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Council Meeting II

Loews Ventana Canyon Resort
Tucson, Arizona

June 29, 2006


Attending – The post-meeting Council Meeting was attended by President E. Faustman, Vice President T. Knudsen, Vice President-elect T. Chambers, Past President M. Tassinari, Secretary D. Hansen, Councilors E. Carney and K. Filkins, Executive Director T. Masson, and J. Polifka, Chairperson of the Public Affairs Committee. Councilor K. Augustine participated by conference call. K. Jones attended briefly to discuss the progress of the Diversity Committee. The meeting was called to order by President E. Faustman at 11:11 AM.

Diversity Committee

K. Jones was present to discuss the Diversity Committee which, after consideration of various alternatives, was renamed as the Scientific Diversity Committee. Its members consist of: K. Jones, J. Adams, T. Chambers, E. Faustman, K.-W. Hew, M. Tassinari, S. Tyl, J. Wubah, T. Knudsen, W. Harrouk, A. Correa-Villasenor, B. Kelman, R. Brown and O. Soldin. They held a committee meeting during the Annual Meeting and discussed their mission statement, vision and goals. Their mission statement is: To formally recognize and celebrate the scientific diversity and the interdisciplinary nature of the Teratology Society members working together to understand and prevent birth defects. Their vision for the Society is to be the premier scientific society of developmental and reproductive toxicity dedicated to understanding and preventing birth defects and other adverse reproductive outcomes. Their goals are: 1) to recognize the value of and to facilitate the interaction of Teratology Society members from governmental, academic and industrial sectors; and 2) to facilitate interactions of Teratology Society members over the wide range of our disciplines (molecular, cellular, organ, system biology, bioinformatics, - omics, cell signaling, clinical and preclinical human and animal models, dysmorphology, etc). They will work on their next steps for the next 6-8 months and hope to have something prior to the Strategic Planning Meeting and possibly by the interim Council meeting. They felt that it would be helpful if the chairs of symposia at the Annual Meeting would indicate how the symposium relates to the goals of the Society at the beginning of the symposium; Ken used the Wiley-Liss microRNA symposium as an example. They felt that communication was important and that the website would be crucial in this regard. They felt that Council needed to give direction to the website committee and suggested 3 Council members (T. Chambers, M. Tassinari and E. Faustman) work with the website committee. A discussion ensued about the website with suggestions that Committees communicate with the website committee on what they would like to see on the website. Ken also stated that the Action Points for the Scientific Diversity Committee included a need to identify other Committees with whom they need to interact.

Annual Meeting Feedback

E. Faustman welcomed the new members of Council. She indicated that most of the feedback that she had gotten concerning the Annual Meeting was very positive. The program was packed, and T. Knudsen indicated that he felt that some sessions were under-attended. Part of that may have been due to the large rooms and a discussion ensued concerning splitting the rooms. It was pointed out that splitting a room would require twice as much AV equipment which can get very expensive. Another negative point for this meeting was the difficulty in getting to Tucson for many members. Since it is a smaller airport, there are few direct flights, and bad weather made connections difficult. There were some negative comments concerning the MARTA student mixer. Some students complained that there was an imbalance in the disciplines represented, and the ratio of members to students was too high. Council discussed the possibility of allowing students to have their own event, and to give them a small budget for such an event which could be held early in the meeting so the students get a chance to meet each other. This was the second year for an outside invited speaker (Jean Campbell from NORD) and most felt that this was another positive move for the annual meeting. A link to NORD and ORD on our website may be initiated. A couple of possible outside speakers for next year’s meeting were mentioned (Hugh Tilson and Christine Shields from Merck who could discuss pregnancy registries).

2007 Meeting Planning

It was mentioned that too many students showed unnecessary slides of animals; this is inappropriate and something needs to be added to the guidelines to discourage this at future meetings. More information needs to be given to individuals organizing symposia so they understand what’s expected of them. The status of emeritus membership needs to be addressed again. Several symposia have been suggested for the 2007 meeting, including bioinformatics, epigenetics (J. Rogers), Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, genetic and environmental risk factors, personalized medicine in pregnancy and childhood (B. Slikker) and prenatal drug use (T. Scialli). It was also suggested that a symposium for contract lab personnel be included. B. Fisher also suggested a symposium on the use of non-human primates; it was discussed that there may not be a lot of interest in such a symposium and also since the meeting will be held in a larger city, we prefer not to attract animal rights groups. So this idea will probably be shelved for next year. A time for a Forum for the Strategic Plan will need to be set aside. There was a discussion about holding the Fetal Alcohol Syndrome course for high school teachers again as was done in the past. They have tried to organize one at the last few meetings, but because there was no local individual to champion this cause, it has not worked out. It was suggested that maybe we could get K. Sulik to participate again as she did previously. K. Filkins knows someone at Pitt (Betsy Gettig) who may be able to give us a better idea if such a course will work in Pittsburg. Two joint sessions with OTIS and BTS will be held again next year. It was suggested that we try to hold a joint platform session with OTIS next year; this will have to occur before their meeting ends on Tuesday afternoon. Next the issue of obtaining CME credits for the meeting to encourage attendance by MDs was discussed. We tried to do that this year, but attached is a letter from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists indicating several of the shortcomings of our proposal. If we are to obtain accreditation for CMEs, the final program must be available 4 months before the meeting, the sessions for CME credits must be clearly delineated (these can’t be concurrent sessions) and the symposia must be renamed such that the program will read (for example) “MicroRNAs in Development” sponsored by Wiley-Liss rather than The Wiley-Liss Symposium – MicroRNAs in Development. E. Faustman will send T. Knudsen the letters that were sent to ACOG this year in an attempt to obtain accreditation, and T. Knudsen will look at the meeting schedule to identify sessions that might be appropriate for accreditation. The plan is to submit a proposal to ACOG again this year.

