SOCIETY COUNCIL I MEETING
June 22-23, 1996
meeting was called to order at 1:35 PM MDT. In attendance were Kathy
Sulik, Jose Cordero, Phil Mirkes, Elaine Francis, Patty Rodier,
Bob Kavlock, Bill Slikker, Jan Friedman, Carol Lemire (ex officio)
and George Daston. Dr. Sulik presided.
President's Report: Dr. Sulik reported that the meeting was
comparable in size to those of years past.
stated that considerable effort had gone into strategic planning
for the Society, and that the ad hoc Grant Funding Committee had
been an important start towards long-range planning and outreach.
Sulik noted that we will need to consider raising membership dues
for next year to cover increases in mailing costs for the journal.
Other items that we will need to take up over the next year are
the establishment of a search for journal editor, and the establishment
of a home page on the Worldwide Web. These were discussed later
in the meeting.
Vice President's Report: Dr. Cordero reported on the meeting
program. Two of the symposia received outside support, two did not.
Dr. Allan Lock has expressed an interest in procuring NIH sponsorship
for a symposium in 1997. The Organization of Teratogen Information
Services (OTIS) is interested in holding its meetings concurrently
with the Teratology Society, and expressed the opinion that this
would be a good addition to our meeting.
Sulik concurred but remarked that affiliated groups generally rely
on our administrative support. We should attempt to procure long-term
commitments from these groups to facilitate our planning. Dr. Friedman
replied that long-term commitments would probably come at the expense
of allowing these groups more input into our meeting program, which
can have positive and negative aspects. Dr. Cordero explained that
OTIS values its independence. Dr. Rodier reminded Council that it
was important for us as the premiere society in teratology to maintain
ties with all affiliated groups.
Cordero reported that he had received a letter from the Physicians'
Committee for Responsible Medicine requesting our support for their
position that more funding is needed for birth defects research.
Dr. Francis cautioned that this is an advocacy group with political
activities. The consensus of Council was that it did not wish to
affiliate the Society with this group. Dr. Cordero will draft a
response explaining the activities of the Teratology Society and
conveying Council's decision.
Vice President-Elect's Report: Dr. Mirkes reported that the
Princess Hotel in San Diego had been selected as the site of the
1998 annual meeting, but deferred the rest of his report until after
we had discussed meeting contracts.
Scialli joined the meeting at this point. It was announced that
Dr. Scialli had been elected Vice President-Elect for 1996-7, and
that Barbara Hales had been elected Councilor.
Treasurer's Report: The written Treasurer's Report is attached.
Dr. Francis stated that the Society's income for 1995 was over $300,000,
while expenses were about $280,000. Income for the Education Fund
increased, while income for the Warkany Fund decreased. The revenue
for this year compensates fully for the deficit that the Society
ran in 1994.
Francis also reported that membership dues for the current year
are down from what they were projected to be. There was difficulty
in determining the actual number of members from data on hand. Dr.
Friedman stressed that it must be determined whether the number
of members really has declined significantly or if the discrepancy
is attributable to an error in budgeting. Dr. Cordero asked that
the Membership Committee be charged with charting the number of
members over the years. Ms. Lemire agreed to provide an accurate
count of the number of members for the 1995 and 1996 budget years
to the Secretary in the next 2-3 weeks. Drs. Rodier and Friedman
suggested that we check with lapsed members to determine why they
have not kept their membership. Dr. Daston suggested that each Council
member select the names of several lapsed members to contact to
urge them to renew. A list was circulated for this purpose.
Francis expressed concern that the meeting registration fee may
not fully cover the costs of the meal functions, and urged that
the fee be recalculated every year and be based on actual cost rather
than as a carryover from previous years. Dr. Sulik indicated that
several meal functions had been cancelled to save money.
auditor for the Society has requested that we allocate more money
to the operating fund, which has been running a deficit for several
years. The deficit appears to be attributable to the fact that staff
time that is spent on annual meeting planning is being charged to
the operating fund. The problem will be resolved by more precisely
accounting for the time that staff spends on annual meeting planning
vs. other administrative tasks. This will also provide us with a
more accurate accounting of annual meeting revenue. It was moved
and approved that the auditor's report for 1995 be accepted.
Discussion of Room Slippage: Ms. Lemire was excused for this
discussion that occurred immediately prior to Council's meeting
with Anne Lynch, Director of Sales at Keystone Resort. Dr. Sulik
recapped the information that she had passed along to Council during
our conference call of June 19, 1996 (see minutes of that call).
