Society Council Meeting IA
San Diego Paradise Point (Princess) Resort
June 20, 1998
meeting was called to order at 11:10 AM PT on Saturday June 20,
1998. In attendance were Phil Mirkes, Tony Scialli, Bob Kavlock,
Jan Friedman, Elaine Francis, Rick Finnell, Barbara Hales, Bill
Slikker, George Daston, Nancy Dieter and Bob Seegmiller. Phil Mirkes
Planning: The emphasis during the past year was on moving forward
the strategic planning initiative. Several priorities/gaps were
combined to yield four overall priorities:
to identify the mission and future name of the Society,
to improve the journal,
to address issues related to the annual meeting, and
to improve the management of the Society.
Proposals are now before the Society and will shortly be voted upon.
The role of advocacy in the mission of the Society will be discussed
by the Strategic Planning Committee.
2. A new journal editor with a new agenda is now in place. Issues
to be addressed are the role of the Publications Committee, whether
we should move away from section editors toward an editorial board,
and our relationship with the publisher. Lew Holmes' editorial leadership
will be enhanced if appropriate, supportive changes from the Publications
Committee can occur.
We need to base our decisions on the desires of the Society membership.
Phil recommended to Council that a revamped Annual Meeting Committee
be constituted to complete a detailed needs assessment. In the future
we may have different types of meetings in alternate years. The
acceptance and impact of the changes implemented this year, e.g.,
no concurrent sessions, fewer meal functions, and reduced registration
fees will need to be assessed, and an in-depth analysis of our annual
meeting should remain a high priority.
As of January 1, 1998, we have hired the Association Development
Group (ADG) to handle the business affairs of our Society. We now
have the professional expertise available through ADG to support
the mission of the Society. Another aspect of item four, as recognized
by the Strategic Planning Committee, is that we must address the
financial needs of the Society as dictated by a new mission statement.
Elaine Francis (as will her successor) has been asked to prepare
a proposal that would consolidate the existing Finance Committee,
Financial Advisory Committee and Finance Subcommittee of the Strategic
Planning Committee into one committee, and to provide a charge for
this new committee. (Tony should follow up on this item)
issues of equal priority deal with where the next generation of
teratologists (basic scientists, clinicians, industrial study directors,
and government scientists) come from. With respect to academic teratologists,
i.e., those most likely to train the next generation of teratologists,
our Society is aging with what appears to be a minimal recruitment
of "new blood." Alan Hoberman, chair of the Recruitment
Committee, has been asked to chair a committee that will perform
a needs assessment, i.e., who are presently training teratologists,
how many, and what are the opportunities for those so trained.
issue involves increasing the potential of the Society by partnering
with other like-minded societies. Under the leadership of Michael
Cunningham, significant progress has been made in developing a partnership
with the American Cleft Palate Craniofacial Association. In addition,
Tony and Phil have laid the foundation for the interaction with
the Society for Developmental Biology. There appears to be some
interest in having an overlapping joint meeting in the near future.
This issue has been referred to George Daston.
recent events make our future look optimistic, says Phil: congress
recently passed the Birth Defects Priorities Act, at the national
level we have the potential of developing relationships with other
groups performing related work, and the recent NICHD initiative
on birth defects of which Tom Knudson is a committee member.
Action Items: Some legislative initiatives will be assigned
to the Public Affairs Committee.
Defects Initiatives: Several major initiatives were passed or
pursued during the passed year, e.g., birth defect prevention act.
The National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council Committee
on Developmental Toxicology are developing a proposal concerning
the integration of developmental biology and developmental toxicology
and their relationship to birth defects risk assessment. Several
of our members are members of this committee. NICHD continues its
series of workshops to develop an initiative on birth defects; the
first workshop focused on the clinical and epidemiological aspects
of birth defects; the next on the basic sciences related to birth
defects will be attended by Tom Knudsen, our representative.
Efforts: Last year Council approved a motion that the Teratology
Society become an associate member of Federation of American Societies
of Experimental Biology (FASEB). Our membership was approved and
one of our members (Tom Knudsen) will participate in a consensus
conference on "Human cloning: Research Opportunities and Regulatory
Awards: Ed Lammer was selected as the first Clarke Fraser Young
Investigator Awardee. Council will review a proposal by Alan Fantel
that the Society institute a James G. Wilson Publication Award.
John DeSesso has agreed to chair and help staff the recently resurrected
Societal Participation Committee. The History Committee, chaired
by Tom Shepard, will prepare a detailed history of the Society for
our 40th anniversary in the year 2000.
items of business: A discussion took place concerning the criteria
for honorary membership into the Society. Tony moved that the criteria
for such status be considered by the Membership Committee and that
Council delay action on considerations of individuals for this award
until the Membership Committee reports their findings. Barbara seconded
the motion; voting was unanimous.
