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Annual Business Meeting

Omni William Penn Hotel
Pittsburgh, PA
June 27, 2007

The Business meeting of the Teratology Society was called to order by President Elaine Faustman  at 5:15 PM.  A total of 42 members were present when the meeting was called to order; a quorum is 35 members.

President’s Report (Elaine Faustman):  The key activities of the Society during this year have included the Strategic Planning Meeting which was discussed at the Issues Forum on Tuesday afternoon.  Lots of ideas have already been suggested by the membership regarding the Strategic Intents.  The search for a new editor for BDRA is nearly complete.  Elaine thanked Lew Holmes and the Committee for their hard work.  She also thanked Phil Mirkes for the dedication that he had shown over the first 5 years of the new journal format.  The third issue was the resolution of the resources for the IFTS.  A new home needed to be found for the images that were stored on their website.  These images will be moved to the DevTox database.  This is a non-profit organization that will maintain the images and allow us to add to them.  The final issue was the challenge provided by this year’s election.  Approximately 3-4 weeks ago, Council was informed that the group at EPA in North Carolina had not gotten their ballots.  Tonia examined who had sent in ballots to determine if other groups had not gotten their ballots.  After an examination of the By-laws, it was determined that those individuals who had voted would be allowed to vote electronically.  An e-mail was sent to all individuals who had not voted containing an electronic ballot.  The Society will move to an electronic ballot in the future.

Vice-President/Program Committee Report (Thomas Knudsen):  Tom recognized (on slides) and thanked the Committee members, sponsors and exhibitors for the 2007 meeting.  The program integrated a broad range of topics, and joint sessions were held with NBTS, BTS and OTIS.  The education course and sunrise mini-course were again held, and attendance was excellent at both events.  There was also a FAS satellite meeting.  318 individuals registered for the meeting; the average registration for the past 5 years is 364.  Registration has been decreasing about 10 individuals per year.  Corporate funding has also declined, but the grant applications have been funded.  He also indicated that originally we had gotten approval for CME credits from the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG).  There was a late snafu concerning advertising, and we turned down ACOG.  We hope to be able to offer CME credits in future meetings and hope that this will increase attendance at our meeting by clinicians.  He acknowledged the assistance received by staff in preparing for the meeting.

Vice-President-Elect’s Report (Christina Chambers):  The Program Committee for the 2008 meeting has already met.  The 2008 Annual Meeting will be held in the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Monterey, CA on June 28 – July 3.  The room rates will be $159 for single/double rooms, and $109 for student rooms.  John DeSesso commented on the timing of the meeting and its interference with family plans for the July 4th holiday and suggested that this be considered in the timing of future meetings.

Secretary’s Report (Deborah Hansen):  Bob Brent moved that the minutes from the 2006 Business Meeting be accepted; Bill Slikker seconded the motion which passed.  Deb also indicated that the newsletter has been restarted, and articles for future issues should be sent to her.  The Society currently has 679 members.  There has been a drop in the total number of members since 2003.  Most of this decrease is due to a decrease in the number of regular members, and the number of student members has nearly tripled during the same time period.  Finding new members and retaining current members are topics that will be discussed as one of the Strategic Intents.   

Treasurer’s Report (Ida Washington):  2006 revenue was reported as $574,677 with $422,210 in expenses.  This was compared to income and expenses for 2005; there was an increase in net income for 2006 vs. 2005.  We currently have funds invested in 3 mutual funds which have returned an average of 8.49%.  The Society’s total assets are $923,109.  The goal in 2002 was 1.5 times our annual operating expenses, and we currently have more than twice our annual operating expenses.  A new investment advisor is being chosen.  Six companies were interviewed by phone, and an investment policy was drafted.  This policy and a request for proposals were sent to 3 of 6 companies.  Currently the references for the top candidate company are being reviewed.  Ken Jones asked about the process for determining how to spend the money; Elaine indicated that some will be retained as a cushion; other money will be spent on initiatives coming from the strategic plan.  George Daston asked about the large amount of cash and indicated that some of the funds were not being invested as soon as they could be.  Ida replied that the Finance Committee is being reactivated and will suggest to Council how these funds should be invested.  John DeSesso suggested that 1.5 times our annual operating expenses may be a minimum amount, and we may want to hold more than that in reserve.

