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Interim Council Meeting

Downtown Marriott Hotel
Louisville, KY
November 11, 2007

Present: President T. Knudsen, Vice President T. Chambers, Vice President-Elect B. Hales, Secretary D. Hansen, Treasurer I. Washington, Councilors E. Carney and D. Shuey, Past President E. Faustman, Executive Director T. Masson, Chairperson of the Publications Committee Mark Hurtt and Chairperson of the Public Affairs Committee P. Bittner.  The meeting was called to order by President Tom Knudsen at 10:02 AM (EST).

President’s Report:  All committee spaces have been filled except one spot on the Website Committee.  Ron Hood had requested to be on that Committee, and Tom will talk with Ed Carney about that addition.  Tom had discussed Rick Finnell as the possible Warkany Lecturer during the October Council conference call.  Council enthusiastically supports this selection.  Tom had spoken with Rick who had agreed to return from his sabbatical in June to attend the meeting if Council approved his selection.

Vice President Report:  Tina updated Council on the 2008 meeting program which is nearly complete.  The format for the meeting will be somewhat different this year.  The continuing education course will run one full day on Saturday with a longer break mid-day.  The annual volleyball game is tentatively being scheduled for that time period.  The meeting will begin Sunday morning.  A new lecture will be presented by Tony Scialli on Monday morning.  Only a few portions of the program remain to be worked out.  Joint platform sessions between OTIS and the Teratology Society and NBTS and the Teratology Society will be thematic, and these themes have not yet been decided upon.  David Kochhar has been selected as the Agnish Fellow, and Jan Friedman will present the Brent Lecture. 

Tina will distribute the latest program agenda by email.  On Tuesday, there will be two evening sessions.  One is organized by the Student Affairs Committee.

There was some discussion about having a one page write-up with the highlights of the meeting that members could take to other meetings.  There was some discussion about whether to hold the FAS teacher workshop this year, and P. Bittner will look into that.  There was a lot of discussion on the mentorship program for students with the discussion involving how best to do it, when to do it and how to pay for it.  E. Faustman made a motion that the R-13 grant application is written to include supporting a lunch with an expert program.  Dana seconded the motion which passed unanimously. 
Post meeting note:  The R-13 grants will not provide funding for food and beverage.  Sponsorship has been provided by Pfizer.
A question was asked about how many attendees were projected for the 2008 meeting.  Tonia responded that historically 350 – 375 individuals have attended the meeting, and the projection used for this meeting, 374, was at the higher end of our historical range.

Given the schedule shift, the second meeting of Council will be held on Thursday morning.  The banquet, which should end no earlier than 10 PM will be the conclusion of the Annual Meeting.

Transportation options were discussed as well as ways to promote the meeting.

Treasurer’s Report:  Ida went over the details of the 2008 budget.  Very recently the advisors from Merrill Lynch were hired, and some of our investments have been transferred from Smith-Barney to Merrill Lynch.  Ida is planning to schedule a conference call between our new financial advisors and the Finance Committee.  One of the items to be discussed on that call is our investment policy, and Elaine requested that a statement be made in that policy of what we are doing with the royalty income that we receive from Wiley-Liss and that we be explicit in incorporating the outcomes from the Strategic Planning Session in our investment policy.  Council requested that the Finance Committee in consultation with our financial advisors develop an investment strategy with upper and lower thresholds for maintaining our cushion of 1.5 to 2.0 years of operating budget. 

The operating budget was reviewed. There was some discussion on the development of a second edition of the Primer, and it was indicated that the editors would like to have a second edition ready for the 2010 meeting.  There was a good deal of discussion on whether to give each Committee as well as the Strategic Planning Working Groups a line item budget that could be used for conference calls and food and beverage service for committee meetings held at the Annual Meeting.  Each working group was given a line item budget with a larger amount of money in an implementation fund.  Tina moved that the 2008 budget be accepted with the modifications discussed by Council.  Ed seconded the motion which passed. 

There was also a discussion of how to approach our industry colleagues for contributions and how to acknowledge those contributions.  It was decided that we needed a more concerted plan on fundraising, and the possibility of having a subcommittee look into this idea was discussed but was tabled for later discussion.

