Video Diaries

Perspectives on the Twelfth International Conference on Shaken Baby Syndrome/Abusive Head Trauma

Citizen journalists document their experiences

Shaken-baby syndrome continues to be a controversial medical and criminal-justice issue. Every two years experts and concerned citizens converge at the annual international conference on shaken-baby syndrome and abusive-head trauma. The Medill Innocence Project sent video cameras to volunteer citizen journalists on both sides of the shaken-baby syndrome debate. The National Center on Shaken-Baby Syndrome, the organization that hosts the event, however, did not allow any part of the conference to be recorded. As such, the Medill Innocence Project asked its videographers to conduct interviews outside of the event. One of the volunteers did not capture any video. The other volunteer, Sue Luttner, who blogs about shaken-baby syndrome, documented her experience and those of three other attendees. The Medill Innocence Project curated their videos.

Video by Sue Luttner and Lynda Jones
Updated: Oct. 17, 2012

Response from Founder and Executive Director of the National Center on Shaken-Baby Syndrome

The Twelfth International Conference on Shake Baby Syndrome/Abusive Head Trauma had 728 attendees and presenters.  These attendees represented 64 major hospitals, 16 universities, 49 of the 50 USA states, eight of 10 provinces in Canada; 14 countries; the US Army, US Air Force and US Marine Corps and 115 other participants representing state, federal, provincial or city governments and 48 members of SBS victim families.

The conference, over the past 16 years, has successfully presented a highly academic and scientific program.  It has additionally been able to include the families of some of the victims of SBS in a very respectful and meaningful way which has added to the value of the learning event.

I attended all keynote presentations and many of the conference workshops.  My staff and/or my board members jointly attended all the workshops.  None of these people heard or reported any of the comments or impressions of the statements you have described and listed for me.  Additionally we have now received hundreds of highly positive evaluations and none of those have indicated any of the problems or comments you have described.

The one exception is your reference to circularity being a challenge for shaken baby syndrome research.  Circularity is a challenge in any kind of clinical research and needs to be addressed in all clinical studies. Many excellent researchers in this field and others recognize this and address it appropriately.

The NCSBS taped sessions many years ago in a few of the first conferences and stopped doing it only because it was not cost effective.

I appreciate the opportunity to respond.


Marilyn Barr

Founder and executive director, National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome

One Response to Video Diaries

  1. John Lloyd says:

    Ms. Barr,
    On November 2nd, 2011, I submitted three scientific abstracts on biomechanics of pediatric head and brain trauma to the organizing committee of the 2012 NCSBS conference. In January 2012 I was informed by yourself that non of my abstracts met the standard for the conference. I was disappointed, especially since a preceding manuscript had gone through the rigors of peer-review.
    So, you can imagine my surprise to learn that Dr. Stephen Boos, Dr. Susan Margulies and Dr. Cindy Christian used this publication, on which I share authorship with esteemed colleagues including Ms. Luttner, as the subject of their lecture, titled “Chocolate and Conversation”, without giving myself as lead author the opportunity to share in this presentation, nor to address any of the unsubstantiated challenges from the presenters.
    Apparently, the basis on which our manuscript did not meet the standard for your conference is that it defies false logic.
    John Lloyd

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