International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies

2005-04

21st Annual Meeting Promises Strong Lineup—
Highlights Hurricane Katrina and Other Mass Disasters

Norah C. Feeny and Lori A. Zoellner 
Annual Meeting Co-Chairs

The ISTSS 21st Annual Meeting, November 2–5, 2005, in Toronto, will focus on “Dissemination: Transforming Lives Through Transforming Care.” The importance of disseminating current knowledge regarding traumatic stress unfortunately has been highlighted this year with the devastating impact of December’s tsunami in Southeast Asia, and August’s Hurricane Katrina in the U.S. Gulf region. Accordingly, some key parts of our program will address issues relevant to mass disasters (see schedule below).

We are extremely pleased that Johan Schaar, special representative of the secretary general for the tsunami operation at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, will deliver the keynote address Thursday, 5:30 p.m.–6:30 p.m. He will speak about the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ support in the tsunami aftermath. Because of Schaar’s efforts in coordinating this unprecedented relief operation following the tsunami, we look forward to hearing about the successes and challenges in providing relief following a large-scale disaster.

Dealing with the impact of large-scale disasters, Chris Burke and Marylene Cloitre will discuss lessons learned from survivors and providers following 9/11. Elisa Triffleman, Gaithri Fernando, David Foy, and Alexander McFarlane will discuss service provision in Thailand, Sri Lanka and Indonesia in the wake of the tsunami. Barbara Rothbaum and Dean Kilpatrick will chair a presidential symposium about the impact of and response to Hurricane Katrina and the tsunami. Added programming relevant to Hurricane Katrina is being planned; representatives from NIMH, FEMA, the Red Cross and the CDC have been invited to speak about their efforts in response to this disaster.

Also, there will be a series of timely symposia highlighting current knowledge in the field of traumatic stress. On Friday, 9:30 a.m.–11:30 a.m., the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health is sponsoring a series of parallel plenaries on the theme of dissemination, featuring top-notch researchers. Michael Davis will chair the symposium on translational research; Wayne Katon will chair the symposium on methods of dissemination; Jonathan Bisson will chair the symposium on early intervention following trauma exposure. Also, Edna Foa will chair the symposium on dissemination of treatments for PTSD.

In the wake of mass disasters, issues related to training mental health professionals become critical. The Pre-Meeting Institutes offer opportunities for further training. Topics range from training in empirically supported treatments to working with special populations such as the military, disaster victims and children, to culturally informed care.

For more program information, go to the conference section at www.istss.org/meetings/index.htm.