Society Interim Council Meeting
Plaza Hotel, Baltimore MD
November 6, 1998
to orderThe meeting was called to order at 8:00 AM EDT
on November 6, 1998. In attendance were Tony Scialli, Phil Mirkes,
Bob Kavlock, Tonia Masson, Bob Seegmiller, Rick Finnell, John Rogers,
Dave Wise, George Daston and Barbara Hales. Tony Scialli presided.
of Previous Council Meeting. The minutes were approved previously
Report Tony Scialli
Corporate Sponsors and Membership:
Efforts have been focused in these two main areas, and have included
sending personalized letters to potential corporate supporters and
recruiting members from SOT and the other member societies of IFTS.
Tony asked the Membership Committee to simplify the application
process by eliminating the need for a sponsor letter. Furthermore,
a web site-based application is now under development, and a competition
for sponsorship of new members will be announced in the winter issue
of the Newsletter. With regard to corporate sponsors, potential
groups were contacted in August, well in advance of their 1999 budget-planning
Tony suggested that a discussion take place between the Society
and Wiley-Liss to resolve concerns about their past commitments,
plans for the journal, use of page allotments, etc. (see agenda
Tony had previously charged the Treasurer and Executive Secretary
to make a budget that is realistic and balanced. George Daston was
previously asked to develop an annual meeting budget, keeping in
mind the terms received from Keystone.
Tony pointed out that operating costs for the society have run well
above what was anticipated. While we have received excellent value
for our money and while the society has been transformed into a
more efficient organization that it has ever been, there is concern
about ADG costs. It is anticipated that we will receive the same
excellent help from our new Executive Secretary, Tonia Masson, at
the same time returning to a well-designed budget.
Presidents ReportGeorge Daston
Annual Meeting Update. George announced the formation of an ad hoc
Program Committee consisting of Bill Scott, Jodie Duffy, Melissa
Tassinari (Education Committee), Bob Parker (Student Affairs Committee)
and himself. He has received a number of symposium suggestions,
including HIV transmission and treatment, oxidative stress and apoptosis,
the Wiley-Liss symposium on skeletal development; and the Public
Affairs symposium on post-marketing surveillance. Funding is being
sought from the March of Dimes for the HIV symposium, and NIEHS
funding for the oxidative stress symposium. NBTS has expressed an
interest in co-sponsoring the HIV symposium.
addition, a workshop on performance of developmental toxicity studies,
sponsored by MARTA/MTA, is being planned and will be open to a limited
number of students. The Education Committee is developing a course
on postnatal toxicology. Planning for the Wiley-Liss symposium on
skeletal development is being led by Karen Augustine of the Publications
Committee. Further discussion focused on the details the meeting
schedule, particularly the Sunday, July 4, agenda, possibly to include
the workshop on developmental toxicity.
has informed us that, should we submit our program electronically,
they will need a final copy by mid-March in order to publish the
abstracts in the May issue of Teratology. This is 3-4 weeks earlier
than usual. George indicated that he had asked Lew Holmes to intercede
with Wiley to move the deadline back to the traditional mid-April.
Additional discussion took place about the feasibility of printing
the program and abstracts privately. This suggestion was discarded
because of cost considerations. George indicated that he believed
that the deadline could be moved. In any case, the deadline for
abstracts will remain the same as last year, February 8. This may
decrease the amount of time that the Program Committee has to do
its work, but this problem may be unavoidable.
ITEM: Dave Wise will post a tentative meeting schedule on the
presented an estimated budget for the 1999 annual meeting. The total
costs are estimated to be comparable to that for the 1998 meeting.
A schedule for registration fees will be made after finalizing arrangements
with Keystone Resort and a review of last years receipts.
Meeting registration fees are expected to be comparable to those
for 1998 and less than for the 1997 meeting.
