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TERATOLOGY SOCIETY INTERIM COUNCIL MEETING
Society Office, Bethesda MD
October 17, 1997

The meeting was called to order at 8:00 AM EDT on October 17, 1997. In attendance were Phil Mirkes, Carol Lemire, Bob Seegmiller, Anthony Scialli, Jan Friedman, Elaine Francis, Bill Slikker, Rick Finnell and Barbara Hales. Phil Mirkes presided.

President's Report—Phil Mirkes
Journal Editor Update:
Lew Holmes has accepted the position of Teratology Editor; annual operating budget will be increased; color prints along with a general interest page will be part of the journal format with individual subscriptions set at $120.00; Council recommends that Lew Holmes consult with section editors for ideas concerning the general interest page.
ACTION ITEM: Phil Mirkes will mention this to Lew Holmes.

Barbara Hales suggested that article titles and authorship be available on the Society's website. Bill Slikker suggested that past and future surveys of membership opinions also be put on the website.
ACTION ITEM: Phil Mirkes will pass this on to David Wise.

Suggested Changes in Editor Selection Process:
Phil Mirkes proposed that changes concerning selection process be instituted, that the selection committee be properly charged to come up with candidates according to the bylaws, making sure that the council meeting to select the editor be formalized, that it is appropriate to have the Journal representative involved but not in the final Council meeting.

Handbook of Responsibilities:
Phil Mirkes proposed the development of a handbook for future presidents regarding committee responsibilities, appointments, etc. Each committee chair was charged with making their responsibilities available to Council in writing.
ACTION ITEM: Phil Mirkes will pass this on to each chair.

Strategic Planning Update:
Council recommended that Dan Sheehan be charged with designing a plan for the format of future meetings.
ACTION ITEM: Phil Mirkes will request this item from Dan Sheehan.

Website Development:
Council is pleased with the evolving website and sees great potential for its use. Council members are invited to send appropriate materials to Website Committee and visit website frequently, providing feedback to David Wise and committee.

It was proposed that addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses of members be put on the website. The information should be available only through a search engine that requires entering an individual's name. This would prevent downloading the membership list as a whole. The idea of a searchable membership list was approved by Council. Website committee should be given the responsibility of redesigning the billing form to accommodate email addresses and a few key terms (research specialty, etc.) for future use. Members should check a box if they do not want such information to be publicized. Council minutes should also be posted on the Website.
ACTION ITEMS: Tony Scialli will provide Carol Lemire with a list of key terms, etc. Phil Mirkes will convey overall message to David Wise.

Bob Parker is to contact David Wise concerning photographs of future meeting site, company icons, etc. to appear on the website, e.g., a company homepage providing a list of companies contributing to the Society or sponsoring various Society activities.
ACTION ITEM: Dave Wise and Tony Scialli are to develop the procedure as well as estimated costs to the company.

Tony Scialli proposed that the Website Committee chaired by David Wise be responsible for managing, on a regular basis, the website, and that book reviews, links to other websites, e.g., SDB, MOD, etc., be publicized; motion was seconded by Bill Slikker, vote in favor was unanimous.
ACTION ITEM: Phil Mirkes will pass this on to David Wise.

Council minutes will be made available to the Society membership via the website: general minutes (minus confidential parts) are to be approved on a regular and timely basis (within one week to ten days via email), first by the President, then by Council members, and are then to be transferred to the website where they are kept for perhaps as long as five years.

Proposed changes to the Teratology Society Constitution and Bylaws:
Proposed Change No. 1, Name of Society:
Article I - Name and Objectives, Section 2: "This Society shall be known as the TERATOLOGY SOCIETY." Replace TERATOLOGY SOCIETY with BIRTH DEFECTS RESEARCH SOCIETY at each occurrence throughout the Constitution and Bylaws. Reason for change, "Birth Defects Research Society" is intended to better represent the multidisciplinary nature of the Society than is connoted by "Teratology Society."
	Consideration of this proposed name change has and will be an ongoing process according to minutes of previous Council meeting. Constitution and Bylaws Committee chair David Beckman is expected to give a succinct report at the 1998 Society Business Meeting; a written committee report is to be given to the membership ahead of time to ensure smooth operation of the business meeting where this item will be discussed; the bylaws state that members are to be given the agenda 60 days prior to the annual meeting, which would be April 21, 1998 (see minutes of previous council meeting, June 1997, for the complete timeline).
	Billing section of annual registration form should request email address; a list of members who do not have email addresses should be created for such announcements to be sent to them by bulk mail.