Publications Committee Report (Michael Collins):  The search for a new editor for BDRA is nearly complete, and a report on that search should be coming soon.  The Wiley-Liss symposium at this year’s meeting (Molecular Clocks) was a big success.  The charge for the journal has not increased since 2003, but will increase by $5.00 next year.  Mark Hurtt will be the next Chair of the Publications Committee, with Elaine Francis being the Co-Chair.
Post meeting note:  The increase in the subscription rate will be in 2009.

BDR Editor Reports
BDRA (Philip Mirkes):  The journal is doing well.  The number of manuscripts increased in 2006, and the impact factor is now greater than 2.0.  This number has historically been a cut-off that has influenced funding of research in some countries.  If an investigator had published in journals with impact factors less than 2.0, funding was decreased.  The impact factor for Part A has been increasing by about 0.5 per year.  He indicated that it has been a pleasure to be the editor for Part A of the journal for the past 5 years.  As a thank you, President Elaine Faustman presented Phil with a coffee mug with the Society logo.

BDRB (George Daston):  George recognized and thanked the Associate Editors and Editorial Board.  His strategy has been to publish original research in reproductive and developmental toxicology and to augment with targeted reviews that would be of interest to the readership and would help to illustrate the aims and scope of the journal.  The number of submissions has been sufficient to keep the journal being published on time, but it has not allowed him to create a backlog of manuscripts.  Currently 57% of manuscripts are accepted.  The journal is on target to publish the appropriate number of pages this year.  Currently, there are 20 days from submission to first decision and 27 days from the first decision to the final decision.  The impact factor for this part of the journal was 1.20 in 2005, and 1.62 in 2006.  Tacey White made a comment concerning outsourcing of editing which led to a number of mistakes in proofs.  George indicated that early on after the contract was initially signed with Wiley Liss, the production manager for Part B was on a contract and was outsourcing the editing.  This situation has improved a great deal following those initial problems.  As a thank you, President Elaine Faustman presented George with a mug containing the Society’s logo.

BDRC (Rocky Tuan):  He reiterated the aim and scope of Part C of the journal which is thematic and multidisciplinary in nature.  He also reviewed the topics that have been covered in 2006 and 2007 including the topics that will be covered in the final 2 issues for this year.  He also showed a slide with the Table of Contents for the second issue which would cover the Wiley-Liss Symposium topic on Molecular Clocks.  In 2006, 370 pages were published with 384 allotted.  The author list is international.  ISI will not provide an impact factor unless every issue is on time.  Currently BDRC has been slightly behind several times, so ISI will not provide the impact factor.  Using a calculation provided by Wiley-Liss on the number of articles and the number of citations, it is estimated that the impact factor for this part of the journal would be about 3.5 – 4.0.  He will try to collect enough articles ahead of time, so the journal will be on time.  He also presented the titles of the 30 most cited articles and 25 most down-loaded articles.  Finally, he thanked the editorial assistant and the associate editors.  As a thank you, President Elaine Faustman presented Rocky with a mug containing the Society’s logo.

Public Affairs Committee Report (Janine Polifka):  The Public Affairs Committee wrote al letter of support for the FASEB stem cell issue.  The membership was asked to review the guidelines on the website; Melissa Tassinari and Don Stedman reviewed these guidelines and concurred with FASEB’s letter.  September of 2007 will mark the 10th anniversary of the FDA’s announcement of a review of the pregnancy labeling issue.  The Public Affairs Committee has drafted a position paper reviewing the history and present status of this issue; the paper has been approved by the Public Affairs Committee and Council and will be submitted to BDRA for publication.  A paper on the ethics of participation in litigation has been drafted.  The Committee is also considering writing a paper of the use of the word ‘safe’ and the inherent dangers in using that word; John DeSesso and Dana Shuey will be working on this issue.  The Committee is also considering a paper showing their support of the iPledge program.  The Committee is writing a letter supporting continued funding of the National Children’s Study; this program will need additional funding in the future in order to fund all sites.  The Committee will also write another letter in mid-September when funding is determined.  The Committee also organized a workshop on the Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.  This workshop was held on Saturday during the meeting at the University of Pittsburgh.  Dr. Sylbia Kuntz has encouraged the Society to consider holding the workshop in Pittsburgh again some time in the future.  Janine pointed out that the workshop does not necessarily need to be held in conjunction with the Annual Meeting, and it may be better to hold it at some other time when it’s more convenient for the teachers to attend.  The Committee also organized a platform session at the Annual Meeting this year.  Dana Shuey moderated the session and found the discussants who participated in the session.  There was good attendance and discussion at the session.  Patte Bittner will be the new chair of the Committee.

Elaine Faustman acknowledged the members who are rotating off of Council and thanked them for their service.  She noted that they already received their mugs.

