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Teratology Society Council Meeting IA
Keystone, Colorado
June 29, 1999

The meeting was called to order at 12:15 PM on Tuesday June 29, 1999. In attendance were Tony Scialli, Phil Mirkes, Dave Wise, Bob Kavlock, Jan Friedman, Rick Finnell, Barbara Hales, Ken Jones, John Rogers, George Daston, Tonia Masson and Bob Seegmiller. Tony Scialli presided. Minutes of the previous Interim Council Meeting posted on the website were approved.

President's Report: Tony Scialli

Tony mentioned that several versions of the proposed Society logo will be posted for members to view and that any feedback will be passed on to George. With regard to the journal, Bob K., George and Tony will meet with the publisher sometime during the meetings. The publisher agreed to charge actual mailing costs rather than costs based on a formula used for heavier journals. Regarding the Strategic Planning Committee, Tony asked Phil to continue as chair of the SP Monitoring Committee, observing the various charges given to this committee.

Strategic Planning Committee Report: Phil Mirkes (see Report 1)

Phil handed out a summary of the report written under the direction of Bob Kavlock and then highlighted actions taken based on the committee's recommendations: (1) The Publications Committee and new Editor-in-Chief have been charged with the important task of improving the quality of the journal. George will be working with Wiley Liss to air our concerns and improve our working relationship. (2) Future meeting sites are being selected based on the recommendation that the registration fee be decreased and less expensive hotel accommodations be available, to increase student and academic attendance. (3) In regards to the management of the Society from technical and financial aspects, ADG has played an important role in putting a vehicle in place for financial management. Phil proposed that the TS continue to work with other societies in terms of partnering. Phil further recommend that another Strategic Planning Committee meet during the spring of 2002 (5 years after the first meeting). Phil has been putting together a tentative agenda for such a meeting.

Vice President's Report: George Daston (see Report 2)

Regarding electronic submission of abstracts, Bill Landau did everything he said he was going to do and on schedule. Whether the society should continue having one less day for future meetings is a remaining question (this would entail missing the "free" afternoon). Exhibitors: there was a reduction in number of participants this year. We need to encourage more exhibitors to participate in the future and the membership should continue to make the exhibitors feel welcome. Tony was successful in getting more money from sponsors to support costs associated with the education course and symposia. George will continue this effort with regard to donations.

Action item: Tony suggested that the Executive Secretary (Tonia) and the President (George), at the conclusion of the meetings, begin writing letters to solicit such funding for future meetings. It was noted that funding from exhibitors and sponsors equals that from member registrations.

Site Selection: Le Centre Sheraton in Montreal has been contracted for the year 2001. The committee will continue exploring the possibility of meeting with the Society of Developmental Biology in Montreal. Additional housing may be available at McGill University. Tony advised that the meetings should be developed with the penalty in mind, i.e., we pay 80% of unused room nights. In this regard, it was mentioned that considerably fewer room nights have blocked out for the meetings in Montreal. We may have to further reduce the room block by pre-registration time of the 2000 meeting in Florida. Barbara reminded that June 24 is a major holiday in Montreal. The Newsletter should remind members to make reservations for these meetings well in advance.

The committee is still searching for a city to host the 2002 meetings. Several cities are being considered Salt Lake City will probably not be considered due to lack of available facilities during the month of June.

Public Affairs Committee: Ken Jones (see Report 3)

A discussion took place concerning the consensus statement on endocrine disrupters.

Motion: George made a motion to accept the position paper, Bob K. seconded the motion. The Council voted unanimously in favor of the motion. A discussion took place concerning authorship of the paper. Tony proposed that PA committee decide questions concerning authorship of the paper.

George reported that he and Ken had been in contact about developing a mechanism for providing rapid information to health practitioners and TS members about controversial subjects, especially newly published papers identifying the possibility of previously unknown teratogenic hazards.. An example is a recent paper in JAMA on the teratogenicity of solvents. Ken described a process for generating rapid responses that would be useful to practitioners. This process would involve the review of the paper by a small team of experts led by the Public Affairs chair. The response would be made available as rapidly as possible to the TS membership and other interested parties, as well as to the authors of the controversial paper. Ken plans to let the Council read the reports prior to their being published. Tony suggested that such statements be placed on the web for more rapid response, and that the committee or Chair of that committee should sign the statements. Jan suggested that the committee should assume the authorship of position papers itself, not just the chair. Tony suggested that responses to urgent issues be submitted as a fuller publication to Teratology, with a summary being submitted to JAMA as a letter to editor.

Another issue for Council to consider is the development of media resources within the Society. Since a rapid response to some teratology-related issues is often needed for the media, the Council unanimously agreed that the Society have the ability to respond rapidly. It was recommended that we give the Public Affairs Committee a list of resources and special experts. The committee chair should be responsible for interfacing with the press in a rapid response. George suggests that a list of resource specialists and the Public Affairs Committee be involved in the development and delivery of such rapid responses.

