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TERATOLOGY SOCIETY ANNUAL BUSINESS MEETING
Keystone Resort
Keystone, Colorado
June 25, 1996

Dr. Sulik called the meeting to order at 6:00 PM MDT. Approximately 120 members were in attendance.

Approval of Minutes: The minutes of the 1995 annual business meeting were approved.

President's Report: Dr. Sulik reported that she had appointed Dr. Mirkes to head an ad hoc Committee on Grant Funding to determine what could be done to increase support for birth defects research. It became clear to this group that the problem of research support was integrated with many other issues crucial to the future of the Teratology Society. Therefore, the Grant Funding Committee has been dissolved, and a new Committee on Strategic Planning will be established, also headed by Dr. Mirkes. This committee will be similar in mission to the Blueprint 2000 Committee, and the recommendations of that committee and the Strategic Planning Committee will be used to develop an action plan to ensure the continued growth and health of the Teratology Society.

Dr. Sulik reported that she had met during the year with Michael Katz, Kay Johnson and Suzanne Cassidy of the March of Dimes, and was pleased to report that March of Dimes has provided $12,000 to support one of our symposia.

Dr. Sulik stated that an ad hoc committee had been formed to establish a page for the Teratology Society on the Worldwide Web. She also reported that the meeting abstract form had been updated. The new form was more efficient and therefore less costly to process.

Dr. Sulik reported that foreign postage for Teratology had increased, and that the publisher was passing on the cost to the Society. The cost would be fully covered by a $15 increase in dues to all members. It was moved and seconded that dues be increased by $15 to cover the cost of foreign postage. Dr. Brent expressed his belief that postage was the responsibility of the publisher, but was informed that this had changed under the new contract. Dr. Agnish inquired whether the publisher or the Society mailed the journal and was informed by Dr. Skalko that it was the former, and that postage rates are negotiated between the publisher and the postal service. The motion was amended to simply state that the dues be raised by $15. The amendment was accepted, and the motion carried by a vote of 75-1.

Dr. Sulik reported that one issue of Teratology had mistakenly been mailed to members of the American College of Toxicology, because the publisher of the journal had been sent the wrong mailing list by the Teratology Society office. Reprinting and mailing of the issue to our members resulted in a charge of approximately $3500. (Note added by Executive Secretary: exact cost was $2931.65)

Dr. Sulik expressed the opinion of Council that it is no longer adequate to select meeting sites only three years in advance. An ad hoc site selection committee will be established at the Council meeting on June 27, 1996.

Dr. Sulik reported that Drs. Lipson, Monie, Murakami, Nishimura, Pexeider, and the spouses of Dr. Scott and Dr. Tassinari had passed away. A moment of silence ensued.

Dr. Sulik reported to the membership that the Society had failed to occupy the number of rooms that had been estimated in the contract with the Keystone Resort, a situation that could potentially result in a financial penalty. Negotiation to resolve this issue was ongoing, and she expected that these would be completed in a few months. At that time the details of the solution will be publicized to the membership.

The President's report was approved by consensus.

Secretary's Report: Dr. Daston reported that the Society currently has 751 members, most of whom are regular members. There are 4 associate, 13 student, 3 honorary and 50 emeritus members. Fifty-nine of our members are delinquent in their dues for 1996.

The Society has 13 companies in its President's Circle, and 14 corporate members as of this meeting. One additional company has indicated its intention to subscribe as a corporate member shortly after the meeting.

The Secretary's report was approved by consensus.

Treasurer's Report: Dr. Francis provided the attendees with a written summary of the Teratology Society's finances. Income for 1995 was more than $300,000, with expenses of about $280,000, and net growth being close to $30,000. This was attributable to good annual meeting revenue and high attendance at the Education Course. Income for the Warkany Fund was down, largely because the consulting fees that had been redirected to the fund are no longer coming in.

Dr. Francis noted that there is an apparent deficit in the operating fund because dues, which are the revenue for this fund, do not sustain the office, which spends much of its resources supporting the annual meeting. The deficit is made up by annual meeting revenue. In the future the meeting and Education funds will be realigned to better reflect the support of the annual meeting provided by the office staff.

Dr. Oakley inquired about how much the Society has in reserve. Dr. Francis replied that the Society had $110,000 in certificates of deposit. Dr. Oakley suggested that we put this money in a stock market fund. Dr. Brent replied that non-profit organizations have an obligation to their members not to take risks. Dr. Schardein asked what the 1996 income was. Dr. Francis replied that the Society was on target to reach its projected income, but that the annual meeting was the time of the Society's greatest expenses and income. Dr. Faustman suggested that the budget be included as an item for the Strategic Planning Committee.

The Treasurer's report was approved by consensus.

Vice President's Report: Dr. Cordero reported that next year's annual meeting will be held at the Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach, Florida, on June 21-26. The room rates will be in the range of $115-150. (Note added by Executive Secretary: Student room rate is $79.)

Nominations and Elections Committee: Dr. Welsch reported that Dr. Scialli had been elected Vice President-Elect, and Dr. Hales Councilor, but that both races had been close.

Education Committee: Dr. Knudsen reported that the course had 126 attendees, and that the evaluations were very positive. He and Dr. Tellone will rotate off the committee. Dr. Weir will be the incoming chair. He thanked Dr. Agnish and Hoffmann LaRoche for their continuing support of the course.

Public Affairs Committee: Dr. Friedman reported that position papers are being developed on folic acid and neural tube defect prevention (effort chaired by Dr. Holmes), and an update of vitamin A teratogenicity (chaired by Dr.Lammer). He indicated that his committee will develop a plan and subcommittee to improve communication between the Teratology Society and other organizations and policy makers. Dr. Sadler urged the Public Affairs Committee to expedite completion of its position papers.

