typically including the presentation of research data. Posters will be presented in PDF format. 

Multi-Media Presentation

Session involving presentation of a segment of film, video, music, drama, literature, artwork or other forms of media relevant to traumatic stress, along with discussion. Multi-Media presentations will be presented live. 

Participation Limits (Two Submissions Per Person)

To promote participation by a wide range of presenters, individuals are limited to two abstracts being submitted that indicate they have a presenting role. Sessions in which an individual acts in multiple roles (e.g., presenter and chair and/or discussant) count once. This limit does not include keynote, plenary addresses, Pre-Meeting Institutes or poster presentations. It also does not include abstracts indicating a co-authorship role only or oral presentations in which the individual’s only roles is as a non-presenting chair or discussant.


  • Presentations should be original contributions and that any presentation concerning work that has been presented elsewhere should provide new information or a new perspective relative to the previous presentation(s).
  • Publication of the work, such as in a journal, prior to the date of abstract submission (not the abstract submission deadline) is prohibited. This policy applies to symposia presentations, panels, papers and cases, but does not apply to training sessions (workshops and PMIs) or forums, which may replicate presentations at other conferences or past ISTSS meetings, largely unchanged.
  • Proposal descriptions must be sufficiently detailed to allow the relevance, originality and feasibility to be judged.
  • Incomplete proposals (draft status) will not be considered.
  • Live presentations will be delivered over a virtual platform. 
  • Pre-recorded presentations will be recorded through the virtual platform with the support of ISTSS staff.
  • All live presentations will be recorded for asynchronous viewing. 


Competition for oral presentations is high; therefore, take the time to enter the best submission possible. Keep in mind that many high quality proposals must be turned away simply due to lack of space. For examples of model and problematic oral presentation proposals, click here.

Review Process

Submissions are rated for rigor (scientific, clinical or intellectual), relevance for ISTSS members and consistency with the meeting theme. Training presentations (workshops and Pre-Meeting Institutes) also are rated for presenter qualifications and usefulness of the training objectives in the clinical or research work of ISTSS members. Symposia, panels and cases also are rated on importance of the topic, scope of coverage of the topic, and diversity of presenters. Proposal descriptions must be sufficiently detailed to allow evaluation of these criteria. Symposia submissions will be reviewed and accepted or rejected in total, so uniformly high quality and detail across presentations are important.

CME Requirements

Click here for an explanation of speaker requirements related to commercial relationships.

Presentation Roles

Click here to read information on presentation roles. 

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