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Annual Business Meeting

Loews Ventana Canyon Resort
Tucson, Arizona

June 28, 2006

 

The Annual Business Meeting of the Teratology Society was called to order by President Melissa Tassinari at approximately 5:10 PM. There were 47 regular members in attendance at the start of the meeting (Quorum reached when 35 members in attendance).


PRESIDENT’S REPORT
– Melissa Tassinari acknowledged those members leaving Council (K. Jones, Past President; G. Dearlove, Secretary; R. Parker, Council; B. Hales, Publication Committee Chair and T. Scialli, Public Affairs Committee Chair). Melissa reviewed the progress Council has made this past year in revising the Code of Ethics for the Society and in establishing Guidelines for the Journal. Council also created two new “awards” to honor members whose service to the Society has been unsurpassed. This year the Society implemented the Narsingh Agnish Fellowship in grateful recognition of all the years of hard work Dr. Agnish had given to the Education Course. The Society has also established the Robert L. Brent Lecture to acknowledge the years of service Dr. Brent has given to the Society, not only as Journal Editor but also for organizing the Teratogen Update Symposium each year.

Progress on the Society Strategic Plan was reviewed and the membership was informed that another planning session will be scheduled for 2007.

A new task force has been established within the Society whose mandate will be to work within the FASEB organization to try to make the Teratology Society more visible. The members of the task force are T. Knudsen, J. DeSesso, G. Daston, P. Mirkes and M. Tassinari.

A moment of silence was observed for Dr. R.W.Miller who passed away this past year. Dr. Miller was President of the Society from 1969-1970.


VICE PRESIDENT’S REPORT – Elaine Faustman reported that we had a full program this year and reminded the membership that the sessions on Thursday would start 7:30 AM. Dr. Faustman thanked the program committee for their tremendous program (Committee listed in program) and acknowledged the invaluable assistance of T. Masson and B. Rhame of the AIM office. The Society thanked the grant writing efforts of M. Collins, M. Shelby, T. Scialli and B. Rhame, acknowledged the Education Committee (see list provided in packet). There were 370 registrants for the meeting this year, and we had 132 abstracts, 65 posters and 58 platform presentations. This year the program committee worked to increase the interactions between NBTS and OTIS by increasing the number of joint scientific programs.


VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT’S REPORT – Tom Knudsen presented slides indicating that the meeting next year will be at the newly renovated Omni William Penn Hotel in Pittsburgh. The program finalization is targeted for August 1, and the new Program Committee has a good start. This early completion of the program should help in the writing of grant applications for support.


SECRETARY’S REPORT – George Dearlove announced that the campaign to “recapture” delinquent members who had not paid their dues last year was only partially successful. However, the attrition rate indicates that the Society will be around for the 50th anniversary in four years, but will probably not be around for a 60th unless something is done.

B. Brent suggested providing scholarships to attend the course for older members (a.k.a. the Agnish Fellowship that was established this year) and to reduce membership rates for older/retired members. The greatest loss in members is not from the ranks of the older members. Council is trying to evaluate demographics to see who is not renewing their membership (currently loss is very high in students who do not retain membership as they graduate) to work on retaining members in all stages of their careers.

G. Daston suggested this be one of the primary topics of the next Strategic Planning Session.


TREASURER’S REPORT – Ida Washington (presented by M. Tassinari) reported the current status of the Society financial figures for 2005.

Our total revenue and support …. $494,544
Our total expenses ………. $418,996
Our change in net assets …..…... $75,548

Our current Investments ………...$294,115

Three CDs at $131,537
Mutual Funds at $162,578

Our cash and cash equivalents….. $355,841
Our current accounts receivable…$123,147
Current Interest receivable……… $ 1,109
Prepaid Expenses ………………. $18,939

Our total current assets ………… $793,151

This total achieves the goal set by the Strategic Planning Session of bringing the cash reserves for a non-profit (i.e. the Teratology Society) to 1.5 times the annual operating budget. This number is recommended by accounting firms as the minimum reserves target for societies such as ours.

Council investment plan was reaffirmed this year. This plan would move forward with an investment plan that will put 25% of Society funds in higher yield/higher risk investments; 65% in fixed return/secure investments and 10% of funds will be retained as liquid investments to cover operating expenses.

M. Tassinari pointed out that Legg Mason was purchased by SmithBarney this year and the Society no longer has the account manager with whom we developed the investment strategy. Therefore, Council will look for a new investment assistance firm.

Note was made that a large part of the increase in Society funds was the direct result of the contributions from the Publisher-provided Royalty for the Journal. G. Daston was recognized as the individual responsible for this very favorable contract with Wiley-Liss.


PUBLICATIONS COMMITTEE REPORT – Barbara Hales acknowledged her committee for their efforts (listed names) and reported that the Journal Royalties this year were $119,675; the Wilson Publication Award Winner this year was Diana Jurlioff and the Wiley-Liss Symposium was a great success. The Code of Ethics and Journal Guidelines project was discussed and the individuals responsible for the new versions were thanked. Additionally, all regular members will still have electronic access to all three parts of the Journal through 2006 and we can expect the price of the Journal to remain constant until 2008 (at which time the subscription rate is expected to increase by $5.00 but the final cost are not yet set in stone most probably will be $75.00 for Part A or Part B with all receiving Part C, or $125 for those subscribing to all three parts).

