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Council Meeting I-B

Omni William Penn Hotel
Pittsburgh, PA
June 23, 2007

Participating:  E. Faustman, T. Knudsen, D. Hansen, T. Chambers, I. Washington, E. Carney, K. Filkins, M. Tassinari, M. Collins and J. Polifka.  Also attending the meeting were P. Bittner, B. Hales and D. Shuey and T. Masson.  The meeting was called to order at 5:18  PM (EDT).

A task force will be established to begin plans for the 50th Annual Meeting to be held in Louisville in 2010.  Possible task force members include Ed Carney, Bill Scott, Clarke Fraser, George Daston and Tom Knudsen.  There was also some discussion about having some sort of commemorative gift. 

The next issue was a discussion of how outside speakers are treated at the meeting.  Currently there are no guidelines for interactions between outside speakers and Society members.  This item will be referred to the Annual Meeting Working Group.

Publications Committee Report:  Michael Collins presented the Publications Committee report.  One of the first items that the Committee did was to decide on the topic of the Wiley-Liss Symposium for this year’s meeting.  The topic is Molecular Clocks, and there is a lot of excitement and anticipation from Committee members on this topic.  The Committee also faced the task of finding a new editor for Part A of the journal when Phil Mirkes decided to step down.  An ad hoc committee was formed for the Editor search, and that committee will have a recommendation for Council’s consideration.  The final item handled by the Committee this year was the selection of the James G. Wilson Publication Award winner.  Fourteen excellent papers were reviewed by the Committee, and after two votes and a conference call, the paper by Claudine P. Torfs entitled “Selected gene polymorphisms and their interaction with maternal smoking, as risk factors for gastroschisis.”

Public Affairs Committee Report:  Janine Polifka presented the Public Affairs Committee report.  The Committee had submitted a position paper on the pregnancy labeling issue.  Michael Collins moved that the paper be accepted; T. Chambers seconded the motion which passed unanimously.  They have also drafted a paper on the ethics of participating in litigation.  There was some discussion as to the appropriateness of this topic.  It was decided that the paper should be more educational in nature and should be more of a discussion of how to be an expert witness. 

Elaine Faustman thanked the members rotating off of Council: M. Tassinari, K. Filkins, J. Polifka, and M. Collins.  As a token of the Society’s appreciation she presented them with a mug containing the Society logo.

2008 Meeting Update:  Tina Chambers presented a quick overview of the status of the 2008 Annual Meeting.  A number of suggested topics for symposia have been submitted; some of these were presented in more detail than others.  The Program Committee will be making decisions shortly and are aware of the early deadlines in an effort to get CMEs from ACOG.

Committee Chairs joined the meeting, and Melissa Tassinari presented the overview of the Strategic Planning Session.  Elaine asked each of the Chairs to consider which of the Working Groups from the Strategic Intents would be the most appropriate ‘home’ for their Committee.

Membership Committee Report:  Michael O’Hara presented the Membership Committee report.  This year, 15 regular, 4 associate, 17 student and 1 emeritus members were accepted.  A review of demographic data suggested that the Society is losing members from the industry sector, possibly in part due to mergers and to financial constraints of companies requiring that their employees attend only one meeting each year.  Additionally, in some cases, the company may pay membership dues for their employees, and this may explain the drop in membership as well as the decline in meeting attendance.  At this time, the only function of the Committee is to review applications for new members; however, this role will expand in light of the Strategic Planning Session.  Currently there are 3 members are on this Committee for a 3 year term, and they serve as Chair during their final year.  It is believed that this committee could have additional responsibilities and may need to be larger in size.  This Committee will be assigned to the Membership Working Group.

Student Affairs Committee Report:  No one was present from the Student Affairs Committee.  Tonia indicated that 32 travel awards were presented this year.  Tom Knudsen indicated that the Committee needed a way to screen the student abstracts to determine which ones were placed into the Student Platform Session.  It has been suggested (and was reiterated) that one possibility is to require the students to present additional information with their abstract.  It was also pointed out that the student presentations did not have to occur in an open session, but could be made in a closed session.  It was also suggested to have students sit on each ad hoc and standing committee.  This Committee will be assigned to the Membership Working Group.

Website Committee Report:  Amar Singh presented the Website Committee report.  Since last year, the Committee has nearly doubled in size.  Their top priorities are: 1) to write up their job description and working guidelines; 2) to develop a process for interacting with other Committees, and 3) to revise the student page.  They have asked Committee members to scan the website for dead links and outdated content; it was also suggested that they look for new links.  They are planning to revamp the entire website; this revamping will occur in stages, and will not be done all at once.  It was also suggested that pictures of the Society Officers and Committee Chairs be added to the website.  This Committee will be assigned to the Communication Working Group.

Education Committee Report:  Chris Lau presented the Education Committee report.  There were 123 individuals registered for the Continuing Education course, and 93 registered for the mini-course.  A past chair of the Committee had gone through the past courses and made a list of all courses that have been held and also listed the duties of the Chair as well as timing of some of these duties.  A reminder will be added to the Jan-Feb issue of the newsletter for members to submit suggestions for the education course for 2009.  He also indicated that there is no record of the reviews from the education course; the reviews from this year’s course will be presented at the business meeting.  Unlike in past years, there were no problems getting approval for use of slides.  Ideas were suggested for obtaining course suggestions and feedback for the courses via the Web site.  The possibilities of adding the education courses to the website or presenting webinars were discussed and will be deferred to the Annual Meeting Working Group.

Scientific Diversity Committee Report:  Ken Jones presented a brief update on the Scientific Diversity Committee.  The Committee has been inactive over the last year, in part because the charge to the Committee is very diffuse and needs to be more focused.  Shelley Tyl has been added as a Co-Chair of this Committee.  There was discussion on how changes in the format of the Annual Meeting could emphasize our scientific diversity.  This Committee will fit in the Shared Scientific Identity Working Group.

Bioinformatics Committee Report:  Tom Knudsen indicated that George Daston, the current chair of the Committee sees its main function as that of education.  This Committee could fit in the Shared Scientific Identity and the Annual Meeting Working Groups.

Constitution and By-Laws Committee Report:  Kok-Wah Hew indicated that there was some confusion about membership on this Committee during the year.  They will meet prior to the Business Meeting on Tuesday to discuss the proposal for electronic balloting.  They will be sure that enough flexibility is added that Committees can meet electronically.  Hew agreed to remain as Chair for an additional year.  This Committee will not be under any of the Working Groups but will be under Council.

Nominations Committee:  Elaine presented this report.  She indicated that some ballots were lost in the mail in that they were not received by some organizations and that Council has decided to go to electronic balloting in the future.

Clarke Fraser Award Committee Report:  Tina Chambers presented this report.  The Committee received nominations from the membership, reviewed applications and chose Sonja Rasmussen as this year’s Award recipient.

Having completed all of the reports, the Committee Chairs left the meeting.

BDRA Editor Search:  Lew Holmes presented an overview of the process for the selection of a new editor for BDRA.  The Committee reviewed a number of applicants who gave their views on where they wanted to take the journal over the next five years.  The Committee selected an individual who is still negotiating with Wiley.  M. Tassinari moved that Council concurs with the Committee’s choice for editor; D. Hansen seconded the motion which passed. 

The final item of business was a discussion of the financial advisor following the morning’s presentation by the Merrill Lynch representative.  K. Filkins moved to replace Jason Harris of Legg Mason with Ronald Loeser and associates from Merrill Lynch pending a positive return on the reference checks.  The motion was seconded by E. Carney and passed. 

The meeting was adjourned at about 9:30 PM.





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