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Teratology Society Council Meeting IB
LE CENTRE SHERATON
MONTREAL, QUEBEC, CANADA
JUNE 24, 2001

B. Kavlock called the meeting to order at 8:30 a.m.

All the same Council members were in attendance.

Teratology Editor Report - Lew Holmes reviewed the handouts that summarized Journal activities from the start of his five-year term. The charts indicated a steady rate of manuscript submission, but no dramatic increase as hoped (the Journal is stable but not growing). The number of labs sending in good manuscripts is small and many members continue to send manuscripts that would be appropriate for Teratology to other journals. The question of gaining increased manuscript submission was discussed. Lew described how the editorial staff had to work with a number of authors to get their manuscripts into acceptable shape for publication (this is quite time consuming for certain authors).

Lew reported that some changes have been instituted in the Journal. The Wilson Award ($1,500) for an innovative article is in the second year. Tom Shepard has agreed to write annual updates for Human Teratogens (in additions to the current Teratogen Update format) and Will Blackburn will do the same for Perinatal Pathology. Lew would also like a current topics section to cover areas of interest (one-page items to update current discussions or new items in the field) and maybe a section on meetings, hearings, etc to keep the membership informed.

One revision planned is to get the Wilson Award selection completed earlier (i.e., based on calendar year) so the winner can be announced in the Journal prior to the Annual Meeting. There was also discussion of the pros and cons of considering papers that had been accepted but were not yet published for the award. These in press papers were initially considered to expand the pool of papers being evaluated. The suggestion was made to restrict the manuscripts to those that are already in print to determine if they actually have an impact on Teratology. Changing the window for submissions to the calendar year should help to eliminate some of these concerns. Some discussion followed as to presentation of the award (to first author, to senior author, to lab presenting the work). Lew will work on developing firm guidelines to be published on the web site. The editorial staff is currently looking forward to reviewing more new technology papers. Lew noted there is a growing list of reviewers who are not returning manuscripts in an acceptable time frame (the office has to call and nag for review).

The question of review of papers in electronic format (pdf files) was brought up and Lew reported that Wiley-Liss has not provided the software required (promised two years ago).

The need to recruit a new editor was discussed and Lew agreed to write a job description to assist the search committee.

Web site Committee - L.D. Wise gave the report for the Committee. The web site has been redesigned and annual dues may now be paid electronically. As of the end of February, about 200 of the 365 paid members had availed themselves of this opportunity.

The web site also carries the Newsletter, book review, an awards list, and student interest areas. The membership directory will soon be on line also. This will be a draft listing so members can make revisions. Dave encouraged job descriptions be submitted for the frequent updates.

Education Committee - Kok-Wah Hew took a few minutes away from the Continuing Education Course to report to Council. The notebooks for the course cost $1731.05 (plus what ever we had to pay for last minute copies necessary for last minute additions to the course). Hew noted that $1,000 of these costs were covered by a contribution from the Eli Lilly Company. The course was oversubscribed this year and we had to close registration due to space constraints in the lecture hall. Hew recommended that the way to get premier scientist for speakers was to line them up very early. The program for next year should be fairly well established before the end of the meeting this year.

There was some discussion about putting the course outlines and reference lists on the web after the meeting this year. This was not adopted, as the course speakers were not informed before they presented and there may be copyright considerations. Similar concerns were expressed regarding the suggestion that the course materials be presented to participants as a CD-ROM next year. This would require mailing out well before the Annual Meeting and would preclude last minute up dates.

Council was asked to continue to search for a sponsor for the course books and may send out a fund raising letter specifically addressing the needs of Continuing Education.

The Education Committee expressed some concerns with the potential mini-course format being discussed for the Annual Meeting next year. They like the idea of the mini-course, but were concerned that responsibility would fall to the Education Committee or the subject matter could overlap and this would detract from the full course. Close coordination with the Program Committee will be required and B. Slikker agreed to make sure the concerns were addressed.

Hew will give J. Friedman a list of students recommended to be ad hoc members of the Education Committee.

Potential concern was raised regarding the need to obtain permission to use copyrighted photographs for the course notebooks. This may be an issue to address in the future.

Hew said the format may be changed for next year's course. The Committee is considering adding a panel discussion, and other changes. Donna Farmer will be the new Chair of the Committee but will not be able to present the new format to Council II meeting, as she has to leave the meeting early. B. Slikker will present the material for the Committee.