Item: Tony will pass this on to Karen Filkens and her successor.
for information: Council Liability Insurance is provided by
B.F. Saul Insurance Co.
Affairs: need to update procedure for making awards. Warkany
Lecture Committee should be retained as an ad hoc committee and
should be ustilized to generate potential Warkany candidates.
booth: decision was made not to have this. The recommendation
is to send out membership applications to members of the developmental
toxicology subsection of SOT.
Coast Teratology Society disbands for lack of interest. Their treasury
was incorporated into ours.
President's Report-Tony Scialli
Annual Meeting: The program for the annual meeting has come
together well; however, there are some important lessons for future
Abstracts should be submitted electronically to facilitate abstract
handling and review and to permit ADG to format the abstracts in
a uniform manner for publication. For individuals unable to submit
electronically, a typed abstract could be scanned by ADG.
The student abstracts should be more clearly separated on submission
from the other abstracts. This problem would be solved with electronic
submission if the appropriate information is solicited during the
We need to get out from under the Wiley-Liss publication deadline
of early April. Instead, we should produce our own program and abstract
book using electronic publishing. The abstracts could be sent to
Wiley-Liss when ready for publication in the summer or fall, in
order to make the abstracts citeable.
The Education Committee did not move very quickly this year. The
process will be aided by ADG developing a timeline.
A number of corporations have been willing to support the Annual
Meeting. They simply need to be asked. ADG will develop a list of
potential corporate sponsors and will prompt the appropriate officers
each year to send a letter requesting support.
Exhibitors can be an important source of meeting revenue. This year
the ADG staff has sold 20 booths, limited primarily by the amount
of exhibitor space available. In order to take advantage of exhibitor
support, however, we need to make exhibitors feel welcome and valued.
All members of Council are encouraged to visit all exhibitors and
acknowledge them for their participation. An exhibitor breakfast
will be held on Wednesday to get exhibitor feedback on the meeting
and suggestions for improvement.
A shift in the meeting days has been proposed so that people can
travel on July 4 instead of July 5. This will permit attendees to
do fireworks at home if they so desire.
Meeting Sites: George Daston has started some discussions with
ADG about future meeting sites. It is likely that we will be at
a downtown hotel in 2001. It is not clear whether we will get a
better deal on non-resort meeting spots, but at least members will
have the option of staying off-site at reduced hotel rates.
Meeting Length: We need to make some hard decisions about whether
we want to drop some of our "standard" elements in order
to shorten the meeting or whether we want to keep things as they
Service from them has been phenomenal. Thanks to those for getting
us moved to a professional group where we can get a more specialized
level of service.
President-elect's Report-George Daston
FASEB: The Society has successfully obtained Associate Membership
Item: Tony will need to appoint members to FASEB's Public Affairs
Executive Committee and Public Affairs Advisory Committee, preferably
each person will have a relatively long tenure.
Transition: The contract between the Society and ADG has been
favorably reviewed by our attorney, Lynn Fleischer. One of the many
discussions with ADG's Shawn Lamb about the Society's strengths
resulted in the selection of Nancy Dieter as the best person to
be Executive Secretary for the Society. The transition has gone
smoothly, and there are no unresolved issues emanating from it.
Follow-up on previous action steps of comparing projected and actual
costs will occur at the end of the fiscal year.
Selection Committee: This Committee was charged with selecting
meeting sites for the 2001 and 2002 annual meetings. We have had
a fair amount of input over the past year as to what the venues
and format of the annual meeting should look like. This has included
the report of the sub-group of the Strategic Planning Committee
(SPC) charged with meeting attendance/satisfaction. The SPC observed
that cost of the meeting is a significant factor for academicians
with limited travel budgets from research grants. We need to offer
"no-frills" options for meeting registrations and to have
meetings at non-resort locations at least every few years. We should
explore using college campuses/dormitories in a Gordon Conference-style
arrangement. The traditional resort venues seem to be favored by
a small majority. This option is most heavily favored by industry
and most heavily disliked by academics. A sizable minority prefer
urban locations with a large choice of accommodations and restaurants.
This option is most heavily favored by academics, while industry
employees range from neutral to mildly disliking this option. The
college campus setting was least favored. George will explore an
urban location for 2001 or 2002, while sticking with the traditional
resort setting for the second year. The goal for both, however,
will be to reduce the cost of the meeting for our members while
increasing the fraction of the registration fee that goes to the
Society. The Site Selection Committee will make recommendations
at the Annual Business Meeting.
of Marie Taubeneck: One of our outstanding student members of
UC Davis died recently of cancer. George mentioned that her family
offered to sponsor an endowed student award that would recognize
Marie's contribution to teratology.
Action Item: George will see that her obituary is published
in the Newsletter and perhaps the Website. He will continue to work
with her family do develop an award perhaps for involvement in the
Society that would be given to a student member of our Society.
