International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies


ISTSS Annual Meeting Showcases Reactions to Worldwide Disasters

The meeting's theme, "Dissemination: Transforming Lives Through Transforming Care," illustrated ISTSS' focus on aiding trauma victims by spreading knowledge and information gained through years of systematic research and accumulated experience. In particular, this year’s event focused on recent mass disasters, including the 2004 tsunami and Hurricane Katrina, which tragically caused so much destruction in New Orleans, site of the 2004 ISTSS Annual Meeting.

A number of presentations throughout the conference responded to these disasters and the trauma that ensued, including:

  • Presidential Symposium: Learning from Hurricane Katrina and the 2004 Tsunami — Implications for Policy and Practice
  • Psychological First Aid
  • Service Provision in Thailand, Sri Lanka and Indonesia in the Wake of the Tsunami
  • Disaster Mental Health in the Real World: Lessons from the Tsunami

In keeping with this theme, Johan Schaar, PhD, officially opened the meeting with his keynote, "Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ Support in the Tsunami Aftermath." Schaar's speech set the tone for the remainder of the conference, and was met with an enthusiastic response.

Plenary presentations, educational sessions, poster presentations, case studies, symposiums and panel discussions filled the four-day schedule. ISTSS' 18 Special Interest Groups each held meetings, and endorsed a number of sessions.

In addition, Pre-Meeting Institutes held November 1 and 2 provided valuable specialized training for clinicians and researchers. The full-day and half-day sessions featured topics such as, "Treating Acute Stress Disorder," "Cognitive Processing Therapy for PTSD," "Creating Sanctuary: A Whole-Systems Approach for Traumatized Children," and "Integrating Behavioural Change Approaches With Trauma Treatment."

The awards ceremony and reception were held the evening of Saturday, November 4, and honored those who have made special achievements in the field of traumatic stress studies. For a full list of honorees, see pages 4–5.

Attendees' feedback and response to the conference has been overwhelmingly positive, thanks in no small part to the tireless work of 2005 conference co-chairs Norah Feeny and Lori Zoellner. Start planning now for the ISTSS 22nd Annual Meeting, November 4–7, 2006, in Hollywood, California, USA. The meeting theme is "The Psychobiology of Trauma and Resilience Across the Lifespan." See the call for presentations at

ISTSS extends thanks to supporters of the 2005 meeting: Janssen Pharmaceuticals and the National Institute of Mental Health.

Stats at a Glance
17 Pre-Meeting Institutes
7 Plenary Sessions
2 Expert Clinical
2 Master Clinician
19 Workshops
6 Case Presentations
28 Panels
67 Symposia with 225
total presentations
4 Media Presentations
334 Posters