Secretary’s Report:  Deb Hansen covered the number of members who have not paid 2006 and/or 2007 dues.  The current policy on the handling of delinquent members was discussed, and it was decided that members who have not paid 2008 dues by Jan. 31, 2008 would not be able to register for the Annual Meeting at the member rate until they have paid their outstanding dues.  Currently, a member who is delinquent in their dues for as long as 2 years is still able to register for the meeting at the member rate.  Hopefully, this will be incentive for members to keep their membership up to date.  This change will be communicated to the membership.  There was also a question raised concerning the ability of emeritus members to consult.  There was a question among the Membership Committee regarding a request for emeritus membership and whether or not that individual could consult.  It appears that the language in the Constitution may need to be clarified somewhat on this issue.  Deb also informed Council that an issue of the newsletter should go out in Jan.  Updates from Committees and the Working Groups would be sought for this issue, as well as a letter from the President and an update on the Annual Meeting.

Publications Committee Report:  Diana Juriloff has agreed to serve as the editor for BDRA for at least 3 years.  Muriel Harris will serve as the Deputy Editor during Diana’s tenure.  Council was enthusiastic about Diana’s agreement to serve in this capacity. 
Barbara moved that Diana’s agreement for a 3 year commitment to serve as editor of BDRA with Muriel Harris as Deputy Editor be accepted.  Elaine seconded, and the motion passed unanimously.  Mark reviewed the process that was used to select the editor and made suggestions on how it might have been done more efficiently. 

Public Affairs Committee Report:  Patte will look into getting the FAS workshop ready for the meeting in Monterey.  She has drafted a response from the Teratology Society to Celgene in regard to their request for support from the Society for their citizen petition to FDA. 

Strategic Planning – Path Forward:  Melissa Tassinari joined the meeting by conference call.  She reviewed what has happened since the Strategic Planning Session.  There was some discussion regarding the Society name change issue.  It was felt that that issue could derail efforts that might be more productive in other areas.  So the Visibility Working Group will be encouraged to put their efforts into other topics.  The job of the working groups is nearly complete, and the Implementation teams may/may not be made up, in part, of members of the Working Groups.  The final job of the Oversight Committee will be to draft a white paper on the recommendations of the Working Groups.  Hopefully the draft will be ready by March. 

The Council then reviewed the minutes from the conference calls for each of the Working Groups.  The Communications Working Group will work to enhance activities with the European and Japanese Teratology Societies.  Each Working Group member will also be contacting various Teratology Society Committees for website content.  The Annual Meeting Working Group will ask the session chairs at next year’s meeting to introduce the session with a sentence or two about how the session was organized as a multi-disciplinary session.  Also, in order to get more people to evaluate the meeting, they suggested that a meeting registration or Continuing Education Course registration be raffled off.  The Membership Working Group has suggested contacting lapsed members to see why they have not renewed their membership and also suggested adding international members to committees.  The Visibility Working Group has discussed increasing our visibility among other professional groups as well as among the public.  It was suggested that the Society develop a Speaker’s Bureau with members who would be willing to give various talks.  It was also pointed out that although we usually send out press releases concerning our Annual Meeting, that we rarely get any press at the meeting.  It was suggested that we needed to cultivate relationships with the press and various reporters.  One suggestion to do this is to partner with the March of Dimes, since many of the same questions would go to both organizations.  Elaine pointed out that we don’t need to take a position on every issue, but we do need to talk more about the state of the science involved in various issues.

The Oversight Committee will schedule a call with the Working Group leaders to develop a progress report. 

The meeting was adjourned at 5:45 PM.

Teratology Society Interim Council Meeting
Downtown Marriott Hotel
Louisville, KY
November 12, 2007

Present: President T. Knudsen, Vice President T. Chambers, Vice President-Elect B. Hales, Secretary D. Hansen, Treasurer I. Washington, Councilors E. Carney and D. Shuey, Past President E. Faustman, Executive Director T. Masson, Chairperson of the Publications Committee Mark Hurtt and Chairperson of the Public Affairs Committee P. Bittner.  Councilor K. Augustine participated by conference call.  The meeting was called to order at 7:59 AM (EST) by President Tom Knudsen. 