P. Mirkes gave the Editors report Part A of the Journal. We have seen an increase in the number of manuscripts being submitted and an increase in percentage of foreign authors. The Commentaries were added to try to increase readership and to make the Journal timelier and to permit a little open discussion. The reviews have been included to increase usage of the Journal, the same as inclusion of Teratogen Update has increased usage. The current decision time for acceptance is under a month. Phil also presented a list of Society members who had published in BDR-A in 2005

G. Daston gave the Editors report Part B of the Journal. We have a new Associate Editor (K. Treinen) for the female reproductive toxicity papers. BDR-B has seen an increase in the number of manuscripts being submitted. The current acceptance rate is between 54 and 68%. We have made our page budget for 2005 and 2006. The reviews have been included in this issue as well to increase usage of the Journal. The current decision time for acceptance is approximately one month. George indicated that the current impact factor for the Journal was 1.2 (last year it was 1.0) and the goal for the next 12 months is to achieve an impact factor of 1.6 (equivalent to Reproductive Toxicology).

R. Tuan presented the BDR-C editors report. Rocky reviewed the goals of “C” – a review format Journal. A number of tables of contents were presented to indicate the scope of the reviews carried to date. Publication deadlines and getting authors to adhere to them are the most taxing parts of the editors’ job. Getting people to agree to publish a review in the Journal is getting easier as the reputation of the Journal goes up.


PUBLIC AFFAIRS COMMITTEEJanine Polifka reported for Tony Scialli that two position papers had been published this past year. One paper dealt with Maternal Obesity and Pregnancy and was published in BDR-A and the other paper was a statement on the success of varicella eradication campaign (also published in BDR-A). Some media attention was generated by each of these documents. For future position papers, the PAC will also prepare a media statement that can be released if/when any media attention is generated.

Three position papers in preparation will cover Clinical Trial Ethics (M. Schellpfeffer is lead author), Use of the Word “Safe” in Risk Assessments (T. Chambers is lead author) and a response to the article “The Future of Teratology is in Vitro” that was mailed to the membership (G. Daston is lead author).

The NIAAA sponsored course on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome at the Vancouver meeting has not been repeated. Attempts were made to generate local interest in similar programs prior to the meeting last year and this year. Next year we will try one more time (Pittsburgh meeting). Do we want this to become an annual FAS course, if we can get it to run in Pittsburgh? Should coordination be a function of the PAC or should that be delegated to a sub committee of NBTS, OTIS and Teratology? Can we generate a set of slides that would be available on the Web for all to use? Ideas will be presented to the next Council meeting for action.


NOMINATIONS AND ELECTIONS COMMITTEE REPORTDon Stump reported the results of the 2006 elections. All candidates were strongly supported by membership votes. The Vice President-Elect this year is Tina Chambers, the new Secretary is Deborah Hansen and the new Council Member is Karen Augustine.

Don thanked the members who ran against these individuals and asked that they continue to remain active in the Society.


STUDENT AFFAIRS COMMITTEE – Wafa Harrouk reported that we had 40 student/postdoc abstracts his year. The Society awarded 27 travel grants of $500 this year (2 students could not accept an award). Of the 27 awards, 18 were students and 9 were postdocs. The students need to update the Students Corner in the Web site and we will more clearly articulate the guidelines for the awards and their availability for student assistance. M. Collins has agreed to help with the grant writing again next year


EDUCATION COMMITTEE – Gloria Jahnke announced that the Vertebrate Embryology Continuing Education Course had more registrants than we had course books (142 participants including the speakers) and the Sunrise Mini-Course on Developmental Pharmacokinetics had a course record of 94 registrants.

Charles River Laboratories and Keith Robinson were acknowledged for providing the course books for both courses. The quality of both sets of materials was again outstanding. Covance, Haskell Laboratory and Gene Logic were acknowledged for supporting the refreshments.

The Committee is still looking for ideas for future course topics and members were urged to let the members know if they wanted to assist in the future. C. Lau will be the new Chair and S. Marty will assume the duties of Secretary for next year.


WEBSITE COMMITTEE – Robert Felix (report presented Ed Carney), that a great many of the website links had been modified, but more activity is needed by the members themselves in addition to the Web Master at UCSD.

The Primer has been put on the Website as a PDF document downloadable by chapter. This is in the members section of the Web.

The Web Committee is going to get the Positions Available section up and, hopefully, operational.

The long range goal is to make the Web site a communications hub for the Society. The committee is in need of students who are interested in helping with the Student part of the Web pages as well as the ongoing communications efforts.


MEMBERSHIP COMMITTEEAli Faqi pointed out the listing of new members for the year: 21 regular members, 3 associate members, 14 student members and 2 emeritus members.


BYLAWS COMMITTEEGeorge Clemens reported for the Committee and indicated that the major revisions that took place in 2004 (approved by membership vote in 2005) have been re-reviewed and minor grammatical “housekeeping” of “cosmetic” changes have been recommended to and approved by the Council. One new change is Section 5 will be submitted for vote by the membership this year.


NEW BUSINESS:

K. Filkins informed the members that the EPA has a new program on women’s health and environmental issues.

L.D. Wise stated that the IFTS has ceased to exist and wanted to alert Council so we did not pay the web maintenance fee in the future. Dave also indicated that the Teratology Society of Germany has volunteered to take the slides that are on the Web. (Council had already addressed these issues and the Society will maintain the slides. Council to address further at Council II)

L.D. Wise commented on the absence of meeting minutes on the Web (Meeting minutes for last year had recently been submitted for posting to the Web Committee so this item had already been addressed)

Meeting adjourned at approximately 6:00 PM.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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