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atology Society Council Meeting IB
San Diego Paradise Point (Princess) Resort
June 21, 1998


Council I reconvened at 7:50 AM PT on June 21, 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.

Journal-Lew Holmes: Phyllis Dennehy was mentioned as providing invaluable editorial assistance. Several issues were presented in Lew's report, 1) flow of manuscripts, 2) efforts to change the spectrum of manuscripts, 3) work with Wiley-Liss, and 4) major questions.

1. Tom Sadler passed on to Lew all manuscripts (43) that were in the system and the method used for tracking them. The total number of new manuscripts received since January 1 was 64 to date with total of 175 estimated by the end of the year. Lew sees an upward trend in number of manuscripts submitted. He is now beginning to send items to the section editors. Jan asked if he had seen any change in quality, and Lew responded by suggesting that color in itself will enhance the quality. Several items were mentioned as potential issues for letters to the editor or review articles, viz., cough syrup's potential teratogenicity, malformed frogs in ponds.

Teratogen update is a slow steady process, one is coming in on hyperthermia. Jan asked when the full text of the journal might be found on-line. Lew suggested that by the end of 1998 if the library at a university has a subscription, then it can be read on line. Abstracts and titles will be available to all by end of 1998.

2. Lew has sent letters to members of the Society and to authors of abstracts presented at other meetings.

3. A meeting was held with the publisher, editor and production editor. The sequence of putting together an issue was explained. We should soon be caught up on the issues subscribers receive relative to the calendar month. Wiley-Liss provided the financial support and equipment that was requested.

4. Questions being explored as to whether section editors want a more active role and whether an editorial board could include individuals who are not members of the Society.

Recruitment-Alan Hoberman: Alan has been administering the recruitment service for seven years with success. He is developing a survey to assess the job demands in academia, industry, government and clinical medicine. He mentioned five ways of making announcements for jobs, i.e., meetings, Website, newsletter, journal and email. Tony asked about the possibility of having job placement service at our meetings. Jan suggested that such effort might make it more attractive for employers to come to our meetings. Phil suggested announcing over the internet. George suggested that Lew Holmes and Bob Brent be approached concerning the clinical side of recruitment.

Constitution and Bylaws-David Beckman: Changes in the Bylaws related to three issues will be presented to members of the Society at the Business Meeting (see minutes of that meeting).

Membership-Karen Filkins: Karen presented 36 new regular members, 10 new associate members, and 1 new student member. A discussion then ensued regarding the need for a change of status application form. George made a motion to accept the above proposals to change the process of changing membership status, e.g., student member to associate or regular member. Rick seconded, with the suggestion that the Membership Committee give input to the Bylaws Committee. Motion carried. Another proposal was made to allow emeritus members to purchase the journal at the publisher's base price. This proposal was seconded and approved.

Discussion then ensued regarding the need for an associate membership category. It was indicated that this category was originally created for individuals whose area of activity was quite different from those involved in teratology or toxicology. However, it has been utilized by a number of individuals who work in related fields and who might not have the required number or type of publications and/or research projects to qualify for full membership. This category may provide a transition category for graduates who have not yet established themselves in the field but who are no longer students. It was also questioned whether this category should be offered at a rate similar to the student rate to encourage those in related fields to join the society and receive the journal and meeting notices. These issues along with the issue of honorary membership were referred back to the Membership Committee for further discussion and recommendations.

Public Affairs-Jan Friedman: Past, present and future Public Affairs Symposia were discussed; the 1998 symposium on The New Thalidomide Era: Dealing with Risks will be presented on Sunday afternoon; the 1999 symposium has been planned, yet the flavor of that symposium (Postmarking Surveillance of New Drugs) is being discussed by the Public Affairs Committee (PAC). The theme for the latter symposium will focus on new methods of obtaining data on human teratogenicity. Industry-sponsored drug-specific registries, data from teratogen information services, the NICHD maternal/fetal network, and linking existing large databases will all be discussed. Jean Manson and Anne Pastuszak are organizing this symposium on behalf of PAC.


The PAC has provided advice to the US Food and Drug Administration several times during the past year. Tony suggested having Dave Wise put three alternatives regarding alternate standards for use-in-pregnancy labelling on the Website, and having Society members discuss these issues. Committee has attempted to develop a consensus statement on the issue of the release of thalidomide, but has been unable to reach consensus. Two Committee task forces are working on other consensus statements, viz., a statement on hormone disrupters and a revision of the Society's vitamin A consensus statement. The Society's consensus statement on the use of folic acid to reduce birth defects risk was published last year in Teratology.

The Committee has offered its assistance to the March of Dimes in support of the Birth Defects Prevention Act. Additional activities to enhance the Society's impact on congressional legislation are being considered.

The Committee is increasing its efforts to improve the public profile of our Society. This year's Annual Meeting has generated substantial interest, and we have received inquiries about other activities of the Society as well.

The Committee will consider several new projects, including developing consensus statements on prevention of rubella embryopathy, antiretroviral treatment during pregnancy to prevent transmission of HIV to the fetus, and improving postmarketing surveillance of newly released drugs for teratogenicity. Bob suggested that PAC consider developing a consensus statement on prenatal exposure to alcohol, a statement that would be timely.

A discussion ensued regarding the Birth Defects Prevention Act, and it was recommended that grass-roots acknowledgment to congressman is beneficial to achieving increased NIH support of BD research. It was suggested that our Website be available to the public concerning position papers.

Action Item: George suggested that the PAC consider utilizing the following to get things in faster motion, viz., various resources, increased manpower, and a wish-list of ideas.