Minutes: Phil pointed out previously that certain discussion
items were sometimes missing from the Council minutes. A discussion
took place concerning the possibility of having an additional ADG
staff member present at Council meetings to assist in transcribing.
Council felt the cost of providing assistance at meetings other
than the Interim Meeting would be cost prohibitive. Barbara moved
that we try this idea during the Interim Council Meeting. Tony seconded
the motion. The motion carried with Elaine voting in opposition.
With the enthusiastic and professional assistance of ADG, the two
recent issues of the Newsletter received by members of the Society
have shown refreshing changes in format and content. It has been
assumed that the Newsletter editor and the Society Secretary are
the same person, however, this could not be documented and therefore
it is up to Council to now make this appointment. Tony moved that
the Editor of the Newsletter becomes one of the functions of the
Society Secretary, a change in function not requiring a change in
the Bylaws. George seconded the motion.
The discussion that followed included the charge that the Newsletter
Editor be able to make various assignments to the members of Council,
ADG and committees, such as specific assignments for gathering newsworthy
items for publication, President's message, upcoming events and
meetings, member news, awards, calendar of events, publications
of interest, legislative information, etc. George recommended that
all such information be submitted to the Newsletter Editor in Microsoft
Word format/PDF attached file. Elaine pointed out that we are only
budgeted for three, not four issues per year. Tony suggested that
Bob set-up the process of deadlines, fee schedule for advertising,
and other relevant details. Jan pointed out our goal of staying
within the budget and that along with fewer issues, we should consider
distributing the Newsletter via email and Website, and charging
to advertise to further reduce costs. It should be announced through
the Website that advertising is possible through the Newsletter.
The call to vote was unanimous in the affirmative.
Item: Bob will see to these assignments.
Financial Status: The Treasurer's report was accepted as
presented. The overall financial status of the Society appears healthy.
A discussion revolved around a comparison of income and expenses
for the first five months of 1998 relative to previous years. Elaine
said that in most categories we have stayed within the budget. Due
to the success of the meetings and revenue from registration fees,
the Society appears to be doing well, and the balance sheet indicates
that we are better off than we were the previous year. Nevertheless,
more time is needed to obtain a more accurate assessment of our
recommended that the various individuals/groups reporting to ADG
(Finance Councilor, Finance Advisory Committee, etc.) be combined.
Item: Tony is to take up the issue of having only one Finance
Handbook of Teratology: Twenty-eight prominent contributors
will be solicited to help prepare the handbook. Ten thousand copies
at a total cost of $25,000. is currently being targeted. Tony will
assist in soliciting the funding. Bill moved that up to $3000. be
approved from the Society to getting the volume ready to go to the
web. Elaine seconded, motion sustained.
Report -Bill Slikker
Nomination and Election Committee: Announcement of the election
results was made. Bill commended the Committee for having performed
a great job. Elaine initiated a discussion reminding the Committee
to continue to maintain balance and representation from all facets
of the Society, including gender balance.
Secretary/Director's Report-Nancy Dieter
Membership: A report on membership status was given. The
number of paid members currently is 721. The number of non-paid
members is 90, totaling 811. Other details were presented concerning
the composition of the membership.
Action Item: Tony will check with both groups (delinquent and unknowns)
and also ensure a clean-up of the data base, particularly addresses.
He will also check out those who have resigned as well as those
who are potentially emeritus members.
Subscriptions: The Society currently has 611 paid subscriptions
for the Journal. The composition of these subscriptions was discussed,
with encouragement to achieve an accurate accounting of the numbers
comprising this composition.
Council was encouraged to look carefully at the attachment on calendaring.
The calendar will eventually contain a complete list of Society
tasks and the dates on which they should be completed by either
Council, Committees, or staff.
Relations Resource: As discussed, such information is included
in the Council Notebook under Public Affairs.
Action Item: George is to identify a Media Relations Person. Barbara
will help develop a web-base resource list. A mailing list from
FASEB in terms of news agents should be obtained.
Meeting Sponsorship: ADG headquarters can manage the solicitation
and processing of sponsorships for the Annual Meeting.
Request for Room Credits: Dr. Stanton has indicated that in
the past, NBTS has shared in the room credits that Teratology receives.
The sense of Council is that we continue to support NBTS requests
because of the mutually advantageous relationship.
Action Item: Tony should check into obtaining a memorandum
of understanding between the two groups.
for information: Another source of revenue for the Society is
to expand space for exhibits; Finance Committee should discuss the
possibility of obtaining a mailing list for this purpose.
will soon be able to broadcast (email and fax) memos and announcements.
Audit & Investment Program: Elaine moved that Council approve
the Auditor's report. Tony seconded, vote was unanimous.
Meeting was adjourned at 5:30 PM.
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