International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies

ISTSS Trauma Training Survey Reveals Career Development Opportunities

Posted 1 July 2004 in StressPoints by Robert Orazem, Boston, Massachusetts

In 2002, Patricia Resick and I conducted a Trauma Training Survey on behalf of ISTSS. The purposes of this project were twofold. First, the survey was intended to identify training opportunities that currently are available in the field of trauma. Second, we sought to disseminate this information to individuals interested in developing a career in trauma, especially at the graduate, internship and postdoctoral level. To these ends, training providers were surveyed regarding training opportunities in the field of trauma offered by their institutions. These providers were recruited primarily through notices sent to all ISTSS members and through an announcement posted on the ISTSS Web site, including a link to the online survey.

The survey was completed during the summer of 2002 with 226 responses, though not all responses could be used. If more than one individual from an institution replied, these individuals were contacted directly to clarify any discrepancies between their responses. However, multiple responses from a given institution were allowed when respondents represented different training programs within an institution (e.g., the social work program vs. the medical school). Finally, the remaining responses were examined for relevance to the purpose of the project. That is, responses from agencies not involved in training (e.g., private service providers) were excluded. Ultimately, responses representing 187 institutions remained.

This final pool of survey responses then was organized into an Excel spreadsheet for distribution, with each institution responding to the type of programs offered, degrees offered, features of the program, and types of trauma being addressed/

trauma populations being served. Note that the results reflect the respondents’ survey responses at the time of the survey and that some programs’ features may have changed since.

  • Programs offered: Of the responding institutions, 123 offer graduate training programs, 79 offer internships or residencies and 73 offer postdoctoral fellowships.
  • Degrees offered: The degrees most commonly offered by responding institutions included PhD (76), MA/MS (46), MD (26), LCSW (10), PsyD (8) and MSW (7). Twenty-six institutions listed other degrees (e.g., MDiv).
  • Program features: Institutions reported a number of features offered by their programs, including the availability of trauma coursework, graduate research assistantships, practicum opportunities and paid clerkships/clinical positions. Institutions also reported on the types of grants that they have secured including service grants, research grants and training grants. In addition, of the 187 responding institutions, 146 reportedly employ at least one trauma researcher and 155 employ at least one trauma therapist.
  • Trauma types/trauma populations served: Institutions rated the degree to which they focus on each of six categories of trauma, including accidents, crime, combat, medical trauma, natural disasters and war/terrorism. In addition, institutions provided demographic information about the populations they serve including percentage estimates by gender, race and age (adults vs. children).

Accessing the Training Program Listings

Results of the survey were presented at the 2003 ISTSS meeting (Orazem, Resick, & Welch, 2003) and distributed in CD-ROM format at the annual student breakfast and during the poster session. The Training Survey is available on the student section of the ISTSS Web site at Also, limited quantities are still available in CD-ROM format by contacting Robert Orazem or Lisa Welch at Alternatively, an Excel file can be sent to people via e-mail.

Robert Orazem, is a third-year graduate student in Boston University’s Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology and a graduate research assistant at the VA Boston Healthcare System.


Orazem, R.J., Resick, P.A., & Welch, L. (2003, October). ISTSS Trauma Training Survey. Poster session presented at the 2003 annual meeting of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, Chicago.