The Conference on Innovations in Trauma Research Methods (CITRM) will hold its first meeting Nov. 17–18, 2004, at the Hilton Garden Inn New Orleans Convention Center, at the close of the ISTSS 20th Annual Meeting and the opening of AABT’s annual meeting. One of CITRM’s features is the Underrepresented Researchers’ Travel Stipend Program, which facilitates participation in CITRM by individuals from traditionally underrepresented groups—thereby increasing the diversity of voices present within the field of traumatic stress studies.
A unique aspect of the CITRM Travel Stipend Program is that both experienced and novice researchers are eligible to receive stipends. Traditionally, travel stipend programs are available only to individuals who are relatively less experienced within a given field. CITRM’s Travel Stipend Program, in keeping with the overall mission to stimulate and expand methodological contributions to traumatic stress studies, includes experienced researchers as well as novices.
The insights and knowledge provided by any group of individuals occurs on a continuum. In this instance, the continuum extends from individuals working within the field who have already pioneered important approaches, through persons working in allied subject areas who may be seeking to shift their emphasis to traumatic stress or who may wish to apply techniques from other fields to that of traumatic stress studies, through those individuals who will create future paths in this area.
To ensure that all travel stipend applications received fair consideration, a formal application process was implemented. Applicants provided information about themselves, including a personal statement, a current resume and letters of reference. In response to direct outreach efforts to ISTSS members and others, more applications were received than the number of stipends available, a more-than-gratifying response for CITRM’s first year. Though the majority of applications were from the United States, responses came from other continents and regions, including Africa and the Middle East.
The CITRM Travel Stipend Program shares a spirit of supporting diversity similar to the ISTSS Travel Grant Award, with a few differences. The ISTSS Travel Grant Award is supported by member donations and is thus a direct outgrowth and expression of the commitment to support those who may otherwise find it difficult to attend the annual meeting. It facilitates travel to ISTSS by participants from developing countries and requires that applicants are ISTSS members or sponsored by members. On the other hand, CITRM’s Travel Stipend Program is targeted at individuals who are physically challenged or members of North American racial or ethnic minority groups, and/or citizens of developing nations. Applicants need not be members of ISTSS. The two stipend programs can be seen as complementary with their differences, but with some overlap of mission.
This year, CITRM’s theme is “Methodological Issues in Addressing Mass Disaster and Terrorism.” Sessions are designed to provide information useful to researchers working in all areas of traumatic stress studies and not limited to those working in disaster studies. Highlights include an examination of Web-based surveys, Bayesian statistics, measurement of key features of trauma, dilemmas in sampling, statistical approaches to longitudinal data, and presentations regarding career development and writing for scientific literature. For more details about CITRM and conference registration information, visit www.citrm.org.
CITRM is supported by the National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH) and the Department of Veterans Affairs National Center for PTSD. The Travel Stipend Program is an integral part of the support from NIMH.