George will remain chair of this committee until meeting venues
for 2001 and 2002 have been settled. The committee, consisting of
Tony Scialli, Barbara Hales, Kathy Sulik, Bob Kavlock (chair-elect)
and Clarissa Wilson (ex officio), approved Montreal and Salt Lake
City as the leading candidates for meeting sites for the above years,
respectively. Clarissa has been directed to negotiate a contract
with the leading hotel choice(s) in Montreal. Salt Lake City will
have just finished hosting the Winter Olympics in 2001-02, which
should make it a popular venue for the 2002 meeting. We are considering
proposals from several sites in and around Salt Lake City.
Interim Budget Report:
John reviewed the annual budget with the aim of cutting costs and
making for a more realistic operating budget for the Society. Several
items were targeted for cost reduction. Included among these items
were ADG billable hours for binding the council notebook and designing/publishing
the Newsletter. Additional items that need to be addressed are the
58 members who have not paid their dues for 1998, amounting to $9,200.
With regard to contributions, we have budgeted $42,000 but in fact
received only a fraction of this amount. Following a line-by-line
budget analysis, it was agreed that several changes are in order.
ITEM: Tony will talk to Lew Holmes about publishing the membership
directory under the page budget for the journal.
suggested that past over-expenditures in regards to ADGs services
were due in part to one-time start-up costs, e.g., development of
a membership database. In the future, the budget should be setup
such that actual expenditures can be compared with previously budgeted
amounts on a monthly basis. Phil asked for an accounting of any
overage above the $58,000 that was budgeted for ADG staff costs.
Bob Kavlock suggested that we provide a more accurate estimate of
the magnitude of the overage as well as an accounting of the details
of that overage. He further noted the need to have Society members
perform tasks and not rely on ADG for everything, as that drives
up costs considerably. In conclusion, the Society is over the estimated
budget, but Council expects that we can get return to budget once
all changes are completed and the operation of the Society is running
was agreed that the Interim Council meeting should become a line-item
budgeted cost of $10,000 An amount of $12,000 is to be budgeted
for three issues of the Newsletter per year (the Fall 1999 issue
will be the first to be posted only on the web site).
ITEM: John was asked to submit to Council a revised operating
budget for review and approval. He will look into the possibility
of placing more of the Societys current assets ($108,811)
into income earning accounts. The Finance Committee will assist
John in determining how much of the assets should be in a reserve
issue was raised that voluntary fund-raising in the Society is not
producing significant revenue. Phil noted that Bern Schwetz had
led a subcommittee of the ad hoc Strategic Planning Committee on
fundraising. Phil suggested that Bern might have ideas for the Finance
Committee on how to improve our fundraising efforts.
ITEM: John and Tony will talk to Bern about the matter.
The Society has 761 members as of October 26, 1998. A significant
number of members were shown as having not paid58 (Presidents
Circle numbers are included in these counts) for 1998 and an additional
14 for 1997. The amount of dues not collected for 1998 was $9003.
Seven new member applications have been received and provided to
the Membership Committee for review. A discussion ensued as to the
accuracy of the number of paid and non-paid members. A recommendation
was made that Tonia and Bob validate the list of members. Tony offered
to write individuals who have not paid, asking them why they have
ITEM: Tonia will submit to Tony a list of individuals who supposedly
have not paid their 1998 dues, and he will write them asking them
why they have not renewed.
The dues for regular membership are $115 ($66 to the Society and
$49 for journal subscription). Dues for foreign membership (regular
and excluding Canada) are $115 ($7 to the Society, $49 to the journal
and $59 for postage). It was pointed out that the members had previously
voted that the excess foreign postage be absorbed by the general
membership. The question was raised whether the present dues of
$115 is appropriate, in light of expected open-ended increases in
journal publishing costs from Wiley-Liss. Phil proposed that a decision
concerning member dues be postponed until more is learned about
the Wiley-Liss proposed cost increase and until more details about
the Societys operating budget are presented by the Treasurer,
Continued improvements on the web site are being made, including
placing on it the committee chair documents created at Phils
suggestion. Further efforts will be to continue strengthening the
web site committee and to recommend the appointment of a new chair
to that committee.
