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The National Institute of Mental Health has approved funding for a five-year project to support an annual Conference on Innovations in Trauma Research Methods (CITRM). The authors of the application and investigator team directing the grant are Lynda King and Daniel King, both from the National Center for PTSD and Boston University; Jeffrey Sonis, the University of North Carolina Medical School; and Elisa Triffleman, The Public Health Institute, Oakland, California, and Yale University School of Medicine. Supplemental funding is provided by the National Center for PTSD Executive Branch in White River Junction, Vermont, and conference logistics are being handled by the Boston VA Research Institute Inc.

The idea for a conference devoted specifically to research methods (rather than trauma research content) arose from the activities of ISTSS's Research Methodology Special Interest Group (RM-SIG), which has sponsored a number of methods-oriented institutes and workshops in recent years. Evaluations of prior RM-SIG-sponsored trainings and needs assessments from group members provided valuable pilot data for the grant application. The purposes of CITRM are to strengthen the methodological rigor of trauma research, develop creative solutions to design and analysis issues unique to trauma research, enhance the training of novice researchers, enhance diffusion of innovative methods from other fields, and explore ethical dilemmas and possible solutions in trauma research. The two-day conference will be held yearly, immediately prior to or after the ISTSS annual meeting, at the same site. The first conference, planned for 2004 in New Orleans, has as its theme "Methodological Issues in Addressing Mass Disaster and Terrorism."

CITRM will be directed toward researchers at all levels. Each conference will include an Advanced Design and Methods Workshop, a Statistics Workshop, and an Ethics Workshop. In addition, each conference will feature a Methodological "Think Tank," in which experts in research methods will attempt to develop a solution to a thorny dilemma in trauma research, and a Dissection of Innovative Studies session, in which a research group that used a novel technique will be invited to explain why and how the strategy was implemented. There will be formal and informal networking opportunities and a yearly Career Issues Panel for novice researchers. CITRM has received the endorsement of the ISTSS senior leadership and invitations to serve on a conference advisory board from a distinguished group of scholars from diverse disciplines with expertise in research methods.

Additional details on program content and registration will be announced shortly. Planning sessions will begin at this year's ISTSS annual meeting in Chicago--the CITRM investigator team invites ISTSS members, especially RM-SIG members, to serve on subcommittees. Contact Lynda King at lking@world.std.com if you have suggestions or wish to be involved.