She added that the resort had agreed to reduce the number of room
nights by 100 in September 1995 as a result of conversations that
she and Ms. Lemire had with Keystone representatives on the occasion
of their site visit. Dr. Sulik also reported that she had spoken
to the Society's attorney, Lynn Fleischer, who has urged us to send
contracts to her in the future prior to signing them.
Lynch and Ms. Lemire joined the meeting at this point. Ms. Lynch
reported that the number of room nights credited to the Society
was now projected to be 1,984, producing a revenue of $249,555.
A total of $393,002 worth of rooms was held from the market for
our meeting attendees, but we are contractually responsible for
only $334,051: the deficit is approximately $84,000. Keystone agreed
to honor the verbal commitment made in September 1995 to reduce
by 100 our number of room nights, which would relieve an additional
$15,000, but this still would leave the Society with a penalty of
$69,096.70. Ms. Lynch indicated that she had checked all of the
names on the meeting registration forms provided by Ms. Lemire to
ensure that the all of the Society's registrants were accounted
for in the room count.
Lynch suggested several options for reducing the Society's debt.
These included 1) deleting a meal or beverage function from the
meeting; 2) changing a menu to something less expensive; or 3) agreeing
to return to Keystone in 1996 during a period of time specified
by Keystone. The first two suggestions would not save very much.
Ms. Lynch indicated that the third option had considerable marketing
value for Keystone, on the order of $30-40,000.
Sulik suggested that Ms. Lynch contact the headquarters of Ralcorp,
Keystone's parent corporation, about forgiving our debt. Ms. Lynch
replied that it was already her intention to do this. Council agreed
that Dr. Daston would draft a letter describing the functions of
the Teratology Society, as well as providing a list of institutions
represented that use Purina animal products, to be appended to Ms.
Lynch's letter. Ms. Lynch left the meeting at this point.
decided that there was little to be gained by changing the meal
functions. It was stressed that the membership of the Society be
kept informed of the situation.
Executive Secretary's Report: Ms. Lemire's written report
is attached. Dr. Mirkes suggested to Ms. Lemire that databases be
set up to account for membership on a year-by-year basis. This is
an action item for Ms. Lemire and Ms. Kagan.
Site Selection and Contract Negotiation: Dr. Mirkes shared
copies of the draft contract for the 1998 annual meeting. He indicated
his intention to have this contract reviewed by our attorney immediately.
It was also agreed that she would review the contract for the 1997
Sulik stated that there was a need to establish a Site Selection
Committee that could take advantage of the collective wisdom of
the past-presidents and could include a professional meeting planner
as a consultant. It was her opinion that this would be of great
benefit to the Vice President-Elect, and would improve the planning
meeting was recessed at 6:00 PM and reconvened on June 23 at 8:30
AM. The first items of business were to review the activities of
various committees with their respective chairs, who joined the
meeting sequentially. Ms. Lemire was absent from this portion of
Finance Advisory Committee: Rich Miller reported that this
committee still had a number of questions as to its mission of fund
raising, and suggested that Council consider appointing a designated
director of fundraising. Council thanked Dr. Miller for his suggestion.
Constitution and By-Laws: Bryan Hardin reported that the
committee had received a letter from Ed Lammer questioning the appropriateness
of a vote on the Code of Ethics as a ballot issue, as it is not
a part of the Society's Constitution. The committee met to discuss
this and concluded that the ballot was appropriate because the Code
of Ethics is referenced in the Constitution.
Student Affairs: John Rogers reported that there had been
a decrease in the number of students who applied for travel awards,
but he believed that this did not indicate a trend. Dr. Rogers reported
that he had been informed by Bill Scott that the Wilson Fund was
growing nicely. Dr. Scott had consulted with Mrs. Harriet Wilson,
who thought thatsome of the fund should be used to increase the
student travel awards by $100. Dr. Scott and Mrs. Wilson also suggested
that the Society consider additional avenues to use money from the
Fund. Two ideas that immediately occurred to Council were to support
a student scholarship, or to underwrite an annual award to be given
to an established investigator for exemplary contributions to the
Rogers voiced the concern that the job of the Student Affairs Committee
was made difficult by the fact that judging for the student awards
competition must take place through out the entire course of the
meeting. Often at least some of the committee members are not able
to stay through the entire meeting. Dr. Rogers had a number of recommendations
to address this problem. First, it should be made clear to prospective
new members of the Student Affairs Committee that attendance through
the final day of the meeting was an expectation. Second, it would
be of great help if the Program Committee could schedule the student
presentations early in the meeting. Third, students interested in
competing for the awards could be asked to prepare a more detailed
summary of their presentation or poster, to be sent to the Student
Affairs Committee prior to the meeting in order to allow the committee
to triage the submissions.
was the consensus of Council that the third opition be tried for
a year if the logistics could be worked out. It was moved and approved
that the Student Affairs Committee be charged with the task of developing
a plan for this process, to be reviewed by Council at its Fall meeting.
