SOCIETY ANNUAL BUSINESS MEETING
Palm Beach, Florida
June 24, 1997
Cordero called the meeting to order at 6:00 PM EDT. Approximately
115 members were in attendance.
of Minutes: The minutes of the 1996 annual business meeting
Report: Dr. Daston reported that the Society currently has 798
members, most of whom are full members. There are 5 associate, 12
student, 61 emeritus and 3 honorary members. Seventy-four members
were delinquent in their dues as of this date.
Society has 13 companies in its President's Circle and 16 corporate
report was approved by consensus.
for Dr. Pexieder: Dr. Ferencz summarized the contributions of
Dr. Tomas Pexieder, who passed away unexpectedly last year.
Report: Dr. Cordero reported that we had failed to occupy the
minimum number of room-nights specified in our contract with The
Breakers for the 1997 annual meeting. As with last year's problem
with room slippage, the problem arose because of overly optimistic
predictions of annual meeting attendance made in 1994, when the
contract was signed. At that time the size of the annual meetings
had been growing steadily for several years, and we had just had
our most highly attended meeting ever, in Puerto Rico. Although
we decreased our occupancy obligation by the maximum amount allowed
in the contract, this was still insufficient to cover the shortfall
in attendance. Dr. Cordero explained that The Breakers will forgive
all of the financial penalty stipulated in the contract if we agree
to return for our 2000 annual meeting.
Cordero introduced Mr. Fred Edson, Sales Manager at The Breakers,
to explain the contract for 2000. Mr. Edson stated that the new
contract would be comparable to the agreement for 1997. The Breakers
will guarantee that room rates will not increase more than 5% per
year from the $115 rate offered in 1997. He also stated that the
hotel is building a new beach club and additional meeting space
that will be available for our 2000 meeting. The meeting will be
held June 24-29, 2000, the traditional week for our annual meeting.
Cordero recommended that the meeting return to The Breakers in 2000.
Dr. Oakley endorsed this recommendation. A motion to that effect
was made and passed by consensus.
Cordero reported that the number of abstracts being submitted to
the annual meeting was down again this year, and that there had
been a continuous decline since 1994, when 214 abstracts were submitted.
He believes that the decrease reflects a general decrease in funding
for teratology research. These issues have been of concern to Council.
Therefore, an ad hoc Strategic Planning Committee was formed to
develop a long-range plan with goals for improvement and growth.
Dr. Cordero reported that the results of the committee's work had
been presented to the membership at an open forum earlier in the
day, chaired by Dr. Mirkes.
Cordero stated that we had successfully renewed our partnership
with the Organization of Teratogen Information Services (OTIS),
which held its meeting in conjunction with ours. OTIS has already
made plans to hold its meeting with ours in 1998. We continue to
enjoy our long standing partnership with the Neurobehavioral Teratology
Society, which continues to plan its meetings in conjunction with
Cordero indicated that we were able to sponsor a speaker from Brazil
at this year's meeting, and he hopes that we will be able to continue
our outreach to Latin America and other developing regions.
Cordero reported that Council had explored the possibility of seeking
associate membership status in FASEB, and Council recommends that
we do so. The cost of associate membership is $5000 per year. FASEB
has considerable influence on issues related to legislation and
Congressional funding of biomedical research, as well as apportionment
of funds, the nature of graduate education, and a variety of other
topics of interest to the Teratology Society. FASEB develops its
positions by holding consensus conferences, to which we, as an associate
member, would have the right to send representatives and participate
fully. We were invited to observe one such conference, on graduate
education, last Fall. Dr. Francis spent a day at the conference
and felt that there was an opportunity to participate, although
it is likely to take time and effort to optimize our influence.
followed. Dr. Brent asked how many of our members are already members
of FASEB. Dr. Dearlove asked whether the $5000 dues was a flat fee
or based on the size of our membership. Dr. Cordero replied that
it was a flat rate until we grow large enough to qualify for full
membership status. Dr. Slikker asked for the opinion of the Legislative
Affairs Committee. Dr. Francis interjected that the consensus conference
she attended did not address a legislative topic. Dr. Scialli replied
that our Legislative Affairs Committee has never been successful
at influencing legislation, but that FASEB has done a much better
job. He felt that the per member cost of FASEB associate membership
was sufficiently low that, given the opportunity to make headway,
it was worth trying for a few years. He also indicated that we would
need to appoint a member in the Washington, DC area to represent
us at the consensus conferences, but that this was not a problem.
Dr. Mirkes added that there is a National Research Council report
being drafted on developmental toxicology that is likely to attract
the attention of Congress. He felt that we would be in a better
position to influence Congress's response if we worked through FASEB.
was moved that we seek associate membership in FASEB. It was clarified
that we will not be holding our annual meeting with FASEB. The motion
passed by consensus.
