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TERATOLOGY SOCIETY COUNCIL CONFERENCE CALL
November 25, 1996

The call was initiated at 1:30 PM EST. In attendance were Jose Cordero, Phil Mirkes, Kathy Sulik, Elaine Francis, Barbara Hales, Bob Kavlock, Jan Friedman, Carol Lemire (ex officio), Eve Kagan (ex officio) and George Daston. Dr. Cordero presided.

Keystone Update: Dr. Cordero reported that he had received only one comment about the newsletter item describing the resolution of the Keystone issue, and that comment was positive.

Proposal for 2000 Annual Meeting: A copy of the proposal from the Breakers to hold the 2000 annual meeting had been circulated to Council (attached). Dr. Cordero reported that the proposal needed to be approved by December 31, 1996, but could be cancelled up to two years in advance of the annual meeting without penalty. He stated that our potential penalty for room slippage at the 1997 meeting would be comparable to that faced at Keystone. The reservation for 2000 is 2200 room-nights. The proposed contract has been reviewed and revised by our attorney.

Dr. Friedman raised questions about our obligations to meet the daily distribution of room occupancy as proposed. Dr. Cordero agreed to look into this. Dr. Friedman also asked whether the room rates could be decreased by $10 instead of the Teratology Society receiving a $10 rebate. Dr. Cordero replied that he would prefer to decrease the registration fee by $10, making the overall savings to our members equivalent. Dr. Kavlock asked whether the meeting space would be the same as for the 1997 meeting. Ms. Lemire suggested that we indicate this in the contract.

It was moved and seconded and approved that the proposed contract be signed, but that the decision be revisited at the Council II meeting in June 1997.

Program Committee: Dr. Mirkes reported that the symposia are set, and that keynote speakers for the platform sessions will be invited soon. He requested suggestions for keynote speakers in the next few days for sessions on mechanisms, clinical teratology, epidemiology and risk assessment. The OTIS agenda has been incorporated into our program and will be published with our agenda. The education course will be on experimental approaches for the study of abnormal development.

Management Update: Dr. Daston reported that he and Dr. Francis had visited ADG and Drohan and were favorably impressed by both. They will evaluate all four proposals on the table (ADG, Drohan, FASEB and one from our existing staff) by end of December.

Office Move: Ms. Lemire reported that the 5th floor space offered by FASEB has been given to another tenant, but that FASEB may still request that we move at a later date. She also reported that she has not yet received a quote for monthly rental fee for 1997.

Strategic Planning Meeting: Dr. Mirkes reported that he had received proposals to facilitate our strategic planning meeting from two groups. Kaye Carroll of MOD has identified two other possibilities, from whom Dr. Mirkes has solicited proposals. Dr. Mirkes is considering holding the meeting in March immediately before the Society of Toxicology meeting. This would reduce total travel costs as many of the participants in the retreat would already be attending the SOT meeting.

Newsletter Feedback: Dr. Daston read a letter sent to him by Dan Sheehan for publication in the newsletter (attached). Dr. Sheehan's letter was critical of many aspects of the Keystone meeting and the direction of the Society. Dr. Daston indicated that he had spoken with Dr. Sheehan about the concerns that he had raised to try to get more specific criticisms that could be responded to and if necessary acted upon, and to answer any questions that Dr. Sheehan might have about the management of the Society. Dr. Daston reported that after discussing several options about publishing his letter or a revision with more specific criticisms, Dr. Sheehan agreed to suspend for now his request to have the letter published.

One very powerful message from Dr. Sheehan's letter was that he, and presumably most of the membership, would like more information about the activities of Council . Dr. Friedman asked that we consider ways to make Council meeting minutes more accessible. Dr. Daston indicated that it would be too costly to reprint all the minutes in the newsletter or to mail them separately to the entire membership. However, it would be possible to print the agendae for Council meetings in the newsletter, and to put the full minutes on the website or to advertise more widely that the minutes are available in hard copy on request from the Secretary. Dr. Daston offered to develop a mechanism to do this.

Liability Insurance: Dr. Francis reported that she had reviewed policies from two companies with comparable premiums. The cost will be approximately $1500/ year for $1 million in coverage. Ms. Lemire offered the alternative that the Society could join a risk group which might have lower premiums, but the premiums in such groups tends to fluctuate wildly. It was moved and approved that Dr. Francis seek a third quote, and after doing so up to $1500 could be expended for the most favorable policy.

FASEB Consensus Conference: Dr. Francis reported that she had attended a FASEB Consensus Conference as an invited observer representing the Society. The topic was training of graduate students. Dr. Francis thought that the process was open and participation was broad. She indicated that she would write an article describing the process for an upcoming newsletter.

Thalidomide Hearing: Dr. Cordero reported that the FDA had held a hearing recently at which an advisory board recommended the use of thalidomide for treatment of AIDS-related conditions. Dr. Friedman related that even though the last Public Affairs Symposium was on this subject, it was not clear whether there was a consensus position among the membership. Dr. Cordero asked the Public Affairs Committee to develop a suggested position.

Dr. Francis raised the concern that the Teratology Society had not been apprised of this meeting or invited to participate. Dr. Cordero replied that he would try to set up a meeting with FDA to encourage them to routinely invite us to hearings on such topics.

Personnel Issues: Staff pay for 1997 was discussed and finalized. The record of this discussion is maintained by the Secretary.

The call was adjourned at 3:15 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

George P. Daston, Ph.D.

Secretary

 

 

 

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