Dr. Sulik informed Dr. Rogers that the students of the Society greatly
appreciated his efforts and those of the Committee on their behalf.
Nominations and Elections: Frank Welsch reported that for
the first time the ballot for Vice President-Elect included a vision
statement prepared by each candidate. He asked for Council's approval
to make this an ongoing policy. Approval was granted by consensus.
winners of the election were Tony Scialli for Vice President-Elect
and Barbara Hales for Councilor.
asked that the Nominations and Elections Committee begin to keep
a record of the names of nominees, to be used in future considerations
by the committee. Council also asked that the Committee make an
effort to consider nominating candidates from all subdisciplines
represented in the Society. The spirit of this request was to ensure
that no group within the Society feels disenfranchised, but should
not be regarded by the Committee as a rigid requirement.
Midwest Teratology Association: Judy Henck, liaison to MTA,
met with Council to seek input on ways to strengthen interactions
between the Teratology Society and the three regional societies.
Council expressed its appreciation for the financial and intellectual
support to our annual meeting that is provided by the regional groups.
Council also suggested several ways in which the regional societies
could play a larger role in the Teratology Society. These included
1) advancing proposals to the Program Committee to repeat successful
regional meeting programs at the annual meeting of the Society;
2) nominating representatives from the regional groups for committee
assignments in the Society; and 3) posting regional meeting programs
in the Society's web page, after it has been set up. Dr. Henck indicated
that the regional chapters were planning a luncheon on Wednesday,
June 26, during which she would pass along these suggestions. Dr.
Cordero expressed his interest in attending the luncheon and serving
as a liaison to the regional groups.
Grant Funding: Dr. Mirkes summarized the work of this ad
hoc committee, which had started as an effort to identify ways to
increase funding for birth defects research. During the course of
this effort it became clear to Dr. Mirkes and the committee that
this issue was so integrated with other factors relating to the
long-term health of our field and our Society that it would be impossible
to address grant funding without also addressing these other issues.
These include decreases in submissions to Teratology and in Society
Mirkes proposed abolishing the Grant Funding Committee, and establishing
another committee that would develop a long-range strategic plan
for the Society. Dr. Sulik reminded Council that this had also been
the goal of the earlier Blueprint 2000 Committee, but that there
had been no mechanism for follow-up on that Committee's recommendations.
Dr. Kavlock stressed the need for status and trend data on items
such as publications, funding and membership.
approved the concept of seating an ad hoc Strategic Planning Committee.
After much discussion, it was decided that the best course of action
was to first form a very small committee that would establish goals.
Dr. Mirkes was charged with forming this group, and with reporting
back to Council on the composition and charge of the committee.
Dr. Slikker urged Dr. Mirkes to get input from other committees
such as the Publications Committee in identifying the issues that
need to be addressed. Dr. Cordero asked that this small committee
develop a plan of action for review at the Fall Council meeting.
Mirkes expressed the need to obtain a facilitator to help with the
early phases of the Committee's work. Dr. Cordero indicated that
he knew of a professional facilitator at March of Dimes whom he
would contact to inquire his level of interest in serving the Strategic
Planning Committee on a pro bono basis.
Societal Participation: Bill Slikker, as Council liaison
to this committee, reported that the group is developing a survey
to gather information on the career choices and whereabouts of former
student members of the Society. Council endorsed this activity.
Council also asked Dr. Slikker to remind Dr. McCandless to send
Council a hard copy of the results of the original survey he had
sent out regarding societal participation.
Wolrdwide Web Page: Carol Lemire and Eve Kagan joined the
meeting at this point. Ms. Kagan has been overseeing efforts to
develop a Teratology Society page on the Web. She has been assisted
by Dave Wise and Bill Landau. Dr. Sulik stated that she has also
asked Sid Hunter and Rich Miller to help in this effort.
Kagan shared with Council a proposal from Mr. Landau to develop
a web page. This would include meeting announcements, calls for
abstracts, and other information that is now issued in Society mailings.
