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Council Meeting I-A

TradeWinds Island Grand Resort
St. Pete Beach, Florida
June 25, 2005


Attending – At the beginning of the pre-meeting Council meeting, a quorum was represented by voting members K. Jones, President; M. Tassinari, Vice President; G. Dearlove, Secretary; I. Washington, Treasurer and K. Filkins, Councilor. Non-voting members D. Hansen, Chairperson, Publications Committee and T. Masson, Executive Secretary were also present. A. Scialli, Chairperson of the Public Affairs Committee arrived after presenting the Thomas H. Shepherd Lecture at the OTIS meeting.

K. Jones rescheduled the Council Agenda Presentations in order to permit time for Council members not yet in attendance to complete their travel to the meeting.



M. Tassinari indicated that the meeting attendance this year was good. There were approximately 50 pre-registrants for the OTIS meeting, approximately 84 pre-registrants for the combined NBTS/BTS meeting and approximately 320 pre-registrants for the Teratology meeting.

All Council members were asked to gather input from the membership regarding placement of the poster session in the middle of the day (rather than in the evening) at this year’s meeting. This was done in order to provide a free evening for the attendees.

Council was requested to encourage as many members as possible to attend the National Children’s Study Update session to be held at noon on Wednesday. This program has a new director (Peter Scheidt) and the Society should not only introduce itself to him, but also encourage his actively looking for ways that we may obtain funding from the program for support of Society efforts.

Council was also asked to again encourage members to fill out their surveys about the meeting. M. Tassinari will present the summarized results of last year’s survey so people realize the surveys are actually evaluated and considered by Council.



Dr. Washington presented the results of her discussion with Jason Harris of Legg Mason (our investment broker). J. Harris and I. Washington discussed ways for the Society to increase our reserves to one and one-half times the annual operating budget. J. Harris feels this may be accomplished within two to three years with an asset allocation that retains 65% of the assets in fixed income (e.g. Certificates of Deposit) and places the remaining 35% in slightly higher risk investments wit corresponding slightly higher rate of return (e.g. Mutual Funds such as the Royce Fund). These funds are back-end loaded and recent growth has been approximately 12%. The funds may be added to in increments as small as $100.

With a yearly operating budget of approximately $400,000, and a cash account that requires up to $100,000 to pay expenses when they come in, Council determined that 65% in fixed assets was acceptable, but the percentage invested in growth funds should be a little lower than recommended. Council determined that 25% would be appropriate, with the remaining 10% of the funds available as money market cash accounts to pay the bills.

The annual Royalty from Wiley Liss was discussed. Some of these funds are earmarked for student travel support, and a portion of the remainder could be relegated to investments. Council will need to discuss this option at the interim Council meeting. The membership should be informed of these actions, especially now that the NIH funding for travel has been reduced. We want to demonstrate to the membership we are investing the Journal Royalties in future members (students) and not just paying for the Annual Meeting Budget with these funds.

Ways in which Council and the Society could increase corporate contributions were discussed. The Society needs to change its approach to corporate funding. The various contributors need to see what they will gain from an increased contribution. This will require input from the PAC and the Outreach Committee which will be appointed at a later date. Council to discuss possible changes prior to next year.



D. Hansen provided a written report that contained the editor’s summaries of activity for the year. Discussion regarding some potential page number issues followed. P. Mirkes (BDR-A) had expressed concern that publication of the CDC Surveillance Report in the October issue may, at some point, “crowd out” research papers. This is not the case currently, but Council will consider asking the CDC to publish this document (and pay for the publication) as a supplement in the future. Discussion followed regarding what was considered a “good epidemiology paper” and whether Part A was running out of pages for significant research publications.

The $117,600+ Royalty from Wiley Liss for the Journal this year was discussed. R. Tuan has suggested possible ways to invest the funds in an outreach program for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. Council will consider this suggestion at a future meeting.



The creation of a new category of membership called “Distinguished Fellow” (handout provided by R. Tyl) was discussed. The requirements were reviewed and agreed upon. Presentation of this new membership classification will occur at the issues session (K. Jones to present for membership input).

IFTS Update was presented by T. Masson. The cost of hosting a Web page is estimated to be $100 per month ($50/month for the site and $50/month for the data base). Council determined to pay the $1200 fee one more year and to invite the President of the European Teratology Society to Council II to seek his input.



T. Scialli explained that position papers are signed by the committee as a whole and unanimous approval of committee members is required prior to publication for each document. These documents are then sent to Council for peer review (not for revisions and editorial changes). Council peer review is required because the Journal Editor accepts the position papers for publication as submitted. A majority vote of Council is required to approve submission of the position paper to BDR-A or BDR-B for publication.

The position paper on Obesity should be ready for Council review in two to three months. The position paper on the ethics of testifying in being discussed and a decision should be available shortly. This position paper will not seek to define qualifications as an “expert” in the filed.

T. Scialli provided a written outline/report dealing with an issue the PAC wants to take up: The Appropriate Risk Communication and the Concept of Drug “Safety” in Pregnancy. This position paper may be expanded to include other misused terms (e.g. “risk” and “potent”). Due to some recent concerns about PAC position papers, the Committee asked for Council input prior to investing time in drafting this document. Council approved moving forward with the approach discussed in the outline provided (available in meeting files).


STRATEGIC PLAN MATRIX – handout provided

The matrix was discussed and Council was requested to review and provide definitions and goals to enable the matrix to be used as a working document in the future. Council was to review and provide input for Council II.

SHAC THREAT – review of the potential threat from the Animal Rights group, SHAC, was reviewed and the addition of off duty police officers to the meeting was clarified. To date, there have been no issues. Many of these individuals are probably in San Francisco at the Stem Cell meetings.

FINANCIAL AUTHORIZATION – the signature limit for T. Masson to sign on checks for Teratology Society business was discussed. The current limit is too low, and a second signature is required too often.

Motion – The Executive Director of the Teratology Society, or any person identified on the signature authorization card (President, Vice President, Treasurer) or an AIM representative designated by the Executive Director, will have check signing authority for up to $5,000.00 without requiring a second signature.” Approved



The minutes of the June 16, 2005 Conference call were revised and accepted as amended.

Council I-A was Recessed. Council I-B will reconvene at 5:15 pm with a working dinner.







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