SOCIETY INTERIM COUNCIL MEETING
October 3-4, 1996
meeting was called to order at 1:00 PM EDT on 3 October. In attendance
were Jose Cordero, Phil Mirkes, Tony Scialli, Kathy Sulik, Barbara
Hales, Bob Kavlock, Bill Slikker, Jan Friedman, Carol Lemire (ex
officio) and George Daston. Elaine Francis joined the meeting at
1:35 PM. Dr. Cordero presided.
Planning Process: Dr. Mirkes circulated a cover letter describing
the strategic planning process that had been approved in concept
at Council meetings at Keystone and which he had developed along
with Drs. Kavlock and Daston. He indicated that he had become convinced
that a facilitated retreat was the best method for developing a
strategic plan. He had already contacted and solicited proposals
from two groups that facilitate meetings. Cost estimates for a facilitator's
time and travel range from $2000-$12,000. Both thought that a group
size of twelve people with a passion for the Society would be best
for the retreat.
Sulik expressed the opinion that it would be useful to include participants
who are not members of the Society and who may have a different
view of the direction of the science. She also advised that the
European and Australian Teratology Societies be kept informed about
the process, and that it might be possible to present our plan at
the IFTS meeting in Australia in November 1997. Dr. Cordero reminded
the group that the entire membership of the Society would need to
be involved at some point in the planning process. Dr. Friedman
suggested that this be part of the annual meeting.
Scialli moved that we approve a strategic planning retreat using
an outside facilitator. The motion was seconded and passed. Dr.
Daston moved that up to $15,000 be allocated to cover the costs
of the retreat. The motion was seconded and passed, the only discussion
being that attempts should be made to obtain outside funding.
Membership: Dr. Michael Jackson, Executive Director of FASEB
joined the meeting at 2:30 at the request of Council so that we
might explore the possibility of Sustaining Associate membership
in FASEB. This is a newly established membership category for FASEB
designed to encourage participation by smaller societies that do
not have the membership base or financial resources to qualify for
full membership. Dr. Jackson described in detail the policy analysis
process that FASEB member societies engage in and the consensus
reports that are produced. These reports are shared widely, including
with Congress, and are influential in appropriations decisions.
Dr. Jackson indicated that Associate members could participate fully
in the policy process and invited the Teratology Society to send
a representative to the next policy meeting. Dr. Jackson left the
meeting at 3:30.
of the Teratology Society: Dr. Daston reported that he had solicited
and received proposals from several management companies for the
management of the Teratology Society. These included Argus, ACGIH,
ADG, Drohan Management, and Smith-Buckland. Dr. Friedman moved that
we find a management option preferable to our current situation,
but at comparable cost. After discussion it was decided that we
would continue to pursue the options presented by Drohan and ADG;
we would explore the possibility of management services through
FASEB; and we would ask Ms. Lemire and Ms. Kagan to present a proposal
recommending improvements in our current management procedures.
Dr. Daston volunteered to solicit a proposal from FASEB for managing
the Society and to talk with Carol and Eve. Drs. Daston and Francis
volunteered to vist ADG and Drohan in the next couple of months.
Daston also indicated that he would contact ACT officers to inform
them of our actions.
was called at this point and the meeting was reconvened at 8:30
AM, October 4.
of Minutes: Minutes from the June 22-23 and June 27 Council
meetings, the June 25 annual business meetings, and the August 5
and August 27 conference calls were presented for approval.
Lemire reported that the notation in the June 22-23 minutes about
the affiliation of Bill Landau is incorrect: he is not with FASEB.
Dr. Slikker asked that he be listed as present at the June 22-23
meeting and the August 5 conference call. The minutes were approved
with these changes.
Lemire also reported that the cost of reprinting and mailing the
issue of Teratology that was mistakenly sent to the ACT membership
was $2,931.65, not the "approximately $3500" that was
reported by Dr. Sulik at the annual business meeting. She also indicated
that in addition to the $115-150 room rates at the Breakers about
which Dr. Cordero had informed the membership at the business meeting,
there were rooms available to students at the rate of $79. These
figures will be added parenthetically to the business meeting minutes.
Kavlock asked that, in addition to minutes that the Secretary prepare
a list of Action Items from each meeting. Dr. Daston agreed to prepare
these starting with the current meeting.
Participation Committee: Dr. Slikker serves as the liaison to
this ad hoc committee. He reported that, per Council's request,
he had contacted David McCandless about receiving a quantitative
synopsis of the survey results that Dr. McCandless had reported
anecdotally to Council. It was Council's intention to learn more
about the nature and number of members' comments and criticisms
so that it could take appropriate actions. Dr. McCandless sent a
new report to Dr. Slikker, still without quantitative information,
except that 5-7% of the respondents to the questionnaire had voiced
dissatisfaction about aspects of the functioning of the Teratology
Slikker believed that one problem with obtaining quantitative data
from the survey may have been its design. He proposed that a new
survey be developed that provides quantitative data to inform the
strategic planning process and to track the career paths of student
attendees of previous annual meetings. Dr. Cordero asked Dr. Slikker
to lead this effort. Dr. Mirkes will work with Dr. Slikker to design
the new questionnaire, and asked that Drs. Kavlock and Daston also
be involved so that the survey could optimally support the development
of the strategic plan. Dr. Slikker informed the group that Dr. McCandless
had also volunteered to help. Dr. Cordero suggested that Joe Lary
may also be interested in helping to design the survey. Dr. Francis
requested that the mailing containing the new questionnaire include
a statement about the objective of the survey, and an explanation
of how the information from the previous summary was used. Dr. Kavlock
suggested that the survey be published in the newsletter, along
with an announcement of the strategic planning retreat and a solicitation
for feedback in addition to the questionnaire.