Costs for establishing and maintaining the page were included, and
would be extra if the atlas of fetal abnormalities that has been
developed by Dr. Wise and his committee are added. It was suggested
that it may be possible to defray this extra cost if we could attract
sponsors for the atlas. It was agreed that Dr. Wise would be asked
to seek such support. Ms. Kagan reported that the cost of the web
page without the atlas would be approximately $700 per year, assuming
that it were to be accessed an average of ten times per month.
was considerable discussion as to whether 10 accesses per month
was a realistic estimate, and on the contents of the page. It was
decided that an ad hoc committee be formed to study the issue and
make recommendations. Dr. Sulik indicated that the committee would
be made up of Rich Miller (chair), Sid Hunter, Dave Wise, Jan Friedman
and Eve Kagan (ex officio). It was charged wih making recommendations
on what should be included on the page and how it could be made
to pay for itself. Council moved and approved a limit of $1000 to
be spent on the development of the webpage.
Newsletter: Carole Kimmel indicated that the newsletter had
been included in the prototype web page being developed by Ms. Kagan.
Dr. Kimmel expressed the need to include more committee reports,
business meeting minutes and annual financial statement in the newsletter.
Dr. Kimmel stated her intention to resign as newsletter editor.
Council thanked Dr. Kimmel for her 5 and one-half years of service.
Dr. Daston was appointed as the new newsletter editor.
IFTS: Dr. Kimmel reported that this group has been working
in earnest to harmonize terminology. MARTA, a French group and a
group from Germany headed by Dr. Chahoud have all submitted information
to be used in the process. The terminology group is scheduled to
meet in Keystone and at the European Teratology Society meeting
in Rome in September 1996 to review the data, mold it into a common
format, and decide on how its publication will be funded. It is
the desire of the group to have the atlas available on the Worldwide
Web. The atlas is now restricted to lab animals, but there is the
desire to eventually include human fetal malformations. Dr. Kimmel
emphasizes the amount of work that Dr. Wise's group in the U.S.
has put into the development of the atlas.
Kimmel reported that the IFTS has decided to use its dues to establish
a student fellowship to support work for a summer in a lab anywhere
in the world. A sum of $5000 has been set aside, and the procedure
for administering the fellowship will be put in place by 1997. The
idea was floated and rejected by Council that some of the Wilson
Fund be used to support this fellowship.
Kimmel reminded Council that her term on the IFTS Council ends in
1996, and that a replacement must be appointed. She suggested that
it would be beneficial for that replacement to have had some interactions
with the World Health Organization.
Publications: Dick Skalko raised the concern of the Publications
Committee that the ad hoc Grant Funding Committee had too much overlap
with the purview of the Publications Committee, especially regarding
the future of the journal. Dr. Skalko indicated that the journal's
future had already been an active topic within his committee, and
reported on the Committee's deliberations.
idea of changing the name of the journal had been discussed. The
publisher was not enthusiastic about this, because of the potential
for readership to decline. The Committee endorsed the idea of scrapping
our current system of Section Editors in favor of an Editorial Board
appointed by the Editor-in-Chief to three year terms. The Committee
has stressed to the journal's publisher that more color plates need
to be offered, turnaround of manuscripts needs to be faster, and
that there is a need to advertise the journal to scientists working
in areas that are no longer submitting manuscripts to Teratology.
Dr. Skalko reported that the publisher is planning a webpage for
all of its journals, with abstracts. Lastly, he reported that the
Committee had tabled the suggestion of instituting an annual award
for the best paper in the journal.
Editor-in-Chief: Tom Sadler reported that the time taken
to review manuscripts has decreased, but that there is still a 5
month lag at the publishers between receipt of accepted manuscripts
and publication. Wiley-Liss has promised to decrease this to 3 months.
Dr. Sadler also reported that Wiley-Liss has been urged to send
out two issues immediately to catch up with the calendar.
Sadler reported a significant decrease in manuscript submissions.
Only 45 have been submitted so far this year. CDC has indicated
its interest in publishing its annual surveillance report in Teratology,
which will fill an issue. The impact factor of the journal has also
declined. Developmental Genetics, Roux's Archives of Development
and Anatomy and Embryology have all moved ahead of Teratology on
the impact scale.
has doubled the number of color plates to 16 for this year. Dr.
Sadler feels that this is adequate to support current requests for
color. Wiley is also working on an advertising campaign that will
target epidemiologists, alcohol researchers and molecular biologists.
