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Conference on Innovations in Trauma Research Methods: 2004 Program Highlights

July 1, 2004

The first Conference on Innovations in Trauma Research Methods (CITRM) will take place November 17–18, 2004, in New Orleans. CITRM aims to enhance the methodological sophistication of trauma research, identify solutions to trauma’s methodological challenges and inform trauma research with insights from other fields. With program features relevant to researchers at all levels, the conference will emphasize interaction among presenters and participants in a small, cohesive setting.

CITRM is honored to feature Fran Norris, PhD, as plenary speaker. Norris is research associate, National Center for PTSD, and research professor, Department of Psychiatry, Dartmouth Medical School. She has published more than 100 articles and received a number of research and professional development grants. Her interests include the epidemiology of PTSD, cross-cultural studies, social support and systems issues in disaster mental health services. She was the lead author of a comprehensive review of the disaster literature and lead investigator on two case studies examining mental health systems’ responses to the Oklahoma City and World Trade Center disasters. She is deputy/statistical editor for the Journal of Traumatic Stress.

One CITRM workshop will address “Measuring and Modeling the Social and Geographic Context of Trauma.” Most trauma research on risk factors for adverse outcomes focuses on individual-level characteristics, such as gender and pretrauma adjustment. Community-level factors, such as social and geographic context, also may be important predictors of trauma sequelae. This workshop explores methods to measure aggregate-level factors and evaluate their effects. It will be presented by Ichiro Kawachi, MD, PhD, professor of social epidemiology and director of the Harvard Center for Society and Health, Harvard School of Public Health. Kawachi’s research emphasizes social, economic and other group-level health determinants. He is co-editor of the first textbook on Social Epidemiology (Oxford University Press, 2000), as well as The Health of Nations (The New Press, 2002) and Neighborhoods and Health (Oxford University Press, 2003).

CITRM’s ethics workshop is titled “Ethical Decision Making in Designing Disaster Research.” Disasters and terrorism raise special ethical issues. They are characterized by disruption of community infrastructure, widespread casualties and fear of additional trauma. Researchers typically want to get into the field quickly, recruit people who may be distressed, and help the community in some way. This workshop will be presented by Joan Sieber, PhD, psychologist and professor emerita, California State University/Hayward. Sieber has authored numerous publications on ethical problem solving in social/behavioral research. She has served on or chaired six biomedical and social/behavioral institutional review boards. She served on the Joint Task Force to Revise Ethical Principles in the Conduct of Research and on the American Psychological Association’s Committee on Protection of Human Subjects.

One statistics workshop will be “A Primer on Bayesian Statistical Methods.” The frequentist statistical paradigm, on which hypothesis-testing and p values are based, has limitations and is not amenable to meaningful decision making. Bayesian statistics offer an alternative approach that is keyed to decision making. Dalene Stangl, PhD, professor and director of the Institute of Statistics and Decision Sciences at Duke University, will direct this workshop. She has co-edited two books on Bayesian methods—Bayesian Biostatistics (Marcel Dekker, 1996) and Meta-Analysis in Medicine and Health Policy (Marcel Dekker, 2000)—served on the board of directors of the International Society of Bayesian Analysis and is executive editor of Chance, published by the American Statistical Association. She is an award-winning teacher who has presented courses on Bayesian statistics in a variety of settings.

Jayne Thorson, PhD, will lead a research career development workshop titled “Having the Time of Your Life: Time Management for Busy People.” Thorson is assistant dean for Faculty Affairs and director of Faculty Affairs at the University of Michigan Medical School. She has received awards for leadership and contributions to academic programs, including the 2001 Sarah Goddard Power Award for contributions to the university environment for women. She was the recipient of the 1998 Women in Medicine Leadership Development Award and the Leadership for a New Century Award from the National Association for Women in Education. She is an acclaimed speaker and writer on professional development.

For program details and information about registration, travel stipends and accommodations, visit the CITRM conference Web site at www.citrm.org.

CITRM is funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and the Department of Veterans Affairs, National Center for PTSD; administrative support is provided by the Boston Veterans Affairs Research Institute Inc.