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Program planning is under way for the first annual Conference on Innovations in Trauma Research Methods (CITRM), November 17–18, 2004, at the Hilton Garden Inn New Orleans Downtown, a short distance (approximately one-third mile) from the Hilton New Orleans Riverside, the site of the November 14–17 ISTSS annual meeting. CITRM strives for the following goals:

  • Strengthen the methodological rigor of trauma research. Workshops on design, statistics, measurement and other methodological issues will be provided, and beginning in 2005, submitted posters or papers on a variety of methods-oriented topics will be invited.
  • Propose creative responses to the unique challenges of trauma research. The conference will present a yearly “Methodological Think Tank,” in which research methods experts attempt to develop solutions to research problems particular to trauma research (see below for details). Another conference highlight, “Dissection of Innovative Studies,” features authors of a published paper in the field of trauma who used novel research techniques, explaining how innovative methods were applied within the study.
  • Supplement and enhance the training of beginning trauma scholars. Although CITRM is directed at researchers of all levels, the conference will include some sessions geared to novice researchers. Informal refreshment breaks and a formal “Meet the Experts” lunch will provide interaction between beginning researchers and senior researchers. Travel awards to minority novice researchers are available on a competitive basis.
  • Enhance diffusion of innovative research methods and designs from other disciplines and specialties. CITRM has an advisory board of experts in research methods, many of whom have never engaged in trauma research, along with expert trauma researchers. These distinguished scientists are drawn from a wide range of disciplines.
  • Explore ethical dilemmas and possible solutions in trauma research. A yearly research ethics workshop tied to the conference theme will be featured. In addition, the advisory board includes three internationally recognized ethicists.

The Methodological Think Tank, a central event to CITRM, was borrowed (with permission) from the successful and long-standing Primary Care Research Methods and Statistics Conference. The topic for each Methodological Think Tank is based on the identification of a research dilemma or challenge suggested by researchers in the field. The goal of the Think Tank is to identify appropriate methodological approaches or instruments for investigating the research problem. The Think Tank panel consists of a content expert, the selected researcher who proposes the dilemma, and methodological experts. Following a public summation of the problem by the content expert, the methodologists brainstorm possible approaches. A guided discussion, with audience participation, then systematically prunes these potential approaches, recognizing advantages and disadvantages of each. To promote the dissemination of the Think Tank outcomes, a recorder produces a summary of the main points discussed and the conclusions drawn, which is available to all conference participants.

The theme for CITRM 2004 is “Methodological Issues in Addressing Mass Disaster and Terrorism.” The conference theme is intended to provide a framework within which to orient methodological topics, but the yield of CITRM—new principals, techniques and practices, and recommendations for future research applications—should be far more general. Therefore, CITRM will feature program content of interest to researchers across a broad spectrum of trauma inquiry.

CITRM is funded by grants from the National Institute of Mental Health and the Department of Veterans Affairs, National Center for PTSD (Lynda King, principal investigator; Jeffrey Sonis, Elisa Triffleman, and Daniel King, co-investigators). The Boston University School of Medicine is an additional sponsor, and the Boston VA Research Institute Inc. provides administrative and logistical assistance. CITRM 2004 has been endorsed by the leadership of ISTSS.

Visit www.citrm.org for updates about featured speakers and program scheduling, registration and continuing education units, travel award applications for novice and advanced researchers from underrepresented groups, accommodations and planning committee contact information.