Proposed Change No 2 , Mission Statement:
Article I - Name and Objectives, Section 3: "The objective of the Society shall be to stimulate scientific interest in and to promote the exchange of ideas and information on problems of abnormal biological development and malformations at the fundamental or clinical level." The proposed change: replace the current Article I - Name and Objectives, Section 3 with: "The Teratology Society is a multidisciplinary scientific society, the members of which study the causes and biological processes leading to abnormal development and birth defects at the fundamental and clinical level, and appropriate measures for prevention. The mission of the Society is: (1) to promote research and the exchange of ideas and research results that reveal the causes, improve the diagnosis and treatment, and prevent the occurrence of abnormal development and birth defects; (2) to provide education and training on the causes, mechanisms, treatment and prevention of birth defects; and (3) to communicate that information to physicians, public health parties that promotes the elimination of birth defects when possible and amelioration of them when they occur. Reason for change: The proposed mission statement more accurately reflects the nature and breadth of the mission of the Society than the original objectives statement. The other proposed change to the constitution is the mission statement item # 2 which says to provide training....(switch items 2 and 3).
ACTION ITEM: Phil Mirkes will discuss with David Beckman, chair of Constitution and Bylaws Committee, concerning Council's suggestion to switch items 2 and 3 of the above proposed change in the Constitution.

Proposed change No. 3:
Electing new members, Constitution Article II-Membership, Section 11, Reinstatement: "Applications are submitted to the Secretary and are reviewed by the Membership Committee for approval by Council. Names of approved nominees will be transmitted by the Secretary to the Annual Business Meeting for election to membership by simple majority vote."
	Constitution Article VI - Standing Committees, Section 3, Membership Committee: "The Membership Committee shall review new applications for membership and applications for restoration of membership in the Society. Its recommendations will be submitted to the Council before the Annual Meeting. The Committee shall be composed of three members, one member per year appointed by the President and serving a term of three years. During the third year of a term that member shall serve as chairperson."
	Bylaws, Article I-Members and Meetings of Members, Section 3, Annual Business Meeting: "7. To vote on all memberships."
	Bylaws, Article VI-Dues: "Each member, as specified in the Constitution, shall pay to the society annual dues of such amount as recommended by Council and approved by the membership at the most recent Annual Business Meeting. Dues shall include the cost of the journal Teratology. Members who are in default of payment of dues do not receive the journal Teratology."

Proposed changes:
	Constitution Article II- Membership, Sections 3 and 5: "Nominations are submitted to the Secretary and reviewed by the Membership Committee. A list of applicants meeting the requirements for membership will be transmitted to the Secretary during the first week in February, June, and October. The lists are mailed to the membership, who will have ninety (90) days to respond. Responses shall be reviewed by the Membership Committee. Its recommendations will be submitted to the Council for approval."
	Constitution Article II-Membership, Section 11, Reinstatement: "Applications are submitted to the Secretary and are reviewed by the Membership Committee for approval by Council. A list of approved nominees shall be transmitted to the Secretary during the first week in February, June, and October, who shall mail the lists to the membership for response. Responses from the membership shall be reviewed by the Membership Committee. Its recommendations shall be submitted to the Council for approval."
	Constitution Article VI-Standing Committees, Section 3, Membership Committee. "The Membership Committee shall review new applications for membership and applications for restoration of membership in the Society. A list of applicants meeting the requirements for membership shall be transmitted to the Secretary during the first week in February, June, and October, who shall mail the lists to the membership for response. Responses from the membership shall be reviewed by the Membership Committee. Its recommendations shall be submitted to the Council for approval. The Committee shall be composed of three members, one member per year appointed by the President and serving a term of three years. During the third year of a term that member shall serve as chairperson.
	Delete Bylaws, Article I-Members and Meetings of Members, Section 3, Annual Business Meeting: "7. To vote on all memberships."
	Bylaws, Article VI-Dues: "Each member, as specified in the Constitution, shall pay to the Society annual dues of such amount as recommended by Council and approved by the membership at the most recent Annual Business Meeting. Dues shall include the cost of the journal Teratology. Members who are in default of payment of dues do not receive the journal Teratology. Dues shall be one-half of the annual amount for memberships beginning on July 1st and thereafter. Reason for change: The proposed change would encourage new membership and therefore participation in Society affairs at any time during the year. It would also permit membership drives throughout the year.
	Tony Scialli moved that the above changes to the Constitution and Bylaws be accepted. Bob Seegmiller seconded, vote was unanimous.
ACTION ITEM: Phil Mirkes will also visit with David Beckman concerning a charge to Membership Committee chair Karen Filkins that the latter Committee develop a letter soliciting applications for membership in the Society. The intention is to make it easier for new members to join the Society. Tony Scialli moved that the Membership Committee simplify the process of becoming a member of the Society, e.g., by removing sponsors and seconding persons; motion was seconded by Barbara Hales, vote in favor was unanimous.
ACTION ITEM: Phil Mirkes will consult with Karen Filkins about the matter.

Status of Legislative Affairs Committee:
Ad hoc committee was dropped, yet Phil Mirkes felt a need for its activity; Tony Scialli suggested that it be included in the FASEB report. FASEB has requested that the Teratology Society provide the names of three individuals to participate in FASEB's next Federal Funding Consensus Conference, December 2-4, 1997. Council recommended that Tom Knudsen and Elaine Francis be appointed. Council will consider suggestions for a third member to participate in the conference.
ACTION ITEM: Phil Mirkes will pass this on to the above individuals.

