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Teratology Society Council Meeting IA
West Palm Beach, Florida
June 24, 2000

The meeting was called to order at 12:15 PM on Saturday, June 24, 2000. In attendance were George Daston, Tony Scialli, Dave Wise, Bob Kavlock, Jan Friedman, Tonia Masson, Tom Knudsen, Bob Seegmiller, Ken Jones and John Rogers. George Daston presided. Minutes of the previous Interim Council Meeting posted on the web site were approved.

President's Report — George Daston
George reminded the Council of the need for continued effort in strategic planning in order to keep all components of the Society working toward the same goal. He mentioned the need for a solid financial base, and the importance of the role played by the President and others in fund raising. As an example, he noted the efforts of Bob Kavlock's group in obtaining R13 NIH funding for student travel awards and for symposia such as the genomics symposium. Bob K. mentioned the need to get started early in order to make the July 1st application deadline, and to have the program somewhat in place by time the NIH study section meets.

The Society needs to look to other sources, e.g., John's successful finding money and getting Burroughs Welcome funding. We don't want to ignore Corporate contributors, number of President's Circle members (18) and sustaining members (11), totaling 29. All added together, a grand total of $80,000 revenue was received, some of which is pass-through funds, e.g., speaker's expenses. Nevertheless, these kinds of money make the difference between success and failure of the meetings, as well as lowering meeting registration costs.

The plan for future annual meetings is to reduce registration fees, lodging costs, etc. Ideally a higher percentage of the registration fee should come back to the Society. Clarissa is doing well at negotiating meeting sites, and helping reduce registration fees.

Annual meeting - we have fulfilled the room block, and are substantially over our commitment at 1,960 room nights. Clarrisa and Tonia are monitoring the numbers on a daily basis. Compared to the years '95-'98, we are within the equivalent number of room nights. The issue whether or not to have continental breakfasts at our meetings will be discussed during the Interim Council Meeting.

With regard to the Journal, while Wiley Liss did acknowledge each of the points raised, we are still in the early stages in the negotiation process. The deadline for our contract renewal is Dec 31, 2004, so there is time to negotiate a contract that is beneficial to the Society. It makes good sense to look at other options should we never come to an agreement with Wiley. Elsevier, for instance, is interested in talking to us.

With regard to the logo, the one most favored is a makeover of the existing logo.

It was noted that the Society has been invited, and has accepted, to join The National Council on Folic Acid. Deb Hansen has agreed to be our liaison.

Vice President's/Program Committee Report — Bob Kavlock
Bob had predicted 250 whereas there were actually 175 signed up to attend the satellite meeting. It appears that the meeting will generate $20,000 revenue. Ida Smoak and Phil Mirkes wrote the R13 grant.

Tonia was asked to continue to work with the publisher concerning the submission of abstracts electronically. Dave Wise suggested looking down the road for a backup person to Bill Landau. Instructions for submission of abstracts (format, etc.) need to be clarified and made available to submitters.

The anticipated commission on rooms at the annual meetings should be considered as deferred revenue for the following year's meeting.

Motion: A motion was made by Ken that workshop speakers be included under the same guidelines for compensation as symposium speakers. The motion was seconded by Bob K., motion carried.

There needs to be adequate lead-time for deciding on awards; decisions should be made by January prior to the annual meeting.

Concerning the new investigator award, it was proposed that abstracts be posted on the website. There were 134 abstracts and 16 student travel awards.

A discussion focused on developing a plan to use anticipated additional revenue in novel ways. Further discussion took place on the need for projection equipment for PowerPoint presentations.

Action item: Tom Knudsen will check into cost of obtaining a couple of systems.

Vice President-elect’s Report — Jan Friedman
The male mediated meeting will precede but not overlap with the Teratology Society meeting in Montreal, 2001. The alcohol meeting will be held just prior to our meeting in Montreal.

Jan spoke with S. Sobrian about the behavioral symposium (follow-up to the genome symposium).

FDA activity: they are concerned about the use of dietary supplements during pregnancy. Tony suggested that we need to inform the FDA about Teratology Society's activity in this area. Concerning genome models of development and stem cell/totipotency issues, Tom suggested that ethical issues be discussed as well as the scientific aspects.

Concerning the Phoenix meeting in 2002, the contract looks quite favorable at the Scottsdale Princess. It is a terrific meeting facility at $135/night. For the 2003 meeting site, Philadelphia, Boston, and other large cities have been looked into. The discussion on the 2003 meeting sight focused on cost, location, e.g., city vs. resort, off-season for southern vs. northern locations, etc. The committee will continue to look for a convenient site.

