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Council I-A Minutes

Vancouver, BC

June 26 , 2004 (0900 hr)


Council Members in Attendance: R. Tyl, President; K. Jones, Vice President; G. Dearlove, Secretary; J. Graham and R. Parker, Councilors (quorum requirement) and T. Masson, Executive Director. Wm. Slikker, Past President and J. Rogers, Treasurer arrived at 0915 hr; R. Miller, Chair of the Publication Committee at 1020 hr; M. Tassinari, Vice President-elect was delayed in transit and P. Wier was excused. C. Chambers, Chair of Public Affairs Committee had duties with OTIS and was unable to attend the early morning session.

Minutes from Interim Council Conference Call (June 10, 2004) were reviewed and approved following the correction of NIAA to NIAAA.

President’s Report: R. Tyl
presented an update on Society progress in complying with the goals set forth in the 2002 Strategic Planning Session.

  1. Improvement of the Annual Meeting is an ongoing process. Shelley urged Council to be diligent in getting attendees input for the Annual Meeting evaluation sheets this year. Council will carry sheets through the meeting to get Members input. This is in addition to the forms that are present in the registration package.
  2. The Society should use its diversity to our advantage (a strength, not a weakness). To address this fact, an Ad Hoc Committee of all the different “groups” within the Society should be formed to further this goal. K. Jones will Chair this Ad Hoc Committee to discuss how to create a consensus of opinions to be a strong point of the Society (e.g. position papers).
  3. The Web site is probably utilized or not based on Membership age category. The Committee needs to reinforce membership usage of the site and add a “hit counter” to determine actual usage, if possible. This will permit a more accurate determination of Web site activity. We need to further our contacts with other Societies to gain “linkage” from their sites to ours.
  4. The Journal is doing extremely well. The Membership Committee will be requested to follow up with authors who are not currently members in the Society. R. Parker and R. Miller to draft a letter to be sent to non-member authors.
  5. Education courses are doing well. The workshop for local teachers (part of our Outreach Program) should be incorporated into each future meetings (if possible) as a function of the Public Affairs Committee.
  6. Our long term plans are not well communicated to the membership. Council needs to add some metrics to our evaluation process when determining if we are reaching our stated goals. We need to have an accurate record of how we spent money on Outreach and how that impacted the overall budget in the long run. An Ad Hoc Committee to evaluate funding needs in conjunction with OTIS, NBTS and BTS (determine long range plans of who to speak to when seeking funds, who to write grant applications, etc). Committee to be Chaired by G. Dearlove and to incorporate Officers from OTIS, NBTS and BTS for best results.
  7. Current Committee SOPs need to be drafted and approved by Council. These should be reviewed annually for Committee efficiency and appropriateness. The SOPs should include, where possible, short term, midterm and long term goals.
  8. IFTS Representative: names were suggested and prioritized and Shelley will contact them to determine who would be willing to serve as the IFTS representative for the Teratology Society. This position does not have financial support from the Society.


Vice President/Program Committee: K. Jones reported that the Continuing Education course registration was good but the mini course registration was down from the previous year. Discussion followed to indicate that the previous year may have been abnormally high; the registration this year is about normal.

The number of Co-sponsored Symposium this year is increased and should bring in more scientific areas of research than previously enjoyed by the Society. The National Children’s Study update will be given by C. Kimmel, and the Perinatal Epidemiology Symposium is part of the Outreach program.

The number of government attendees is low this year, presumably due to constraints on budgets as well as the prospect of foreign travel restrictions. Both items should be taken into consideration when site selection for future meetings takes place.

One additional Sponsored event has been added to the materials in the package. WIL has agreed to sponsor the Poster Sessions ($3,000 extra to add to meeting revenue).

The meeting with Exhibitors will take place on Tuesday from 4:00 – 5:00. This meeting will bring the exhibitors up to speed on Council plans to limit floor space at future meetings.

The program will feature a Special Lecture again this year. Judy Hall will make the presentation on Fetal Determinants of long term health.

Ken reminded Council that the Society must work more closely with OTIS in program preparation in the future. OTIS should function as the Clinical Arm of the Society. They are currently getting calls about human health issues (rather than the Society, e.g. Anthrax, West Nile Virus). These calls should also encompass Teratology Society input. There is currently not sufficient benefit from our affiliation with OTIS. To achieve this mutual benefit, Council most consider ways to lower the “costs of the relationship” and we must work harder to bring the two organizations closer together.

Consideration must again be given to having one registration for OTIS/TS/NBTS. We have three groups, each with a separate registration fee, separate program committees and separate social functions. Although this was discussed three years ago, it may be time to approach the other Societies again because there is already significant overlap in meeting preparations.

At the break, K. Jones had to leave due to prior commitments with OTIS and R. Miller joined the Council meeting.

Secretary’s Report: G. Dearlove presented the membership figures comparing 2001, 2002 and 2004 membership dues payments. There is an unmistakable trend towards loss of dues-paying members that is not offset by influx of new members. This trend is also being exacerbated by the increase in number of retired members who are opting for Emeritus Status. Discussion followed and Council members were requested to review the names of individuals on the Delinquent Dues Lists and to come to Council II meeting with a list of those individuals whom each Council member would contact.

The lack of Society participation in the display and recognition of the Teratology Table Top Display at the SOT Specialty section was noted. The display will only be put up at the Teratology Meetings in the immediate future.

