International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies


Janet Reno to Keynote ISTSS 17th Annual Meeting

Former Attorney General Janet Reno will be the keynote speaker at the 2001 ISTSS annual meeting. Reno will deliver her speech Friday morning, December 7. The tentative title of her speech is "The Necessity of a Coordinated Community Response in Violence Prevention."

The opening plenary speaker Thursday evening, December 6, will be the Rev. Dr. Marie M. Fortune, founder of the Center for the Prevention of Sexual and Domestic Violence. In her plenary session titled "No Healing without Justice," Fortune will discuss the following issues: how to revisit assumptions about possible resources for healing and restoration; how accountability fits in; how cultural values and assumptions shape possibilities; and how forgiveness fits into these issues.

Oliver J. Williams, PhD, executive director of the Institute on Domestic Violence in the African American Community and associate professor in the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Minnesota, is the Saturday morning plenary speaker. In his presentation, "Creating the Opportunities for Epiphanies in Populations Challenged by Violence," Williams will explore issues that affect how communities of color (especially those of low income) address domestic violence.

Arieh Y. Shalev, MD, will deliver his address, "How Social Environment Affects the Human Brain: the Case of Trauma and PTSD," at Sunday morning's plenary session. Shalev is professor of psychiatry and head of the Department of Psychiatry at Hadassah University Hospital in Jerusalem and director and founder of the Center for Traumatic Stress at Hadassah University Hospital. He will discuss prevention and early treatment of PTSD in relation to different findings -- one specific finding suggests that traumatic events are followed by a critical period during which psychological events and social interaction significantly modify the central nervous system.

ISTSS expects the 2001 17th Annual Meeting in New Orleans, La., at the Fairmont Hotel, Dec. 6-9, to be one of its strongest ever. Submissions of all types (posters, oral, PMI, etc.) are up 25 percent from last year following a streamlining of the conference submission process this year. Also, important changes were made in the conference program setup allowing for longer presentations. Whereas last year many presentations were allowed only 45 minutes, this year all presentations are scheduled for 75 minutes.

The theme of this year's conference is "researching underserved trauma survivors through community-based programs." Underserved trauma survivors are those who do not have access to adequate services because of barriers such as limited financial resources, limited service availability, social exclusion, and language, cultural or geographical restrictions. Community- based programs address trauma survivors' needs such as general health, mental health, physical survival, and financial and social resources.

Mary Ann Dutton, 2001 conference chair, and ISTSS President Bonnie Green developed the theme with hopes of encouraging collaboration at all levels, striving for goals of preventing and reducing exposure to traumatic experiences and improving the lives of trauma survivors throughout the world.