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ISTSS needs your help in creating and establishing a new section of ISTSS which will serve Latin America. We hope to develop a network to connect the professionals of the region who work with trauma. This network could be an affiliated component society of ISTSS. Latin America has a rich history of work in trauma, with important knowledge to be shared within its own countries and among the rest of the world. We need to understand PTSD concepts with Latin perspectives on theory and treatment. And in the United States, Latin Americans are becoming an ever more significant segment of the population.

Obvious obstacles include language and money. ISTSS meetings have been primarily in English and expensive to attend, though scholarships have been made available. The Latin American section of ISTSS could be conducted in Spanish and/or Portugese.

The tasks are numerous. Is the ISTSS well-known in South and Central America? How do we tell colleagues about the organzation? A translation of the ISTSS introductory brochure has been started. It must be put into a usable form. Contacts with other mental health professional organziations could be made. The Internet is another form of contact to be explored. If enough people are interested, there would be reason to consider multilingual meetings and/or literature. If we had a newsletter like StressPoints translated into Spanish, researchers from many counties would be able to contribute and exchange ideas. Perhaps in the future, meetings could be held somewhere in South or Central America which would be more accessible to others from the region.

The other current participants in this initiative are Drs. Frida Spiwak in Colombia, Stephanie Fastlicht in Mexico, and Graciela Rodriguez in Argentina. The short-term goal is to gather enough people to charter a new section. Where we go from there will depend on the needs and creativity of the participants. There is no point in doing this as a one-way outreach. The purposes of such a network will have to be derived from the goals, needs, and resouces of its members. A Latin American ISTSS has the potential to share knowledge, overcome geographic and economic isolation, and contribute to the relief and prevention of trauma suffering.

The 1999 ISTSS meetings will be held in Miami, Florida, one of North America's primary gateways to the rest of the Western Hemisphere. This will afford us a unique opportunity to connect with our neighbors. There are many current members who have professional and personal contacts throughout the region, and who could share with their colleagues a sense of the benefits and advantages of ISTSS, and the potential of a Latin American section. Please consider this as invitation to join us in making this idea a reality.

If you have any questions or would like to become involved in this effort, contact Andrew Stone at 215/823-4061 or e-mail <stone.andrew_m@forum.va.gov>; Frida Spiwak at <fspiwak@gate.net>; or Stephanie Fastlicht at <skf@mail.internet.mx>.