Priorities for 2007
E. Faustman indicated that we need ideas on how to engage the membership in the strategic planning session. It was suggested that we update what has been done against what we wanted to do and to communicate that to the membership. M. Tassinari agreed to update the grid by the Interim Council meeting in Oct. A projected time line is to have the interim Council meeting on Oct. 19-20 with the Strategic Planning meeting to be held in March, 2007 followed by a report to the membership at the 2007 meeting. By the Oct. Interim Council meeting, E. Faustman wants input from all standing committees and membership. It was pointed out that facilitators would like to have input into the type of information obtained from the committees and membership, so it is important to identify the facilitator early in the process. Several Council members indicated that they have names of potential facilitators that will be sent to T. Knudsen. So the steps will be: 1) identify the facilitator, 2) summarize where we are with relation to where we wanted to be as a result of the last strategic planning meeting, 3) get input from committees, and 4) get input from general membership. It was suggested to add a link on our website for information on the strategic planning process.

As for other communication, E. Faustman wants to restart the newsletter with 4 issues per year. Issues will contain updates from committees, a message from the Society President, and possibly a short teratogen update from B. Brent. It was discussed whether this would be an internal or external type of communication. An email could be sent to membership with the table of contents of the newsletter which would be on the website. An issue should go out soon after the Annual Meeting summarizing the meeting. An editorial committee made up of E. Faustman, C. Kimmel, K. Filkins and D. Hansen will be set up to help with this.

Next the issue of fund raising was brought up. In the past, the Society has been very lucky in getting corporate support for the meeting. But current funding problems have seen companies sending fewer members to meetings and some individuals who have been very helpful in obtaining corporate support in the past are now retiring. So the Society needs to consider other possibilities. It was suggested that we need contacts and back-up contacts for each of our corporate supporters and we need infrastructure to continue to apply for grant funding (which was greatly increased this year over past years). It was suggested to have the Finance Committee set up a subcommittee to develop a fund-raising strategy. This subcommittee should include individuals who have been successful in business to help with future financial planning. It was also suggested to examine the demographics of meeting attendance for the last 5 years as well as to have the Membership Committee look into the demographics of membership (who’s joining?, who’s leaving?). T. Masson pointed out that a new member database will be in place soon which will allow members to check their records to see if they’ve paid their dues. It will also have constraints so that members who have not paid dues will not be able to register for the meeting at member rates and will not be allowed access to certain parts of the website. M. Tassinari also pointed out that some Associate Editors are behind in their dues and that this should probably be pointed out to the Editors.

Possible Meeting Sites – 2009, 2010

T. Masson updated Council on possible meeting sites for the 2009 meeting. The 2008 Annual Meeting will be held in Monterey, CA at a Hyatt hotel, and Hyatt has offered incentives if the meeting is held at a Hyatt hotel in 2009. Possibilities include Naples, FL, Orlando, FL ($159/night), Minneapolis, MN, Jacksonville, FL, St. Louis, MO ($159/night), San Antonio, TX ($194/night) or Puerto Rico ($159/night). Possible sites for the 50th Annual Meeting in 2010 were also discussed. After a lengthy discussion, T. Knudsen moved that the 2009 Annual Meeting be held in Puerto Rico and that a Society historical-based location be examined for 2010. The motion was seconded by J. Polifka and passed unanimously.

The Interim Council meeting was set for Oct. 19-20 at a location to be determined later. A series of conference calls was set up. The schedule is as follows, and all calls will occur at 9 AM (Eastern time) / 6 AM (Pacific time):

September 29
October 16
December 8
January 12
February 9
March 9
April 13
May 11
June 8

The Strategic Planning Meeting is tentatively scheduled for March, 2007. There were 18 members who participated in the last meeting in addition to Council members. There was also discussion on whether or not the Strategic Planning Meeting could be held in conjunction with the SOT meeting in Charlotte next March. This will be determined at a later date.

Other Business
D. Hansen was named as Council liaison for the Membership Committee, and K. Augustine was named as liaison for the Student Affairs Committee.

The Education Committee has asked for permission to add 2 ad hoc members who are appointed by the chair. This was approved by Council. T. Knudsen moved that C. Lau be nominated to serve as Chair of the Education Committee, that J. Friedman be asked to fill the vacant slot and that T. Leazer be asked to join the Committee contingent upon E. Lammer’s decision on his future participation on the Committee. M. Tassinari seconded the motion which passed unanimously.

The Publications Committee will have M. Collins as Chair and M. Hurtt as Vice-Chair in 2007. E. Francis or S. Makris will be asked to fill one vacant slot on the Committee, and L. Winn, J. Uriu-Adams or J. Wubah will be asked to fill the other vacant slot.

The Nominations Committee will consist of D. Stump as Past-Chair, S. Makris as Chair, R. York and L. Holmes. M. Tassinari moved that these individuals be approved as members of the Nominations Committee. T. Chambers seconded the motion which passed unanimously.

B. Parker will be asked to fill a term on the Membership Committee.

E. Carney pointed out that a couple of new people had joined the Website Committee.

M. Tassinari moved to adjourn the meeting. T. Chambers seconded the motion which passed unanimously. The meeting was adjourned at 3:50 PM.

Minutes Approved October 3, 2006.







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