International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies

Communications Corner

Posted 1 January 2004 in StressPoints by ISTSS

Special Interest Groups

Child Trauma SIG
The Child Trauma SIG held its annual meeting at the ISTSS conference in Chicago. This past year was an active one for the Child SIG: the SIG endorsed five conference presentations; a number of the Child Trauma SIG members presented at the annual conference; and the SIG provided a "quick-guide" handout to all child, youth, and family-related content offerings at the annual conference. The successful SIG meeting, held on October 30, 2003, was attended by previous SIG members as well as newly interested members. Members discussed their experience within ISTSS, as well as within the field of childhood trauma. A particular focus of the SIG meeting was how to best use the special interest group in a way that feels active and useful for all its members, with an understanding that child trauma encompasses a broad range of interests and practice modalities. A primary topic of discussion was the use of electronic resources (i.e., the electronic listserv and ISTSS Web site) to increase member communication, collaboration and information-sharing. The Child Trauma SIG will be among the first special interest groups to have available Web space within the members-only section of the ISTSS site; look for the Web page in the near future.

The Child Trauma SIG is a forum for communication and collaboration among individuals with an interest in children and trauma, and is open to all ISTSS members. New members and ideas are welcome. For more information, contact Margaret E. Blaustein at mblauste@mindspring.com.

Diversity and Cultural Competence SIG
In response to requests made at the 2003 ISTSS annual meeting, the Diversity and Cultural Competence SIG is offering a networking service for potential ISTSS presenters. One requirement for annual meeting presentation proposals is that there be more than one presenter. In the interest of increasing the number of presentations on diversity issues at the 2004 annual meeting, we are offering to help individual presenters get in contact with others to submit group proposals requested by ISTSS. If you would like your contact information to be shared with potential joint presenters, please e-mail your contact information and presentation abstract to Stefanie Smith at smith@traumacenter.org. She then will contact you with the information of potential presentation matches. E-mails must be received by February 28 to allow time for group proposal to be submitted for the conference.

Early Intervention SIG
The Early Intervention SIG met in Chicago at the annual conference to discuss SIG activities for 2004. A decision was made to focus on three issues:

  • Continue the effort to encourage information sharing and discussion among members-several individuals agreed to send messages to initiate the dialogue.
  • Issue periodic e-mail to provide members with updates on key publications/major reports, literature searches, and information about member projects and activities.
  • Sponsor presentations at the annual meeting, as in recent years, and think about ways of improving discussion of early interventions in New Orleans at the ISTSS 20th Annual Meeting. Members expressed interest in promoting more topic-centered dialogues between researchers and clinicians, in offering panel discussions that would include a brief presentation on an important issue followed by opportunity for extended discussion, and in strengthening the clinician voice at the meeting.

For more information about the SIG, contact Josef I. Ruzek at Josef.Ruzek@med.va.gov or 650-493-5000, ext. 22977; or Patricia Watson at Patricia.J.Watson@Dartmouth.EDU or 802-295-9363, ext. 6071.

Gender and Trauma SIG
The primary goal of the Gender and Trauma SIG is to create a dialogue among clinicians and researchers to effectively address and explore the role of gender in PTSD. The SIG is interested in supporting gender-related workshops, symposia and posters for the ISTSS 20th Annual Meeting. If you would like the SIG to endorse your submission, please contact us. Jillian Shipherd, PhD, is the new SIG contact for StressPoints--members who are interested in submitting gender-related articles to the newsletter should contact her at Jillian.Shipherd@med.va.gov. If you would like to become a member of the Gender and Trauma SIG and be placed on our listserv, check the box for Gender and Trauma under the Special Interest Group heading of the membership application. For more information about the Gender and Trauma SIG, contact Rachel Kimerling at Rachel.Kimerling@med.va.gov or Karestan Koenen at Karestan.Koenen@bmc.org.

Human Rights and Social Policy SIG
The Human Rights and Social Policy SIG met at the ISTSS annual meeting in October. SIG members discussed working problems and issues for 2004. The SIG is committed to involvement in the ISTSS 20th Annual Meeting, which carries a theme of war as a universal trauma. Several topics were discussed for plenary speakers.