Publications-Karen Augustine: Several ideas were presented relative to improving the quality of the journal, viz., broaden the scope of the journal, improve its esthetics, aggressive marketing, expand editorial board, ready access to author guidelines, include invited peer-reviewed reviews on basic research/clinical/social impact topics, accelerate review process and publication timeline, provide student/postdoc publication award, request manuscripts from top labs/investigators, post exceptional journal articles on Website.

Website-Dave Wise: Phil congratulated Dave and his committee for doing a great job in establishing the Society's web-site. Plans for 1999 include on-line abstract submission, meeting registration and membership application; redesign the site for more visual appeal; pass-word protected searchable directory of members; past meeting highlights, including some pictures; revenue raising features; page with links to colleges and others organizations that provide training in the field.


A discussion took place concerning getting abstracts into Teratology Journal by the May issue. Timing is important, usually resting with Wiley-Liss; doing our own printed program of abstracts and meeting schedule would increase the meeting registration cost by $10.00. Phil pointed out the additional cost of having both ADG and Wiley-Liss do the abstracts. Tony suggested not doing both but just one route because of the cost, and moved that Council approve up to $2500 one-time expense to cover cost of submitting program abstracts electronically. George seconded the motion, motion carried. Two bids have been received from professional developers of online abstract submittal website; both are >$6500. If Bill Landau can do the job for $2500 or less, then a detailed proposal will be generated and distributed to council for approval.

A discussion ensued regarding the issue of membership availability through FASEB, e.g., a hot-link to FASEB general directory could be updated by ADG. The issue regarding the posting of a list of consultants in Teratology was discussed. Tony moved that authorization be given to Dave to create a list of member consultants to be put on the Website and the consultant be charged a listing fee (with wording approved by our attorney). George seconded; the motion carried. Phil suggested that we consider the potential liability to the Society. Tony suggested that Society membership alone should be the level at which consultants' reputations are challenged. It was proposed that consultants be charged a $25.00 fee, and that this fee be announced in the Newsletter. The service would be free to Corporate advertisers (Sustaining and President's Circle Members). The sense of Council was to encourage other Corporate advertisers to become sustaining members by charging a higher fee for Corporation list. A similar list of contract laboratories was discussed; Sustaining and President's Circle Members would be posted free and others would be charged a fee to be determined (Dave Wise will request $50 per year).

Action Item: Dave announce in Newsletter.

Pictures taken during the meetings to highlight such events received Council's approval. Bob Parker volunteered to capture such images for posting on a meeting highlights web-page. Finally, a comments page would provide the ability to send questions and comments

Elaine had concerns about the budget and suggested that it would be helpful to know how much the new additions will cost. Dave suggested the costs would be negligible beyond the cost of putting the abstracts on-line.

Discussion and proposals regarding charging for placement service ads: Dave personally dislikes charging for ads on the web, although charging for ads placed in the newsletter is warranted. Dave proposed a free ad on the web as a bonus to a paid ad in the Newsletter The income could help with the costs of some web projects planned to upgrade the look of the site, on-line abstract and registration, etc. Council approved the concept that a 5-line classified want-ad would be free. Product ads are considered profit-making and a different fee schedule for these and other larger ads could be developed by the Web Committee in consultation with Council.

Nominations and Elections-Patty Rodier standing in for Pat Wier: The following items were discussed, should members of this Committee have longer terms? Is having new people on the Committee better? From here on out, ADG will count the ballot and the Secretary will be notified of the results.

Barbara proposed that Tom Flyn, existing Nominations and Elections Committee member, should be the new Chair. A proposed list of prospective members is forthcoming. David Wise will be the Council liaison to this Committee.

Legislative Committee-Tom Knudsen: Tom is one of two teratologists officially representing our Society at FASEB. Elaine Francis is the other representative. Their membership is at 50,000. The process at FASEB in developing a position on issues regarding budget for NIH, NSF, DOE, and EPA begins in early in February, therefore we need to have our representatives appointed early in the year.


George asked what can be done to facilitate this process. Tom suggested that strategic planning ideas will be very helpful, that it will be important to choose common areas of interest in related to Birth Defects. George recommended that Tony form a group to advise FASEB on Birth Defects initiatives. Jan seconded, motion carried.

Partnership-Mike Cunningham: [See letters from FASEB under Partnership (Council Agenda).] George commented that it is reasonable to open up a dialogue with the CP Society in 1999. Tony reviewed our goal of partnering. Council liaisons should be members of the Committee with Mike. Dave suggested the need for contracts for Website links in order to interact with other societies.

Student Affairs Committee-Alan Fantel: Harriet Wilson has agreed to provide $5000 this year to fund one or more prizes for best articles in Teratology on a subject chosen by the Publications Committee. The availability of the awards will be advertised in our journal and others as well as by Wiley Liss. The editor and the Publicatons Conmmittee are enthusiastic about this program and the committee has agreed to take over its administrations. It was suggested that the funds be used to bring the winners to the annual meeting to present their research and possibly to receive a year's free membership and journal subscription. Council gave approval that Alan will interact with the Publications Committee to develop the new Wilson Publication Award. Tony suggested the Wilson awards be distinguished from the Marie Taubeneck award-three papers to be awarded with funds from her family. Council suggested letting Student Affairs Committee develop this further and report back.

Action Item: Tony or George should follow up on this item of business.

Items for Information: Outgoing Council members Elaine, Bill and Jan were given a vote of thanks for their service.

Motion to adjourn at 12:35 PM.

 

 

 

 

 

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