Dr. Sadler also reported that Wiley-Liss is willing to pay $500
for solicited reviews or Teratogen Updates.
Sadler recommended that Council consider increasing dues to ensure
that funds are available to offer free color plates on an ad libitum
basis. He also suggested that the journal could offer rapid publication
on an as needed basis.
Education: Tom Knudsen reported that there were 126 attendees
at this year's course. People stayed to the end, and comments were
positive. Extra notebooks are available at a cost of $25 each. The
registration fees were the same as last year, except tuition for
students was decreased from $75 to $25. There were no differences
in student enrollment, however. Dr. Knudsen recommended that one
of the new appointees to the Committee be someone who has had previous
experience. He also reminded Council that Narsingh Agnish, who has
been instrumental in producing the course notebooks since the inception
of the Education Committee, will be retiring in 6 years, and that
we will need to find another mechanism for producing the notebooks.
Knudsen indicated that there was a need to have a formal policy
for acknowledging the use of copyrighted material in the course
notebooks. The letter of inviation to the speakers will be amended
to include language that the speakers are responsible for obtaining
permission to use copyrighted material.
Editor-in-Chief Search: Dr. Sadler has stated his intention
not to seek another term as Editor. Therefore, there is a need to
form a committee, as outlined in the Constitution, to find a replacement.
This will be formed in the next few months, so that interviews of
candidates can take place during the 1997 annual meeting. Wiley-Liss
has indicated its willingness to support two editorial offices during
the period of transition from Dr. Sadler to the new editor.
Public Affairs: Dr. Friedman reported that a press release
describing the Society's position on vitamin A was sent out on the
occasion of the publication of the Rothman et al. paper in the New
England Journal of Medicine. However, he did not know whether it
had been used by any of the media. The Committee's letter to the
editor of NEJM was not published.
major activity of the Committee was the organization of the therapeutic
teratogens symposium for the annual meeting.
of the Committee are in the process of drafting consensus statements
on folic acid and vitamin A. Lew Holmes is chairing the folic acid
effort, and has indicated that a draft will be completed at this
annual meeting. Ed Lammer is chairing the re-evaluation of vitamin
A, and estimates that a draft will be ready by January.
Committee assisted in efforts to publicize the annual meeting. Dr.
Sulik issued a press release from Univ. of North Carolina, and also
sent a release to the Univ. of North Carolina Press, the Univ. of
Colorado public relations office, the CDC press office (which sent
it to the DeKalb County newspaper), and one will be sent to the
Helena, Montana paper regarding Dr. Opitz' participation. Publicity
activities will be continued next year, and will be coordinated
with the Neurobehavioral Teratology Society.
the FDA labelling of drugs issue, Bern Schwetz has reported that
the FDA is pursuing the Society's recommendations because the Agency
believes it will improve the communication of information regarding
risks in pregnancy. Dr. Schwetz requests a letter from the Teratology
Society supporting his efforts to establish an advisory committee
to draft guidelines on wording for the new labelling. Dr. Friedman
will draft a letter for Dr. Cordero's signature.
Public Affairs Symposium topic for 1997 will be Nutrition and Birth
Defects other than NTDs, and will be organized by John Harris. A
proposed position paper on hormone disrupters has been tabled until
next year. Council urged the Committee to reconsider this as an
activity for this year. Other suggestions, including one from Tom
Shepard on the establishment of criteria to prove that an agent
is teratogenic and one from Bob Brent to establish guidelines for
expert testimony have been given a lower priority by the Committee.
Public Affairs Committee believes that it should work on the issue
of increasing our public visibility, and believes that the best
way to achieve this is by employing an information specialist or
Legislative Affairs: It was announced that Gary Kimmel had
resigned as chair of the committee. Dr. Francis stressed that the
new chair of the committee needs to be able to access information
about pending legislation, and that members of the committee should
visit Congressional staff to inform them of our needs. Dr. Francis
was asked to consider chairing the Legislative Affairs Committee.
ends the committee reports.
Dues Increase: Dr. Sulik reported that the mailing costs
for the journal have increased significantly for foreign subscriptions,
to $60 per subscription. Wiley-Liss has informed us that they will
start to charge the Society for these costs as of January 1997.
The overall cost of this increase to the Society is approximately
$12.50 per member. Council approved a resolution to request the
support of the membership of a dues increase of $15, to be voted
on at the annual business meeting.
meeting was adjourned at 2:40 PM.
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