January 1, 2000
More than 90 percent of the attendees at the ISTSS annual meeting gave the quality of speakers a rating of excellent or good.
With pre-conference educational courses and plenary and keynote speakers and eight different session tracks each day, attendees enjoyed a cross-section of knowledge on many different aspects of traumatic stress studies.
The more than 800 conference attendees rated the session topics and the chance to meet with colleagues as the top two reasons to come to the meeting, developed under the direction of Program Chair Heidi Resnick, ISTSS Vice President Rachel Yehuda and President Alexander McFarlane, held at the Hotel Inter-Continental Miami. Over 90 percent of attendees visited the tabletop exhibits and poster sessions and considered both useful to the conference.
The plenary sessions and keynotes were the highlights of the conference according to post-conference evaluations. The plenaries included "Advances in the Treatment of PTSD," chaired by Edna Foa and featured information about the latest empirically-based treatments in PTSD with addresses by Barbara Rothbaum, Jonathan Davidson and Janice Krupnick; "The Relationship Between the Number of Traumas and the Number of Elevated TSI Scales in the General Populations," chaired by Laurie Pearlman and featured speakers John Briere, Dean Kilpatrick and Victoria Follette; and "Prospective Approaches to Evaluating the Link Between Trauma and PTSD," chaired by Roger Pitman with speakers Alexander McFarlane, Arieh Shalev and Richard Bryant.
The Presidential Keynote chaired by McFarlane and featuring Steven Hayes, who talked about how language complicates the human response to trauma, also received high marks. But the keynote, "What Clinicians Need to Know About the Biology of PTSD: Theoretical and Practical Applications of Biology Knowledge," chaired by Bessel van der Kolk and featuring Rachel Yehuda, especially rated highly among attendees' favorites.
Another highlight was a session chaired by Frank Ochberg called, "The Journalist Who Covers Catastrophe and the Clinician Who Treats the Casualty: Building Bridges Based on Research." It discussed how reporters cover trauma, how trauma affects reporters and how the two fields can develop a research agenda together. A special session on treatment guidelines and the forthcoming publication of ISTSS' Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: Critical Reviews and Guidelines also made the list.
Many attendees enjoyed the special interest group lunches and the Specialty Training Courses, which provided a diverse selection of intensive learning experiences and featured both half- and full-day sessions. New to the program this year were the breakfasts before the start of each morning session and the wine and cheese receptions during the poster sessions, which provided attendees a chance to network and socialize.
Before the dust settled in Miami, ISTSS leaders began planning for the 16th Annual Meeting, Nov. 15-19 in San Antonio - watch for updates and abstract submission information soon.