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Teratology Society Council Meeting IA
San Diego Paradise Point (Princess) Resort
June 20, 1998

The 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 presided.

President's Report-Phil Mirkes

Strategic 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:

1) to identify the mission and future name of the Society,

2) to improve the journal,

3) to address issues related to the annual meeting, and

4) to improve the management of the Society.

1. 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.

3. 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.

4, 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)

Other 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.

Another 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.

Several 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.

Birth 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.

Legislative 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 Responsibilities."

Societal 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.

Committees: 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.

Other 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.

Action Item: Tony will pass this on to Karen Filkens and her successor.

Items for information: Council Liability Insurance is provided by B.F. Saul Insurance Co.

Student 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.

SOT 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.

West Coast Teratology Society disbands for lack of interest. Their treasury was incorporated into ours.

Vice 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 programs:

1. 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.

2. 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 submission process.

3. 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.

4. The Education Committee did not move very quickly this year. The process will be aided by ADG developing a timeline.

Contributions: 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: 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.

Keystone: 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.

Future 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.

Future 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 are.

ADG: 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.

Vice President-elect's Report-George Daston


FASEB: The Society has successfully obtained Associate Membership in FASEB

Action 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.

Management 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.

Site 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.

Passing 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.

Secretary's Report-Bob Seegmiller


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.

Newsletter: 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.

Action Item: Bob will see to these assignments.

Treasurer's Report-Elaine Francis


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 current status.

Phil recommended that the various individuals/groups reporting to ADG (Finance Councilor, Finance Advisory Committee, etc.) be combined.

Action Item: Tony is to take up the issue of having only one Finance Committee.

Councilor's Report-Barbara Hales


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.

Councilor's 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.

Executive 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.

Wiley 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.

Calendar: 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.

Media 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.

Annual Meeting Sponsorship: ADG headquarters can manage the solicitation and processing of sponsorships for the Annual Meeting.

NBTS 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.

Items 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.

ADG will soon be able to broadcast (email and fax) memos and announcements.

1997 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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