Wilson Trust Fund/Wilson Student Paper of the Year Award:
Barbara Hales suggested that the Publication Committee be given the responsibility of overseeing this award; Tony Scialli suggested that the Publication Committee be charged with further developing the idea and then reporting to Council. The award will be given for the best paper published in Teratology by a student in the previous year. Student would need to be first author for the paper to be considered.
ACTION ITEM: Phil Mirkes will talk to the Publication Committee about the matter.

Tony Scialli proposed that an ad hoc committee be developed to consider prospective nominees for various committees.
ACTION ITEM: Phil Mirkes will restore the Societal Participation Committee.

ACTION ITEM: Phil Mirkes requested written job descriptions for each council member, e.g., what committees they have liaison to, and a specific explanation regarding strategic planning of the Society.

Vice President's Report—Tony Scialli
Annual Meeting Update:
Committee is planning on not having concurrent sessions at the 1998 meeting; there will be fewer platform speakers, i.e. forty, which is about half the previous number; the trade-off is that there should be more poster presentations with posters available for viewing all of Monday and Tuesday and staying up until Wednesday; there will be no keynote speakers and the number of symposia will remain at four.

Legal case discussion—there will be a symposium designed to address the issue of expert witnessing and a presentation to address the question, "has teratology testing improved the ability to screen potential teratogens."

Two proposals have been put forward for the 1998 Public Affairs Symposium. The Public Affairs Committee suggested a symposium on new approaches to obtaining information on the teratogenicity of medications in humans. More recently, Carole Kimmel has suggested a symposium on the consequences of FDA's release of thalidomide for clinical use.
ACTION ITEM: Jan Friedman and Tony Scialli were asked to consider both options and decide between them.

Due-date for abstracts:
It was recommended that a more reasonable deadline for submitting abstracts be February 6, and that they be submitted to ADG electronically for journal layout. Likewise, the registration fee deadline may not need to be too early, perhaps as late as February; furthermore, the registration fee should be decreased because of having one less meal function, although poster costs will likely increase.

Barbara Hales moved that the Program Committee consider accepting poster presentations (open abstract without sponsorship) regardless of membership in the Society, and letting the committee determine the quality of the abstract, but that the student awards would have to be sponsored by a member of the Society. Rick Finnell seconded the motion, vote in favor was unanimous.
ACTION ITEM: Phil Mirkes will consult with Tony Scialli about adding this to the list of duties for the program chair.

Enhancing Exhibitors' Satisfaction:
The discussion dealt with (1) longer coffee breaks, (2) putting social functions in the exhibit area, and (3) increasing the number of social function attendees from 1 to 2 per exhibitor. A possible fee increase was proposed, based on the latter benefit perhaps requiring an increased fee for the additional social function attendee; Barbara Hales proposed having door prizes for members visiting the exhibitors.
ACTION ITEM: Tony Scialli will contact Charles Frith, chair, concerning this proposal.

Teratology Booth at SOT in Seattle (March 1-5, 1998):
Purpose of the booth would be to display the Journal, announce the Teratology Meetings, provide membership application forms, etc. Tony Scialli moved that the Society sponsor such booth, seconded by Bill Slikker, voting was unanimous contingent upon being able to do so within a budget of approximately $1000.00.
ACTION ITEM: Bill Slikker will look into this.

Young/New investigator Award:
George Dearlove has proposed an award for a new investigator whose career has shown signs of particular promise. Nominees would be judged on the basis of a package of accomplishments. Tony Scialli moved that George Dearlove chair the Award Committee. It was decided that pending Clarke Fraser's approval, the award would be named in his honor. Depending on the number and quality of applications received, the award would be given for the first time either in 1998 or 1999. Tony Scialli will circulate a formal proposal to Council by email for approval.
ACTION ITEM: Phil Mirkes will appoint members to the committee; the awardee might give a talk at a function such as the Wilson luncheon.

Treasurer's Report—Elaine Francis
Treasurers report was accepted as presented—overall financial status of the Society appeared healthy. Some discussion revolved around the need to have a contingency budget of approximately one-half year's operating expenses.

Items for information:
NRC meeting on Developmental Toxicology — the commission has a goal of bringing together information from Developmental Biology and Developmental Toxicology fields and applying it to risk assessment.

An NICHD committee is gathering information necessary to support an initiative on birth defects.

Miscellaneous recommendations:
A request from Carol Lemire and Eve Kagan for an annual bonus and severance package was considered by Council and was tabled until December.

A motion was made by Barbara Hales that the Society produce a "Primer or Handbook" of Teratology. The booklet would be directed toward first-year medical, veterinary and graduate students with the objective of explaining what Teratology is and addressing a few issues with respect to birth defects research in an accessible "Scientific American" format; seconded by Tony Scialli, Council approved.


Motion to adjourn at 6:00 PM.

 

 

 

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