Barbara reported that development of the primer on teratology is
on track. All writers asked to assist in this endeavor have agreed
and are quite enthusiastic. She anticipates having all manuscripts
in by November/December for editing. An announcement of the primers
progress and availability will be posted on the web site. Funds
have been requested from private sources for printing 10,000 copies
for distribution and use by the Society.
In response to the charge given by the President to streamline the
application process, the committee plans to discuss issues related
to member retention and recruitment. These plans include requiring
a sponsor who would be contacted for a response, but dropping the
requirement for a letter from that sponsor.
The discussion focused on the need to rewrite the Constitution and
Bylaws. The committee, under the direction of Pia Lindstrom, Chair,
suggested seeking membership opinion on this issue. Tony provided
several examples where rewriting the constitution would simplify
the procedures and improve the efficiency of governing the Society.
George indicated that he would rewrite the constitution and bylaws
and send it to the Constitution and Bylaws Committee for their consideration.
response to the name change issue, the committee suggests that changing
the Societys name would not address our underlying problems,
and another amendment to change the Societys name is unwarranted
at this time. However, a compromise was suggestedthat of adding
"Birth Defects Research" to our journal cover and correspondence
letterhead. The committee also believes that the logo should be
ITEM: Tony will check with March of Dimes to see why they have
stopped using Birth Defects as part of their name/identy.
was a discussion about the pros and cons of a new logo for the Society.
Tony reiterated the point that he had made in his newsletter article,
that for many people outside the Society the micrograph of an embryo
conveyed no message and for some had a negative connotation. Others
expressed the opinion that for scientists within the Society the
nature of the current logo was clear and a reasonable representation
of what the Society does. Rick Finnell described the significant
communication benefits that can be derived from a well-designed
logo, but he stressed the importance of a professional design.
George moved that we look into the feasibility and cost of a new
logo, for which the principal purpose would be communication outside
the Society in fund-raising and advocacy. This was approved. Council
directed that up to $3000 be set aside in the budget for the purpose
of logo design.
Michael Cunningham has been working on some joint activities between
the American Cleft Palate Craniofacial Association (ACPA) and the
Teratology Society. In the year 2003, the ACPA meeting is being
planned for Seattle. The ACPA membership is open to a joint meeting
time and place to facilitate interactions between the two societies.
Ideas ranged from partially overlapping meetings with programs that
foster overlapping interests to fully overlapping meetings in the
same or adjoining conference centers. The ACPA usually meets in
April and Teratology Society in June, therefore, partnering with
ACPA would probably require a time-shift in our meeting. Tony asked
for a survey question to be posed to the membership, i.e., should
future meetings be held earlier in June or even as early as May.
ITEM: Phil will communicate to Chair Michael Cunningham about
the possibility of holding a joint meeting with the Cleft Palate
Society in Seattle, May of 2003.
ITEM: Tony will obtain a copy of the Cleft Palate Societys
mailing list from Michael to invite their members to join our Society.
Tom Flynn, Chair, made several recommendations. ( a) Long-time (>20
years) Society members who have not yet served in an elected office
should be identified. The committee should search carefully for
the right people to serve in positions, inasmuch as the Society
is in a time of great change. The Committee should be able to meet
a late November deadline for getting ballots and bio-sketches out
with the February Newsletter, saving the Society money that would
be expended for a separate mailing. The means should be established
that would maintain a "committee memory.". The committee
working as a whole, rather than each member working individually
should generate the final ranking of candidates. Prior service on
Council demonstrates the kind of dedication to the Society that
would be highly desirable in a President.
ITEM: Tom Flynn, Chair, will try to have the committees
top choices by early December 1998, and try for the December Newsletter,
but a separate mailing may be necessary.
The committee plans to work with the business office to clarify
expenses and to limit expenditures. An important goal of this committee
is to seek financial donations for both the general fund of the
Society and support of specific meeting events and Society functions.