Public Affairs Committee Report:  Patte Bittner completed the PAC report from the previous day.  She reviewed Celgene’s request for support from the Teratology Society for their citizen petition before the FDA.  The PAC felt that the issue was more of a marketing issue than a science issue and felt that the Society should not support this petition.  Council agreed, but recommended that the response to Celgene that Patte had drafted could be abbreviated.  Patte will revise the response, get PAC approval and send it to Council for approval.  Patte then discussed on-going projects of the PAC, including position papers on the iPledge program, expert testimony, misconceptions about the use of the word safe, and SSRI use during pregnancy.  Some new projects include the dissemination of US science overseas, perhaps through the European Teratology Society, a paper on increasing the frequency of healthy pregnancies, a paper on the treatment of celiac disease during pregnancy, and something on nanotechnology during pregnancy.  It was pointed out that there is much going on in Europe on Evidence-based Toxicology, and the Society should speak out on this issue.  It was also pointed out that the Society has been silent on the issue of the use of in vitro systems, and a symposium in the 2009 meeting should address the use of in vitro systems, especially in view of the calls for decreasing animal usage.  It was also suggested that the PAC might need a subcommittee on animal issues and another on international interactions. 

Website Modifications:  Ed Carney discussed the suggestions of the Website Committee/Communications Working Group concerning modifications that could be made to our current website.  He pointed out that this is currently a work in progress, and that these are not concrete suggestions.  Each member of the Committee is currently responsible for checking dead links from a certain portion of the website.  In some cases, members have found content whose ownership is unclear.  For example, some documents may have been placed on the website, but it is not clear who placed the document and who is responsible for updating it.  The website will be moved to a different server, and Ed reviewed the pros and cons of different options for the server location.  Two main issues that have been discussed in this regard are security of our information and stability of the website (redundancy in order to keep access to the website).  He then reviewed some possibilities for redesigning the website, including possible navigation buttons.  It was suggested that Council agree on the navigation buttons, because it is difficult to change them once they have been set up.  It was suggested to add a navigation button for the Annual Meeting.  There was some discussion on whether or not the student section should be restricted.  There was also discussion on appropriateness of the current banner, and some suggestions were made for other images.  The Web Site Committee is charged with preparing a proposal for the organization of the Web Site along with navigational structure.  Staff is charged with preparing alternative banners for the Web Site incorporating the suggested images.

2011 and 2012 Meeting Site Options:  Everyone agreed that Portland, Oregon would be a great site for the 2011 meeting.  Barbara indicated that the SSR meeting will be in Portland, and the city gave the group a large discount.  There are partner cities in this arrangement (Pittsburgh and Milwaukee), and the group will be going to all 3 cities.  AIM staff will look into this possibility for our Society, and that may factor into the choice of the 2012 site. 

Old/New Business

  1. The leaders of the NBTS, OTIS and Teratology Society recently participated on a conference call.  They agreed that they needed to improve collaboration in meeting planning.  The group planning the 2009 meeting will meet by conference call in March, 2008 to begin to plan the 2009 meeting.  NBTS wants flexibility in committing to the number of joint sessions each year; they are willing to commit to at least 1 but want flexibility in committing to any more.  The other groups would like information on the sites that the Teratology Society is considering for future meetings.  The issue of joint registration was discussed.  Because of the current difference in the cost of registration between the Teratology Society and NBTS meetings, NBTS is not willing to consider joint registration at this time.  Tonia will work on a proposal that will take into account the number of joint sessions which will be reflected in the registration fee.  
  2. Dana Shuey then discussed the MTA/MARTA interactions with the Society.  The leaders of MTA and MARTA have participated in a conference call to discuss the future of these organizations and their interaction with the Teratology Society.  They are currently interested in the possibility of using the SOT regional chapter model for their interaction with the Society.  This will provide the national organization with a regional ‘flavor’.  It was recommended that it is important to identify a common goal/model that defines the added value to all groups.  D. Shuey provided a draft communication to be sent to the memberships of all three groups.  A few modifications were suggested.  D. Shuey will modify and recirculate to Council.  D. Shuey requested names of two additional Teratology Society members who could serve on the committee to provide added knowledge to the discussion.  E. Faustman agreed to participate.
  3. Ed Carney presented a preliminary overview of items to be considered for 50th Anniversary.  Several suggestions were made which Ed captured in a preliminary document.

There being no further business, Barbara Hales made a motion to adjourn the meeting.  Ed Carney seconded the motion which unanimously passed.  The meeting adjourned at 11:50 AM EST.

Minutes approved December 5, 2007.









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