The Foundation for Psychocultural Research and UCLA presented An Interdisciplinary Symposium on Trauma, Culture, and the Brain

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: Biological, Clinical and Cultural Approaches to Trauma's Effects

Dec. 13-15, 2002

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The Interdisciplinary symposium on trauma, culture and the brain jointly sponsored by The Foundation for Psychocultural Research and The Brain Research and Neuropsychiatric Institutes and Anxiety Project at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

L-R: Rudolph Giuliani (Former New York City Mayor) & Robert Lemelson (President of The FPR; Departments of Psychology and Anthropology, UCLA)

Profound effects of traumatic experiences persist long after the horrifying events themselves. The tragedy of September 11, 2001 testifies to this and underscores the importance of understanding the ways in which trauma shapes and is shaped by our culture and biology. Integrating cultural, clinical, and biological perspectives, UCLA's Brain Research and Neuropsychiatric Institutes, the UCLA Anxiety Project and the Foundation for Psychocultural Research (FPR) cosponsored an interdisciplinary conference in December 2002 to examine posttraumatic stress disorder and other human responses to traumatic events.

This three-day symposium thoroughly examined the human response to trauma in the cultural, clinical, and biological domains. On Day 1,we examined knowledge about responses to trauma. On Day 2, we focused on the effect that traumatic events have on development of and future vulnerability to psychopathology. Finally, on Day 3 we explored therapeutic issues in the treatment of individuals suffering from the effects of trauma. Each day included presentations from basic scientists, from clinicians and clinical researchers, and from social scientists. In addition, several New York City officials such as Rosemary O'Keefe and Richard Sheirer who dealt with the effects of 9/11, discussed some of the formidable public policy and public health challenges of such disasters. Each day speakers also participated in an open roundtable discussion at the end of the day , which integrated the perspectives of the different levels of analysis in response to questions from the audience, and from each other. This conference was designed to break down the barriers that traditionally cordon off academic disciplines and to challenge the notion that a single approach can be sufficient to understand the complex human effects of major traumatic experiences. To this end, the conference included a poster session featuring recent research on trauma.


Robert Lemelson, Ph.D.
President, The Foundation for Psychocultural Research
Lecturer, Department of Psychology, UCLA

Allan Tobin, Ph.D.
Director, Brain Research Institute, UCLA


Keynote Speaker

Rudolph Giuliani, Former NYC Mayor

Openning Remark

Claudia Mitchell-Kernan, UCLA

Basic Sciences
Neurobiological aspects of fear, anxiety, and trauma

  • Mark Barad, UCLA
  • Mark Bouton, University of Vermont
  • Larry Cahill, University of California, Irvine
  • Christopher Coe, University of Wisconsin
  • Michael Davis, Emory University
  • Michael Fanselow, UCLA
  • Emeran Mayer, UCLA
  • Michael Meaney, McGill University
  • Gregory Quirk, Ponce School of Medicine
  • Stephen Suomi, NICHD

Human response to traumatic events and therapeutic issues of trauma-related disorders

  • J. Douglas Bremner, Emory University
  • Dennis Charney, NIMH
  • Edna Foa, University of Pennsylvania
  • David Kinzie, Oregon HSU
  • Bessel van der Kolk, The Trauma Center and Boston University
  • Charles Marmar, UC San Francisco
  • Robert Pynoos, UCLA
  • Arieh Shalev, Hadassah University
  • Rachel Yehuda, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine and Bronx Veteran Affairs

Trauma's effects across cultures

  • James Boehnlein, Oregon HSU
  • Leslie Dwyer, Visiting Fellow, UCLA
  • Bryon Good, Harvard University
  • Alexander Hinton, Rutgers University
  • Laurence Kirmayer, McGill University
  • Melvin Konner, Emory University
  • Robert Lifton, Harvard Medical School
  • Mark S. Micale, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
  • Degung Santikarma, Visiting Fellow, UCLA
  • Nancy Scheper-Hughes, UC Berkeley
  • Allan Young, McGill University

NYC 9/11 Participants

  • Rosemarie O'Keefe (Former Commissioner, NYC Mayor's Community Assistance Unit)
  • Richard Sheirer (Former NYC Director of Emergency Management)


The conference program included poster sessions. We invited abstract submissions for presentation and inclusion in the abstracts booklet.


Visit - The official website of the Trauma, Culture, and the Brain Conference.

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