Clarifications to the eligibility requirements for the F. Clarke Fraser Young Investigator Award were discussed and the criteria were revised as follows:

Criteria for the award include being an active full or associate member in the Teratology Society with demonstrable evidence of an independent research career. Such evidence may be demonstrated by authorship of quality publications in peer-reviewed journals, by obtaining funding for research endeavors, by establishing a teaching program with active graduate student participation, or by being generally recognized as an expert in the field. Individuals working in academia, government, and industry will be equally eligible to compete for this award. Candidates must be within ten years of the date their last formal training in a field directly related to the disciplines of Birth Defects, Developmental Biology, Epidemiology or Teratology (e.g., degree conferral, fellowship, residency program, etc.) and must be nominated by a member of the Teratology Society. Letters of nomination should be sent to the chair of the Awards Committee and should include past accomplishments of the candidate, current research interests and projects, and information on how the nominator believes the candidate's career will advance discovery in birth defects research.

Executive Director’s Report: T. Masson presented a proposal from the Education Committee that would permit members of the Committee to register for the continuing education course without paying the registration fee. Motion approved.

Discussion regarding access to the membership directory through the web site vs publication of the directory in one of the issues of the Journal followed. Council felt that updating the capabilities of the web site to permit members to download a pdf file of the directory was preferable to using up publication space in the Journal. AIM will provide, upon written request, a copy of the directory for those Society members who are unable to download and print the directory from the web site.
Council requested that a tracking system be added to permit the Society to track downloads. This may require the addition of another password level of access. R. Felix will be asked to look into this possible application.

T. Masson discussed the new database being developed by AIM for the Society. There are a number of demographic items that may be tracked and Council was given various options and asked to add input to the lists. All comments were to be returned to AIM by the 15th of September for collation prior to the Interim Council meeting. The Publication and Public Affairs Committees will also be asked to comment.

Treasurer’s Report: J. Rogers presented the fiscal year 2003 with four attachments: the consolidated Balance Sheets and Profit/Loss Statements for fiscal year 2003 and for January 1 through April 30, 2004.

Balance Sheet 2003
The bottom line on the 2003 Balance Sheet shows a change in total assets from $500,884 at year end 2002 to $534,624 at year-end 2003, for a 6.74% increase in net assets. This is reasonably good news given current rates of returns on fixed investments and our continuing struggle to maintain membership dues and contributions. Our investments through Legg Mason at year end totaled $237,915 in CDs and $92,583 in mutual funds, along with $1231 cash balance. For FY 2003, assets at Legg Mason in total netted 5.14%.

Profit/Loss Statement 2003
Total income for FY 2003 was $455,574, 106% of budget, while total expenses were $436,764, 99% of budget. So, while we had projected a deficit budget with net ordinary income of ($10,795) for FY 2003, we ended up in the black, with net ordinary income of $18,810. Add to that total our Legg Mason investment income of $16,201, and we have a bottom line net income of $35,010 for FY 2003, compared to $40,727 for FY 2002.

Total contribution income was up in FY 2003, to $96,313 from $50,551 in FY 2002.

While the news overall is good, there are concerns. Both Sustaining Member and regular member dues were down for FY 2003 compared to FY 2002. Total membership dues for FY 2003 came in at $68,195, 89% of budget and about $5500 less than FY 2002. We are well aware of this issue, but continued effort is needed to bolster membership.

Balance Sheet through April, 2004
Total assets as of April 30 were $628,248, compared to $555,945 at the same time in 2003. Total Investment assets at Legg Mason are $330,808, compared to $323,581 on April 30, 2003. A major item to point out is the Journal Royalty of $99,952, which appears under accounts receivable but represents the amount received in 2003. It is hopeful that the royalty will remain at this level.

Profit/Loss Statement through April, 2004
As of April 30 we had received only 51% of projected contributions, which may be a problem this year. Both Sustaining and regular membership dues are also below budget by about 10%.

Discussion followed and the report was approved.

Publication Committee Report: R. Miller provided Council with summaries of the progress made by the three component parts of the Journal as viewed by the three respective Editors (P. Mirkes, G. Daston and R. Tuan each had written reports included in the package).

The update on manuscript flow was very encouraging.

The main points to be made at the Business Meeting are:

  • There will be no increase in subscription fee this year for members
  • BDR Parts A, B and C will remain available to all members electronically this year
  • All previous issues of Teratology will become available electronically
  • Color pages are still being offered at no cost
  • Advertising space will soon become available
  • Our Royalty (guarantee of $50,000) was actually $99,952
  • The Impact Factor cannot be determined until at least two years after launch
  • All three parts are receiving electronic hits for downloads
  • Immediacy Index for parts A and B are encouraging.

The Wilson Award was selected from papers submitted to both Part A and Part B of the Journal. All the reviewers read all the finalist papers and the winning paper (Tang and Finnell, Neural and Orofacial Defects in Folbp1 Knockout Mice) was from Part A. This paper also has had the most hits of any paper to date (462). The most electronic hits over all is for the Neural Crest and Cardiovascular Development review in Part C (635).

Old Business:
CME status update. M. Tassinari and D. Shuey have been reviewing the materials required for Teratology to offer CME Units. There is a great deal of work required to qualify, and we may need a specific Ad Hoc Committee to follow through.

Meetings with other related Societies was to be an item for the Issues Forum. P. Wier is sending a power point presentation and M. Tassinari will present the concept and a Questionnaire to the membership at the Business Meeting. Further discussions were tabled until Council II so the new Council members and officers would be present. At that meeting we will also have an officer from SPER present to discuss the joint symposium this year and our commitment to the SPER meeting next year.

Meeting adjourned so Council could attend the CE course if desired.







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