Secretary’s Report — Bob Seegmiller
Appreciation was extended to Council members for timely review and correction of the minutes, and to the Web site team for posting them on a timely basis. Putting the three issues of the Newsletter on the Web site has resulted in a significant saving to the Society. The overall process of producing the Newsletter is now streamlined. July 15 is the deadline for submitting reports, articles and other items for inclusion in the next issue. Tony suggested that we attach a hyperlink to the email to announce each issue and to promote reading of the Newsletter. Dave offered to set up a web-based mechanism to survey hits to the Newsletter as well as to the Council minutes in order to determine the extent to which these items are read. A separate mailer will be sent to Society members concerning the annual meetings, e.g., relevant materials and information.

The membership has remained about the same as last year, with a total of 729 members. This includes 80 (11.0%) who have not paid their dues for the current year (2000) and an additional 78 (10.7%) who have not paid last year's (1999) dues. The number of President's Circle members is up from 14 for 1999 to 18 for the current year. To improve member retention, Jan noted the need for a letter from the Society President to members who are in arrears.
The membership directory issue was raised.

Motion: Tony moved that we post a list of Society members on the Web site, independent of the list published in the Journal, and without password protection. Bob K seconded the motion. Council approved the motion unanimously.

Executive Secretary's Report — Tonia Masson
The statistics concerning meeting registrants is being monitored, and it currently stands at 339 total registrants, including 89 speakers, 174 members, 67 nonmembers and 9 guests.

Other concerns that were discussed included beverage tickets for the poster sessions will be available, and the banquet will not have a wine sponsor.

Concerning the new auditors, a $3500 fee for present and future audit was agreed upon.

The number enrolled in the Genomics meeting is slightly better than the break-even point.

Treasurer’s Report — John Rogers
The year-end statements and final budget reports are very encouraging, showing a $38,000 surplus. Expenses have been kept down, well within the budget. Last year's meeting generated a slightly smaller revenue, but expenses were down. The main areas which were significantly below budget were expenses for meetings, Newsletter, printing, and the office.

The Treasurer and Executive Secretary will set up a money-market checking account in order to increase revenue. John mentioned plans to streamline the reporting of budget and unexpected costs.

Tonia and John were asked to take more of the Society's assets and make them work harder for us in terms of revenue. Having a clearly defined budget coupled with excellent management of income and expenditures has been the key to reigning in the budget.

Dave recommended that we track members relative to existing vs. student status. Tom suggested getting the subcommittees together to address the membership problems. This is definitely a topic that should be dealt with in the Strategic Planning Meetings scheduled for 2002.

Review of Management Services — George Daston and John Rogers
As anticipated, AIM has provided a tremendous service to the Society in terms of its operation. The new contract to cover the management fee and steno/clerical costs will be increased by 3%.
Motion: Tony moved to accept the contract with the management services group (AIM) as proposed in the letter by S. D. Lamb. Bob K. seconded the motion; the motion carried.

FASEB Update — Tom Knudsen
There is a critical need for the Society to position itself with regard to the progress being made in biology and medicine. George asked Tom to write a short newsletter item related to Federal funding for biomedical and related life sciences research. Tom mentioned the recognition decline of the physician-scientist, and proposed that we identify this type of individual in our Society. George will ask Mike Cunningham for input or assistance on the matter.

Online Membership Dues – Dave Wise
There is potential for expanding online activities. For a fee of $300/year, Bill Landau has proposed to develop online meeting registration, membership renewal, dues payment, application for membership, etc.
Motion: Tony moved to approve Bill's proposal to accept credit card payment for online registration, membership, etc. John seconded the motion; the motion carried. Tony suggested that the announcement of such online privileges by made by email with a hyperlink attachment.

Policy for Institutional Contributions — Dave Wise
A discussion revolved around providing a clear definition of the criteria for contributing members. George proposed that the Society increase the cost of membership in the top group of contributors, and that we should talk to donors concerning what is important to them in terms of recognition for their participation. The proposal was tabled until Council II.

Update on the Journal Contract negotiations — George Daston
Discussions are still ongoing, and there are plans to meet separately with Elsevier and Wiley during the week.

Results of Logo Survey — George Daston
Based on the web survey, the plan is to remodel the existing logo.
Motion: Tony moved that the Society pay four years of dues to compensate James Ricks for his efforts in designing one of the logos. Ken seconded the motion; the motion carried.

At 5:10 PM, Jan moved to adjourn the meeting.

 

 

 

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