Constitution and By-Laws Committee: Dr. Hardin reported that all five ballot issues to amend the Constitution passed.

Student Affairs Committee: Dr. Rogers reported that the Committee had received 21 requests for travel awards and 24 for consideration for a Wilson award. This is a marked decrease from previous years, but appears to be due to problems in funding for mentors and should not be taken as a decreased interest in the field. The Wilson Fund is doing well, and is contributing an additional $100 to each travel award. The Eli Lilly Company is supporting two travel awards. The student mixer held earlier in the meeting was successful, and Dr. Rogers thanked Dr. Parker for his presentation. Dr. Welsch's wife has developed a pamphlet on effective communication, which was distributed to the students. Lastly, the committee is developing a plan for preliminary judging for the Wilson awards, and to highlight student presentations by scheduling them earlier in the meeting.

Membership Committee: Dr. Hood reported that there were 33 applications for regular membership, 5 for student membership and 1 for associate membership; one application had subsequently been withdrawn. The Committee recommended that all of the applicants be accepted as members, and has posted the names on the message board outside the meeting rooms. It was moved and approved to accept the roster of new members.

Publications Committee: Dr. Skalko reported that the Publications Committee had lengthy discussions about the future of the journal, its editorship, and the Society, with no resolution. He stated that Dr. Holmes had been appointed as Editor of the Teratogen Update section of the journal, and that Dr. Holmes was increasing the number of updates submitted. He reported that Dr. Yasuda had suggested to the Committee that the journal have a web page: this is being set up by the publisher. Dr. Skalko reported that a suggestion had been made to establish an annual award for the best paper in the journal, but that this idea had been tabled by the Committee. Lastly, he reported that Dr. Sadler had made known his intention not to seek another term as Editor-in-Chief of Teratology, and that Council would be appointing a search committee, according to the Constitution and By-Laws.

Editor-in-Chief: Dr. Sadler reported that 130 manuscripts were submitted to the journal in 1995, but that the publication of the journal was a few months behind schedule. Average review time was 1.9 months, as was average time to make revisions, but the review time has decreased to 6 weeks thanks to a new secretary in the editorial office. Most of the delay between submission and publication is at the publisher, who has promised to pick up the pace.

The submission rate for 1996 has dropped: only 45 manuscripts have been submitted during the first six months. Dr. Sadler reported that the impact factor of the journal has decreased because there are fewer citations of articles in Teratology. Our ranking among developmental biology journals has slipped. Wiley-Liss has indicated that it will launch an advertising campaign to target molecular biology, clinical teratology/ dysmorphology and genetics researchers to try to increase manuscript submissions from these areas. The publisher has agreed to increase the number of color plates provided gratis to 16 per year. The journal will now advertise that it offers free color plates.

The editorial board will be expanded, and Section Editors will be eliminated. The journal will begin to offer rapid publication on an ad hoc basis. CDC will publish its annual report on developmental data as an issue of Teratology. Review articles will be solicited, for which Wiley-Liss will provide an honorarium.

Dr. Sheehan suggested that the journal include mini-reviews. There was also some discussion about changing the name of the journal, but it was decided that this needed further consideration. Dr. Brent urged that not too many things be changed at once.

New Business: It was announced that Dr. Carole Kimmel was stepping down as editor of the newsletter, and her service was gratefully acknowledged. Dr. Daston will be the new editor for the newsletter. Dr. Gary Kimmel was also thanked for his service as chair of the Legislative Affairs Committee, which he is now relinquishing.

Dr. Brent reported that the National Council for Radiation Protection is devoting its 1997 annual meeting to reproductive effects. He suggested that Dr. Sadler consider publishing the proceedings in Teratology. Dr. Sadler supported this. Dr. Brent also reported that there had been a legislative initiative in Congress last year supporting testing of new therapeutic agents in children, but did not have any information beyond that.

Dr. Miller provided a synopsis of the festschrift in honor of Dr. Brent held earlier this year at Jefferson Medical College. Dr. Miller also reported that in response to the publication on vitamin A teratogenesis by Rothman et al., published in November 1995 in New England Journal of Medicine, the Organization of Teratogen Information Services (OTIS) had set up an 800 number to provide information on vitamin A. It was also reported that Drs. Erickson and Oakley had written an editorial about the Rothman paper in the same issue of NEJM, and that a number of letters to Lancet on the subject of vitamin A teratogenesis had been published.

Dr. DeSesso inquired about the actions being taken by Council to resolve the issue with Keystone of not meeting our room quota, and what steps were being taken to prevent similar problems in the future. Dr. Sulik replied that the Society's lawyer was reviewing the Keystone contract and all contracts for future meetings, and that we were in negotation with Keystone to resolve the room slippage issue. She expressed the belief that the outcome of the negotiation would be fair, and reiterated that the membership of the Society would be fully informed of the outcome of the negotiations as soon as they were completed. Dr. Sulik stated that in the future the Society may develop its own draft contract rather than relying on drafts from hotels, and that Dr. Daston was looking into the possibility of using professional meeting planners. Dr. Stephen Harris inquired as to how much the penalty for the room slippage would be. Dr. Sulik replied that this was subject to negotation and was not known at this time.

Dr. Oakley asked that the Teratology Society consider over the next year the topic of changing its name to help laymen understand what we do. Dr. Sulik replied that this topic has already been under consideration, and reminded the attendees that Dr. Mirkes had written a newsletter article about it. She also indicated that this would be a subject of discussion of the new Strategic Planning Committee.

Dr. Oakley reported that the House Appropriations Committee had approved a $600 million increase to theNIH budget for the next fiscal year, but this has yet to be acted on by the Senate.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:40 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

George P. Daston

Secretary

 

 

 

 

 

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