ensued as to whether the development of a new survey to support
the strategic planning process sufficiently overlapped the purpose
of the ad hoc Societal Perticipation Committee as to obviate the
need for the committee. The consensus was that it did. Dr. Daston
moved that the Societal Participation Committee be sunsetted. The
motion was seconded and passed. Dr. Cordero asked Dr. Daston to
draft a letter for his signature thanking the committee for its
work and indicating that the committee members would be asked to
serve on other committees as opportunities arose.
Secretary's Report: Ms. Lemire reported that the estimated revenue
from the annual meeting and education course after expenses was
$44, 582. Ms. Lemire reported that 38 regular, 1 associate and 1
student member of the Society were still delinquent in their 1996
dues. Ms. Lemire also reported that the number of members had been
re-enumerated by Ms. Kagan, and that these figures were in her written
Lemire reported that the Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach had been contacted
after the 1996 annual meeting to reduce the number of room-nights
reserved by 15%, as allowed in our contract. However, we still may
be unable to meet the adjusted room-night figure unless 1997 attendance
is higher than 1996. Dr. Cordero asked that discussion of this point
be postponed until his report.
Lemire related that FASEB has requested that the Teratology Society
relocate its office within the FASEB Building to rooms on the fifth
floor. This would provide much needed additional space, with only
a slight increase in rent ($860/month vs the current $830.67/month);
the Society would be responsible for half. There would also be a
one-time cost to move the furnishings and files to the new office.
Dr. Cordero asked Council to approve the move, pending inspection
of the new space for adequacy of heating and cooling, electrical
and computer lines. Council gave its unanimous approval.
Lemire stated that she and Dr. Francis had looked into the cost
of directors liability insurance for the Teratology Society. The
cost of annual premiums is in the range of $1300-1550, which would
provide $1 million in coverage. Other groups with which members
of Council are involved or are familiar have this insurance, including
ACT. Council unanimously approved the purchase of the insurance,
but asked that our attorney be contacted about the adequacy of the
Report: Dr. Mirkes distributed a handout with the tentative
schedule for the 1997 annual meeting and with the roster for the
Program Committee (attached). He reported that Pat Weir, chair of
the Education Committee, would choose a topic for the course by
mid-October, and information about the course would be submitted
for publication in the next issue of the newsletter. Dr. Mirkes
announced that NIEHS will sponsor a symposium with presenters being
principal investigators for grants emanating from NIEHS's special
RFA on molecular mechanisms of abnormal development.
Mirkes shared with Council a written proposal from John M. Rogers,
immediate past-Chair of the Student Affairs Committee, for a process
to showcase the students who are finalists for merit awards while
facilitating the judging for those awards (attached). Dr. Scialli
moved that the proposal be accepted. The motion was seconded and
passed. The Student Affairs Committee will be asked to keep track
of whether this new system, which requires more information to be
submitted early, has an effect on the number of students applying
Mirkes related that Lew Holmes has asked him to consider inviting
a Brazilian researcher to the annual meeting to speak about her
work on misoprostol and birth defects. Dr. Cordero suggested that
this might foster outreach from our Society to South America, and
that he would like the Society to at least partially underwrite
this individual's travel costs.
Hales indicated that the schedule for the annual meeting needed
to include a discussion of the strategic planning meeting. She suggested
that this be scheduled for the free afternoon. She also noted that
we would need to set aside time for the student award candidates
to present, and that we had lengthened the meeting by holding the
NIEHS-sponsored symposium on Sunday.
ensued about obtaining outside funding for symposia that is free
from conflict of interest. Dr. Sulik will provide Council with a
copy of the Univ. of North Carolina guidelines that we can consider.
President-Elect's Report: Dr. Scialli related that our attorney,
Lynn Fleischer, had concluded that the proposed contract with Keystone
Resort for the 1999 meeting looked favorable. The contract has still
not been signed because Keystone is still preparing the final draft.
meeting will be held over the 4th of July, and fewer complimentary
rooms will be provided than this year. Keystone will provide us
with 12,000 square feet of meeting space (vs. 16,000 in 1996). The
room block that has been reserved is 8% smaller than the actual
occupancy for 1996, and this can still be reduced by up to 15% up
to the day prior to the start of the meeting. Room rates will not
be increased more than 5%, or the Consumer Price Index, whichever
Scialli intends to write a newsletter article explaining what has
been done to resolve this issue. Dr. Sulik indicated that she will
contribute to Dr. Scialli's article, particularly to emphasize that
even after the financial penalty the meeting was highly profitable
and that Keystone is a good meeting venue.