Members Joyce Braak and Yael Danieli committed to making this SIG and human rights a significant part of the 2004 conference. They both provided suggestions concerning human trafficking and genocide and produced suggestions for conference speakers. The importance of the international aspect and working with the Cultural Diversity SIG was emphasized. SIG members are encouraged to contribute ideas early for papers and submissions for the annual conference.

Daniel Mosca, president of the Argentine Society of Traumatology, an ISTSS affiliate, invited SIG members to speak at its annual conference in Buenos Aires in June. Several SIG members have spoken at this conference in the past and have found it to be rewarding. SIG members interested in speaking or submitting proposals should contact Daniel Mosca or Dolores M. Sarno Kristofits for more information.

Because of his commitments to practice in the field of human rights, Eric Aronson has transferred his SIG co-leadership to Sahika Yuksel, although he will remain a member of the SIG and provide assistance with projects. Sahika Yuksel is a psychiatrist in Istanbul. For more information about the SIG, contact Sarno Kristofits at Sarno49@aol.com or DSarno52@aol.com or Yuksel at Sahikayuksel@turk.net.

Research Methodology SIG
This new year promises to be an exciting one for the Research Methodology Special Interest Group (RM-SIG). The Conference on Innovations in Trauma Research Methods or CITRM, initiated by RM-SIG past co-chairs Daniel King and Lynda King with co-investigators Jeffrey Sonis and Elisa Triffleman, received funding from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), with additional support from the Department of Veterans Affairs (National Center for PTSD). CITRM's first meeting will be held in conjunction with the 2004 ISTSS annual meeting. CITRM is being developed as a forum for researchers to address the distinct methodological, ethical, and logistic hurdles associated with trauma research.

The aims of CITRM are in keeping with the over-arching goal of the RM-SIG to make the larger ISTSS membership aware of current state-of-the-art methodological approaches, foster communication among researchers and between researchers and practitioners, and provide educational opportunities especially aimed at new or junior investigators. Because the CITRM conference is a direct outgrowth of the RM-SIG, members of the SIG are encouraged to lend their expertise to the conference. The CITRM executive board is looking for help in five areas:

  • Conference programming
  • Publicity
  • Interfacing with other organizations
  • Recruitment and travel awards for underrepresented novices and scientists
  • Conference evaluation

For those interested in becoming involved, contact the CITRM board: Dan and Lynda King, lking@theworld.com; Elisa Triffleman, elisa.triffleman@yale.edu; Jeffrey Sonis, jsonis@med.unc.edu.

The RM-SIG will continue to sponsor specialty training courses and presentations within the ISTSS annual meeting but will also work closely with CITRM to maximize opportunities for collaboration.
For additional information about the RM-SIG, contact co-chairs Dean Lauterbach at deanlaut@online.emich.edu or Dorie Glover at dglover@mednet.ucla.edu.

Traumatic Grief SIG
The Traumatic Grief SIG meeting held in October at ISTSS's annual conference in Chicago proved productive primarily in two respects. First, we outlined plans for presentations for the 2004 meeting, and Traumatic Grief SIG members gave ample response indicating their interest in working together on presentations for the 2004 meeting--and on independent collaborations related to the topic of the intermix of trauma and grief. Topics identified at the SIG meeting as priority areas to be addressed with research and in presentations were: the interplay of trauma and grief across cultures and types of trauma (e.g., combat, natural disasters, homicide, terrorism, suicide, terminal illness); risk factors for the development of complicated grief disorder--as a topic of its own and combined with PTSD (e.g., demographics, mode of death, prior losses, ambiguous and unambiguous loss); clinical interventions for complicated grief (e.g., managing complicating factors in adjustment, case histories of treatments for complicated grief, particularly in the context of traumatic loss); the influence of the manner of death notification and news of the trauma on psychological adjustment to interpersonal loss.

In addition, the Traumatic Grief SIG discussed and voted on support of and involvement in efforts to have complicated grief disorder included in DSM-V. Support for the proposal to include complicated grief disorder in the DSM-V was unanimous. An informal DSM-V work group is amassing as much available evidence as possible about complicated grief and welcomes input and contributions from Traumatic Grief SIG members. For more information, contact Holly Prigerson at holly.prigerson@yale.edu.