Student Affairs Report was e-mailed in by Craig Harris. The travel award this year will combine funds from the NIH grant with those collected from the Corporate Sponsors, and the membership. Each student will receive $900. Discussion ensued regarding the changing amount of the award from year to year. T. Knudsen would prefer the Society to set a standard figure (e.g., $500) and stick to it so coverage in that amount would be available in lean years (e.g., NIH meeting grant not funded) as well as in good years with plenty of funding. This would provide a buffer that could be carried forward each year to guarantee adequate funding for student travel in the future.

Further discussion of student competition followed. Council determined that guidelines were required for presentations as well as for applying for travel awards. These guidelines should be put on the web site. Given the high visibility of the judging, the need to ensure equity across the posters and platform presentations, and the requisite interactions with MARTA and NBTS in determining which presentations will receive the recognition awards, the Student Affairs Committee will need to communicate frequently amongst themselves and with the Executive Director and the Chair of the Program Committee. The new Chair of the Committee will be asked to consider these issues and determine how best to address them.

Public Affairs Committee Report - Ken Jones reported that the Committee had put together a symposium to deal with the FDA's efforts to prevent birth defects and had been able to get three speakers from the FDA in addition to Tony Scialli. Ken also noted that a consensus paper on Thalidomide was published in the Journal, and the paper on alcohol is almost ready for release. Ken suggested a small budget should be considered to pay for the Committee to meet when they have major wording issues on a position paper. The meeting could be face-to-face, via video conferencing or by conference call, any of which would be preferable to trading e-mails about contentious issues. J. Rogers and K. Jones need to discuss requirements for budgetary purposes.

The Committee prepared a letter to the editor of JAMA that was very time consuming, but has already generated a broad response from the scientific community. The recent Committee activity regarding controversial papers has been reduced due to other commitments, not due to lack of papers needing attention.

Ken requested the Society ask people with issues to contact the Committee directly and that the newsletter put out a press release when the position papers are submitted for publication.

Three members need to be replaced on the Committee this year and Tina Chambers will be the new chair.

Fraser Committee Report - was presented in absentia by Sid Hunter. The winner for this year was M. Cunningham. The members will receive this information on a flyer in their registration packets. Sid noted that there is no current database to indicate the last date of formal training for the membership, so selection of individuals within the ten-year time limitation is difficult. All Society members are to be polled for nominees (with the exception of the nominations from Council, none were forthcoming from the membership this year). T. Masson will look into the costs of capturing this information in the future.

Nominations & Elections Committee - Tina Chambers presented the vote counts for the recent election. The new Vice President-Elect is Shelley Tyl; John Rogers was re-elected to the Treasurer position and the new Councilor is Patrick Wier. Tina suggested that some form of information capture be devised so future committees will be able to rely on data when recruiting candidates rather than memories. Council agreed that this was a good suggestion and T. Masson will discuss how to capture these data with T. Chambers.

Membership Committee Report - was presented in absentia for Sid Hunter. The new member list was distributed and the membership will vote on these individuals at the business meeting. Sid questioned what happened to all the applications from the SOT. Council will devise a better tracking system before the tabletop display is sent out again. A number of the applicants are still completing the process and should be voted on before the end of summer.

Old Business: L. D. Wise reported that he and Tom Knudsen visited the Teratology Society Historical Archives at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. The archives have been neglected recently (no Society information has been added since 1988; only continuing education course books were added between 1988 and 1992 and there have been no additions since 1992). Dave suggested that if Council wanted to maintain the archives and possibly utilize them in the future, then we should consider forming an Historical Committee whose responsibility would be to fix, maintain and up grade the archives. Minutes, notes, photographs, etc could be sent to TSHQ for collation and placement in the archives. Dave reported that R. Jensh would be happy to function as the Society Historian and take over these duties. J. Friedman will discuss this possibility with Ron.

The Handbook of Teratology appears to need revitalization. The text needs editing, updating and publication. There is some possibility that Pfizer may support putting the Handbook on line. J. Friedman will discuss with B. Hales to see if six months would be an appropriate time frame to complete the work and get the references updated.

Council discussed the recent decline of IFTS activity and B. Kavlock asked us to consider ways that the US Teratology Society might help rejuvenate the federation.

Job advertising on the web site and in the newsletter were discussed. Council determined that advertising should be free to our corporate sponsors and sustaining members (minimum contributions of $750). Consultants are to be asked to pay $25 per year to advertise, CROs will be requested to pay $100 per year and Teratology Society members will not be charged.

Meeting adjourned at 12:00 Noon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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