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Home > Public Resources > Trauma Blog > 2015 - October > President’s Message: The Refugee Crisis in Europe, Flooding of the U.S. East Coast and a Sneak Previ

President’s Message: The Refugee Crisis in Europe, Flooding of the U.S. East Coast and a Sneak Preview of the ISTSS 31st Annual Meeting Highlights

October 27, 2015

Today’s unprecedented refugee crisis in Europe with hundreds of thousands of people who have fled their country, crossing the Mediterranean or taking exhausting land routes, emphasizes the worldwide need for knowledge about trauma and its consequences.

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Syria has become the world’s top source country for refugees, surpassing Afghanistan, and so many undertake the long travel to the safer European countries, trying to escape war, persecution and other harrowing circumstances, finding a safe place for their children to grow up. ESTSS, ISTSS’s European partner, is actively trying to provide resources (see ESTSS Statement on Forced Displacement, and articles on refugees published in the Europen Journal of Psychotraumatology), but, in fact, most refugees find their way to neighboring, often relatively poor countries, rather than to Europe (Turner, 2015). (Photo courtesy of Co-Action Publishing)

There is a role for ISTSS here, and we will feature the refugee problem at the ISTSS 31st Annual Meeting in New Orleans, Nov 5-7.

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10 Years After Hurricane Katrina


The ISTSS 31st Annual Meeting is taking place 10 years after Hurricane Katrina. Katrina is regarded as one of the worst disasters in U.S. history. We will pay special attention to the long-term effects of such a disaster. But also today flooding is taking place along the southeast and east coast of the U.S. Coastal floods and high tide--the highest in more than 26 years--combined with torrential rain to create waist-deep flooding in parts of the South Carolina Lowcountry. (Photo: Hurricane Katrina aftermath)

I specifically would like to invite you to join the Wednesday evening opening ceremony with a special welcome from the Office of the Mayor of New Orleans. Enjoy an expert panel share their personal and scientific knowledge of trauma, resilience, and recovery 10 years post Hurricane Katrina, and the building of a resilient city. Local music will also be featured, so plan to come early!

Annual Meeting Highlights

We have a record breaking high number of abstracts and participants, but for those who have not yet registered please know that this is a going to be an exceptionally good and interesting meeting. Our Scientific Program Chairs Bernet Elzinga, and Christian Schmahl, together with the Organizing Committee Chair Joanne Davis have managed a fantastic program that should please hard core researchers as well as clinicians.

Here are some highlights in the program:

Opening Keynote Panel: Katrina’s Children 10 Years Later: Crisis, Trauma, Recovery, Resilience (Joy and Howard Osofsky, Lawrason, Speier)

3 Excellent Keynote Speakers on PTSD: John H. Krystal (From Neurobiology to Treatment), Anke Ehlers (Intrusive Re-experiencing in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: Memory Processes and their Implications for Therapy) and Regina Sullivan (Neurobiology of Early Life Trauma and Attachment)

Invited Presentations: by Lanius, Monson, Gonzalez & McKinnon (Family Perspectives on PTSD); Yehuda, Spiegel, Southwick, Davis, Neylan & Krystal (What I Have Changed My Mind About and Why); Koenen, Galea & Harris (Trauma as a Public Health Issue: From Epidemiology to Policy) and Hendler, Lanius, Bodurka, Ros, & van der Kolk (The Effect of Neurofeedback in PTSD: Why, When and How)

Closing Panel: The Cultural Diversity of Treating PTSD with Drs Schnyder, Ehlers, Foa, Hasan, Mwiti, and Kristensen, which may also be relevant for helping refugees.

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Renowned Master Clinicians:
(David Spiegel, Robyn D. Walser, Martin Bohus) and Master Methodologists (Israel Liberzon, Gustavo Turecki, Rens van de Schoot)

We have a little surprise at the Thursday morning opening you don’t want to miss and last but not least New Orleans is the city of music, make sure to enjoy the French Quarter, a cultural treat in the warm evenings of Lousiana! (Photo courtesy of Julie Z. Coan, https://arteverywhere.us)
   
One year later...

This is my last column. I have enjoyed my term as president a lot, a very enriching experience and hope to have made a small contribution. When I started my aim was to increase the “I” in ISTSS. I think I can say we have made steps in that direction: we have had wide range of Global meetings with ISTSS presence all over the world, the Global Collaboration Project is successfully bringing affiliated partners together, we have developed new collaborations e.g. with the Chilean traumatic stress society, ACET; we have more international members, especially from Africa through our Corresponding Membership Program, and we have a very international Annual meeting ahead of us! In the meantime, our treatment guidelines will be updated by an international team of leaders in the field, chaired by Jon Bisson.

We will have a new board of directors soon. Congratulations to our new president elect, Meaghan O’Donnel who will start her term in November 2016. But first I wish our dynamic Norwegian colleague, Grete Dyb, the best of luck together with an excellent team to lead this thriving Society!