Report: Dr. Cordero reminded Council that our contract with
the Breakers Hotel reserved the same number of room-nights as for
the 1996 Keystone meeting. He reported that Fred Edson of the Breakers
has already been contacted about decreasing our reservation. We
have decreased the reservation by 15%, the maximum allowed in the
contract, but we are still likely to have a shortfall unless attendance
unexpectedly increases. The Breakers has already sent a proposal
for us to have our 2000 annual meeting there. Dr. Cordero recommended
that we not act on this proposal until after the 1997 meeting.
light of this information, Dr. Scialli moved that the ad hoc Site
Selection Committee stop searching this year for a site for the
2000 meeting, and that next year the committee will be charged with
finding a site for the 2000, 2001 and 2002 meetings. The motion
was seconded and passed.
Kavlock stressed that the information about the room slippage at
the Breakers need to be communicated immediately to the membership.
This will be added to the newsletter article being prepared by Drs.
Scialli and Sulik.
Friedman asked whether there was any sort of financial incentive,
such as reduced registration fees, that could be offered as an inducement
to get more attendees at the annual meeting. Drs. Cordero and Francis
replied that the Society could not afford to offer deep discounts.
Dr. Scialli suggested that the new survey ask people what it would
take to get them to attend the meeting. Dr. Kavlock suggested that
we consider the recommendation made in the proposal of one of the
management firms that we lower our food costs so that they be no
more than 25-30% of the registration fee. Drs. Cordero and Sulik
replied that we must keep in mind the importance of the ambiance
of the meeting. Dr. Hales suggested that meeting attendance could
be increased by inviting members who have not submitted abstracts
to chair sessions. Dr. Cordero indicated that he would send letters
to members who have not attended meetings for the past few years
inviting them back. He also will invite South and Central American
researchers to the meeting.
Cordero reported that he will choose the Warkany Lecturer this year
in consultation with Drs. Holmes and Sulik. He will also solicit
nominations from the membership. Subsequently, an ad hoc committee
will be formed to select the lecturer.
Report: Dr. Francis provided an update of budgeted vs. actual
expenditures for 1996 and a proposed 1997 budget (attached). She
stated that the apparent discrepancy on the 1996 accounting statement
between membership dues and the number of active members is because
some of the dues are recorded in December 1995 and have not been
carried over to the 1996 statement.
Francis also indicated that the operating fund for the Society continually
runs a deficit because much of the annual meeting preparation is
charged to the general operating fund. Our auditors have expressed
concern about this. Dr. Scialli moved that 25% of the operating
fund expenses be shifted to the meeting fund expenses. The motion
was seconded and passed. Dr. Daston suggested that the staff keep
track of the actual hours and resources spent during the year on
annual meeting preparation so that the meeting registration fees
can be set to more accurately reflect the cost of the meeting.
Hales and Scialli suggested that the 1997 budget projection balance.
Dr. Daston suggested that as a matter of principle budget projections
should aim for a small surplus. The President should attempt to
meet that goal by setting registration fees, course tuition, proposed
dues adjustments, and decreasing expenses to meet the goal.
Francis indicated that the costs of the strategic planning process,
moving expenses, Web page, and FASEB membership (should this be
pursued) would need to be added to the 1997 projected budget.
Membership: Council considered the offer to join FASEB as a
Sustaining Associate member. Dr. Kavlock moved that we defer this
decision until after the 1997 annual meeting so that the membership
can be asked for their opinions and approval. The motion was seconded
and approved. Dr. Scialli asked that we still ask FASEB to invite
us to observe one of their consensus conferences. He also suggested
that we raise the idea in the newsletter, and ask Dr. Jackson to
draft an article describing the advantages of membership.
Affairs Committee: Dr. Friedman reported that the Committee
has been actively working on several projects:
changes in FDA labelling of drugs, a letter of support has been
sent to Bern Schwetz of FDA, and a follow-up letter will be sent
nominating drugs that are a high priority for re-labelling.
symposium on therapeutic teratogens will be summarized and submitted
to Teratology. The 1997 Public Affairs symposium will be on nutrition
and teratogenesis and be organized by John Harris.
position paper on folate supplementation is almost completed and
will be sent to Council shortly. A draft update of the vitamin A
position paper is due to be completed in January 1997. Dr. Lary
is drafting a position paper on hormone disrupters, due to be completed
in Spring 1997. If a consensus statement is not possible, the paper
will consist of a list of research needs.
Assignments: Dr. Cordero circulated a roster of committee assignments
(attached). The Editor Search Committee will be asked to draft qualifications
for candidates and publish these in the newsletter; select applicants;
and generate a short list of candidates to be interviewed in 1997.
Issues: Confidential performance reviews and salary administration
for the Teratology Society staff were discussed. A summary of performance
reviews and decisions on salary administration are on file with
meeting was adjourned at 3:00 PM.
P. Daston, Ph.D.
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