Nominations and Elections Committee Report (Raymond York):  Raymond recognized and thanked the members of the Committee.  He reported that Barbara Hales had been elected as Vice President Elect, Ida Washington was re-elected as Treasurer, and Dana Shuey was elected as Councilor.  He also thanked those who had agreed to run.  Bob Brent suggested that in the past, members had been suggested for an office, and their qualifications were considered.  If they were qualified, they were elected.  He suggested that we’ve lost members in the past who had lost elections.  John DeSesso indicated that since a committee selects the individuals to run it which prevents the selection process from looking somewhat like an “old boys’ club”.  There was no further discussion of this issue.

Student Affairs Committee Report (Gary Shaw):  Gary recognized and thanked the Committee members.  There were 27 travel awards presented, and 33 abstracts submitted by students and post-docs.  The presentations were excellent, and the winners of various awards will be announced at the Banquet.  He also thanked Eli Lilly and NIEHS for travel support for the students.  As a thank you, President Elaine Faustman presented Gary with a mug containing the Society’s logo.

Education Committee Report (Christopher Lau):  Chris recognized and thanked Committee members.  Eias Zahalka will be the next Chair of the Committee, and John Rogers will be the Secretary.  The course this year was ‘Principles in Teratology’, a course which is repeated every 5 years.  Attendance was 123, and 25% of the attendees rated the overall course as Excellent with another 69% rating it as Good.  Additionally, 75% of attendees indicated that they would attend the course again in 5 years.  The Sunrise Mini-Course on “Advances in Reproductive and Developmental Toxicity Risk Assessment of Biopharmaceuticals” was attended by 95 individuals.  The course was rated as Excellent by 58% of attendees and Good by 42% of attendees.  There will be a place on the website for members to suggest topics for the education and mini-courses.  Harpal Buttar suggested that the course be combined.  As a thank you, President Elaine Faustman presented Chris with a mug containing the Society’s logo.

Website Committee Report (Ed Carney):  The Website Committee has nearly tripled in size and following input from Council and various Committees have prioritized a number of changes that will occur to the website.  Robert Felix was recognized for his efforts as chair of the committee and the progress that had been made during the past 5 years. Committee activities have included: establishing their true job description, trying to develop the process for interaction with other Committees, and revision of the student page to include such items as mentoring (matching students and mentors), career information and interviewing skills.  They have also developed a process for deleting old content, dead links and establishing new links.  They are also starting to revamp the website because it is currently difficult to find things.  They will develop a site map and will move to improve the site incrementally rather than all at once.  The server will also be moved from UCSD to AIM which will enhance the capabilities and allow the Committee to send HTML postcards to members to signal the addition of new content on the website.  Peter Wells commented that the website could also be the site for the Primer as well as PowerPoint slides that could be used for various educational purposes.  Educational materials will be added to the website as copyright issues allow.  As a thank you, President Elaine Faustman presented Ed with a mug containing the Society’s logo.

Membership Committee Report (Michael O’Hara):  There were 15 regular, 4 associate, 17 student and 1 emeritus members accepted during the year.  As indicated earlier in the Secretary’s Report, overall membership has declined, although there has been an increase in the number of student members.  Most of the decline appears to have occurred among industry/CRO members and may be due, in part, to mergers among some companies.  This issue will be discussed by the Membership Working Group.  As a thank you, President Elaine Faustman presented Michael with a mug containing the Society’s logo.

Bylaws Committee Report (Kok-Wah Hew):  One change in the By-laws had been discussed.  The Committee will examine the Constitution and By-Laws to determine if a change is needed to allow the Society to go to electronic voting.  He will also be serving a second term a chair of the committee and anticipates being quite busy with the progress from the Strategic Planning Session.  As a thank you, President Elaine Faustman presented Hew with a mug containing the Society’s logo.

Terminology Committee Report (Howard Solomon):  The Terminology Committee has concluded their work and is trying to get a manuscript published. 

FASEB Report (John DeSesso):  The Teratology Society is now a full member of FASEB, and that has made a big difference.  Fewer members now attend the meetings, and there are fewer members.  They have worked hard to try to influence funding for science.  FASEB has the ear of a lot of individuals, and it is good that the Society is still a member.

New Business:  President Elaine Faustman indicated that the Mentor Core had been a big success, and the videos made would be shown in the future.  There being no further new business, Don Stump moved that the meeting be adjourned.  George Daston seconded the motion which passed.  The meeting was adjourned at 6:41 PM.








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