Included in this is an effort to find ways to reduce the cost to
members of attending the annual meeting. It would be helpful if
we developed specific objectives and then focused on a specific
monetary goal and mount a fund-raising campaign.
ITEM: John Rogers, Chair, will present to Council a revised
budget (see previous discussion under Treasurers report).
This committee has begun to select a topic and speakers (should
be lined up by November) for the 1999 annual meeting. Drs. Kok-Wah
Hew from Novartis and Ida Smoak from N.C. State have agreed to join
the committee. Dr. Jolynda Jones has agreed to be the secretary
and will remain for an extra year on the committee to serve as Chair
next year. It would be helpful to offer our speakers the option
of computer presentations. If previous rotations in topics were
followed, then something on postnatal development would be a good
general topic. This topic may also have some interest due to the
increased concern for childrens health and safety.
ITEM: George will follow up on the matter.
K. recommended Barbara Abbott as a member of the Education Committee.
ITEM: Tony will ask Melissa Tassinari, to ask Barbara Abbott
to be a member of the committee.
The committee is involved in developing consensus statements on
thalidomide, alcohol, rubella, and endocrine disrupters. Concern
was raised that preparation of the consensus statements is progressing
slowly. Council recommended that the statements should be prioritized.
ITEM: Tony will discuss with Ken Jones, Chair, the progress
being made on these position statements.
The discussion focused on the future structure of the Journal. Relative
to a rate increase of the journal, Tony will not consider one until
we meet our page allowance, which is considerably under-subscribed.
Tony read a letter written to Jose Cordero from Mr. Herrington of
Wiley-Liss wherein Wiley promised to develop a standing relationship
with the Society and the new editor of Teratology. It was noted
that there are seven years left on contract with Wiley.
ITEM: George will recommended an ad hoc committee of Bob Kavlock,
George Daston, and Lew Holmes to contact Joe Ingram and Robert Harrington
of Wiley-Liss. The purpose is to improve relationships between the
Publisher and the Society so that we can meaningfully resolve our
differences over contractual issues, including journal subscription
fees and postage charges.
ITEM: Tony will obtain a report from Lew Holmes concerning manuscript
flow and other matters.
program for the annual meeting will soon be electronically available.
Hence, the information can be submitted via computer disk, email
or hard copy.
ITEM: The deadlines for abstract submittal and submission of
program material to Wiley-Liss will be worked out between George
and Bill Landau in time to include Call for Abstracts Information
in the next Newsletter.
Tony will talk to Bob Parker about the photos of the 1998 meetings
that were to be posted on the web site.
The budget allows for three printed issues, but our goal is to place
the third on the web site. Therefore, the September 1999 Newsletter
will be web site-based rather than hard copy. Nine consultants are
advertising on the Web site for a total of $225. To date, $270 has
been received for advertisements in the Newsletter.
Site Committee (ad hoc)
The web site, chaired by Dave Wise, continues to improve functionally;
feedback to the web site has been useful.
is working out the specifics of linking to a message posting web
site (called WebBoard) associated with the REPROTOX site. The developers
of that site are supportive of this link and association. Thus in
the near future the "Bulletin Board" area of the web site
will be linked to this other site, and members can contribute letters
and comments on their own. This WebBoard will also serve to contain
the MARTA/MTA Hotlines. It is possible to create "private"
conference areas where topics would only be seen and available to
society and association members.
ITEM: Dave will explore what is needed to implement this.
A working calendar was presented to Council, with emphasis on specific
deadlines. November 3Winter Newsletter submission deadline;
February 1abstract submission deadline (Wiley-March 15); March
3Spring Newsletter submission deadline; June 3Summer
Newsletter submission deadline (electronic format); June 29-July
41999 Annual Meeting-Keystone Colorado.
of $433 remains to be collected from Rhone-Poulerc Agro, University
of Southern Albama for the 1998 Annual meeting. At the 1999 Annual
Meeting, Elsevier Sciences will co-sponsor the welcoming reception.
to adjourn at 3:00 PM.
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