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On November 14-17, 2004, the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies will hold its 20th annual meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA. In recognition of this important anniversary, the meeting will explore a theme of great international relevance: war as a universal trauma. To many trauma professionals, the topic of war trauma (including armed conflict) conjures up images of soldiers or veterans. In fact, war affects not only combatants but also the men, women and children in whose country the fighting takes place, exposing them to danger and dislocation, and sometimes destroying the institutions and infrastructure of their societies.

A key aim of the conference programming is to make the content relevant to all attendees, even those who do not focus on war in the scope of their work. For example, although there are unique issues for women who are sexually assaulted in inner cities vs. women who are sexually assaulted in war, there are important commonalities too. Exploring the differences and similarities can enhance our understanding of sexual assault in general, and in specific settings. As in past meetings, there also will be presentations on topics other than the meeting theme. Individuals are encouraged to submit proposals that are consistent with the meeting theme, but proposals on all topics in the field of traumatic stress are welcome.

There are several unique aspects of the meeting. One is an increased emphasis on posters as a presentation format. Posters are a very common format at meetings around the world, and for good reason--the opportunity for interaction provides a stimulating context that can benefit new and experienced investigators alike. Posters are efficient also. Increased poster submissions will allow for acceptance of additional proposals. Every year, a number of good proposals are rejected because of lack of space-we're hoping to change this by placing more emphasis on poster submissions. Posters will run concurrently with oral presentations and, to the extent possible, will be grouped according to themes. Even if you've never presented a poster, please consider submitting a proposal to ISTSS this year.

Another unique aspect of the 2004 meeting is a partnership with the Association for Advancement of Behavior Therapy (AABT), which is holding its 28th annual meeting at the same hotel as ISTSS in New Orleans, November 18-21. ISTSS and AABT are collaborating to present two days of Post-Meeting Institutes that will be featured instead of the usual Pre-Meeting Institutes. The Post-Meeting Institutes will be held November 17-18, immediately following the ISTSS 20th Annual Meeting at the conference hotel, the Hilton New Orleans Riverside, and immediately preceding AABT's annual meeting. Also enriching this week of trauma training, the Conference on Innovations in Trauma Research Methods (CITRM) will convene in New Orleans November 17-18. (See article about CITRM for details.)

We hope you will join us for a stimulating meeting that will inform your practice, research and/or training activities.