Report: Dr. Francis distributed a detailed financial report
that she had prepared. She acknowledged the conscientious work of
Ms. Lemire and Ms. Kagan in managing the Society's finances and
keeping costs in line. Income for the Society was approximately
$300,000, mostly from the annual meeting. Dr. Francis noted the
significance of corporate sponsors and the Education Fund to the
Society's bottom line. Net income from the annual meeting has consistently
been in the $30-40,000 range for the last several years, with the
exception of the 1994 which incurred a $16,500 loss. Dr. Francis
explained that she has made changes in how we account for operating
expenses and meeting expenses, to comply with new accounting laws.
Brent requested an itemized comparison of income and expenses. Dr.
Francis explained that this was included in her written report that
was distributed. Dr. Cordero commented that the loss at the 1994
meeting would have been greater except for a contribution from the
Puerto Rican government. Dr. Collins inquired whether the $10,000
penalty for room slippage incurred after the 1996 annual meeting
was included in the calculation of meeting revenue. Dr. Francis
indicated that it was. Dr. Collins also indicated that approval
for government workers to travel to the annual meeting often comes
too late to meet the registration deadline for the hotel, and wanted
to make sure that all meeting attendees were accounted for when
room occupancy is calculated.
Treasurer's report was approved by consensus.
Management: Dr. Daston reported that Council had looked into
several options for professional management of the Teratology Society.
Council reviewed several proposals, including maintaining our current
staff. After considerable deliberation, site visits by two Council
members, and cost comparisons, Council recommends that we hire Association
Development Group (ADG), beginning January 1, 1998. ADG is located
in the suburbs of Washington, DC. It manages a number of professional
societies, including the Society of Toxicology. ADG has a staff
with expertise in management, meeting planning, accounting, computers,
desktop publishing and other skills that we require. The costs of
all of the options that were considered appear comparable, and are
comparable to our current management situation. The advantage to
the Society will be a greater range of expertise than is available
with current staff, particularly in the area of meeting planning.
number of questions were raised by members attending the meeting
about the reasons for the change and its cost. A motion was made
to support Council's decision to enter into a contract with ADG.
The motion carried.
President's Report: Dr. Mirkes reported that the discussion
of the strategic plan in open session earlier in the afternoon had
been productive. He reported that the Society's room occupancy commitment
for the 1998 meeting site -- the Princess Hotel in San Diego --
was comparable to the meeting attendance in 1996 and 1997. The room
rate will be $120/night. The dates of the meeting will be June 20-25,
and Elections: Dr. John M. Rogers announced the results of the
elections: Dr. Seegmiller is the new Secretary, Dr. Finnell Councilor,
and Dr. Daston Vice President-Elect.
Search: Dr. Schardein reported that the committee had received
six nominations. Four were interviewed by phone, and two were recommended
for Council's consideration. Council was still deliberating at the
time of the business meeting.
Dr. Wier reported that there were 173 attendees at this year's course,
"Experimental Approaches for Studying Mechanisms of Abnormal
Development". He projected the net income from the course to
be $19,000. Dr. Wier gratefully acknowledged the continuing support
of Hoffman-LaRoche and Narsingh Agnish in preparing the course notebooks
and serving as a resource. Craig Harris will chair the committee
Affairs: Dr. Friedman indicated that Dr. Manson's name was omitted
from the program, but that she was an active member of the committee.
He reported that the consensus statement on folic acid was completed
and will be published soon in Teratology. The committee continues
to support efforts to improve FDA labeling of drugs for use in pregnancy.
Dr. Brent will represent the Society at a FDA hearing on labeling.
A working group of the committee is preparing an update of the position
paper on vitamin A. A consensus statement on hormone disrupters
is also being developed by the committee.
Affairs: Dr. Fantel reported that 27 student travel awards had
been made this year, two being supported by the Eli Lilly Co. He
stated that the committee was using a new process to select candidates
for the student awards, with 8 students being pre-selected on the
basis of materials submitted at the time of the abstract deadline,
to participate in a special platform session on the last day of
the meeting. There were fewer submissions with the new process,
but Dr. Fantel felt that they were of high quality.
Dr. Buttar reported that his committee had evaluated the applications
of 46 prospective members: 37 regular, 7 student and 2 associate
members. Their names had been posted on a bulletin board since the
start of the annual meeting. The slate was approved by consensus
of the membership.
Dr. Sadler reported that over 100 manuscripts were submitted to
the journal in 1996, and 55 had been submitted to this point in
1997. Publication of the journal is still behind because of this
low manuscript submission rate. An entire issue of the journal will
be devoted to U.S. birth defects registry data, and another issue
to the proceedings of a symposium on reproductive and developmental
effects of radiation sponsored by NCRP in April 1997 and chaired
by Dr. Brent. Dr. Sadler indicated that the impact factor for Teratology
had returned to its historical ranking in the middle of developmental
biology journals: 14th of 23 journals this year.
meeting was adjourned at 8:05 PM.
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