Vice President-elect’s Report: Bob Kavlock (see Report 4)

Bob reported that there may be the opportunity to put together a satellite meeting to next year’s annual meeting to present the results of a National Academy of Sciences study on the application of modern advances in developmental biology to developmental toxicology.

Secretary’s Report: Bob Seegmiller (see Report 5)

Tony proposed that we continue to email reports to be read by Council.

Action item: council members and committee chairs are to submit their reports on schedule to the Secretary (Bob S. should solicit committee as well as ad hoc committee reports well in advance of the meetings). Afterwards, the reports are to be converted into a Word Document and then emailed, prior to the meetings, as an electronic "binder" to Council members (along with an agenda of the Council meetings).

In accordance with a previous Council decision, three Newsletters will be published per year. The first two will be available as hardcopy whereas the third and all future copies will be published electronically and made available on the Teratology website. Ideas concerning announcement of each forthcoming issue included flyers at the annual meeting, email notices, and bulk-mailed postcard. Dave suggested that edited reports for the Newsletter should be given directly to the webmaster. Email addresses are updated as an ongoing process.

Editor-in-Chief/Publications Com. Report: Lew Holmes (see Report 6)

Lew reported an upward trend in number of pages per issue. The possibility of increasing the page budget above the 80/issue limit was discussed. It was decided that we not do this until we begin to exceed the limit, as increasing the budget would increase cost. The content of the journal is averaging 2:1 lab (mainly experimental) vs. clinical (mainly epidemiological). Recruitment is an important concern, e.g., for the July issue, 4 of the 9 articles published were submitted at the request of the editor. Wiley Liss is coming up with a marketing program. There is a need for book reviews and for recruitment of reviewers. Symposia and Continuing Education Course presentations could be published as an extended abstract. Barbara raised the concern about turn-around time. Lew suggested a 6-8 week time providing the articles are submitted on a disk.

Treasurer's Report: John Rogers (see Report 7)

John discussed the issue of protecting the assets of the Society. Tony recommended that there be a web discussion as to how to best invest/manage the Society's money. John reported that the budget is OK at present. As of April 1, 1999, revenues and spending are on target vs. projections. Membership renewal invoices were sent out December, but it was suggested that we move up the dues deadline to June to enhance the renewal process. The new budget will be given to Council by Interim Council time. The current auditor's 3-year contract expires this year. George and John agreed to start the process of accepting bids for new auditors. Phil mentioned that the Strategic Planning Committee recommended that a certain percentage of our funds be put on reserve. Legg Mason will give advice on where and what to do with excess funds.

Action Item: Tony asked John to develop a recommendation for Council that can be acted on regarding having an outside group assist in manage our money. By the end of August, John plans to discuss this issue with Legg Mason and will also look into other possibilities.

Website Committee: Dave Wise (see Report 8)

Dave mentioned the value of having hard workers on the committee. The winner of the website competition will receive $700 and the runner-up, $150. One of the concerns is how to deal with questions from the public. Ken suggested giving a response and a referral to OTIS and to March of Dimes. Another concern is the FASEB searchable membership directory. Dave will check with FASEB regarding the membership list. It was also recommended that we consider putting abstracts on the web, at the same time checking our agreement with Wiley Liss.

Councilor's Report: Barbara Hales

The Primer Handbook is in progress, with 90% of the chapters in. Remaining authors will be given an "ultimatum." Few of the chapters have to be modified. There is a general lack of figures. A hardcopy and a web version will be available. The review process is under the direction of Barbara and Tony. The plan is to solicit comments on the web version prior to publishing the hardcopy version. The Primer can be distributed from the printer to any parties requesting copies. They will ask for 10,000 copies for the first printing. The ambition will be to try to reach medical and embryology students.

Executive Secretary/Director's Report: Tonia Masson

Tonia pointed out that the management group will no longer be called ADG, but may be called Association Management and Development Group (AMDG). Jan questioned whether there would be any differences in services with the new group. Tonia responded that none are anticipated. The new group has the same staff on board and the transition has been seamless.

Miscellaneous business

Elaine Francis has stepped down as one of our representatives to FASEB, due to possible conflicts of interest. In the future we should avoid appointing individuals who are employed by government because of such possibilities. John De Sesso and Tony Scialli were both mentioned as replacements.

It was pointed out that sister societies (NBTS and OTIS are tapping AMDG for certain services. George agreed to discuss with incoming presidents of these societies our desire, as a cost-conserving measure, to keep requests on AMDG to a minimum.

Meeting was adjourned at 4:46 PM.



Report 1
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Strategic Planning Committee
From: Phil Mirkes, Chair

Re: Update on strategic planning initiatives (with recommendations)

For the record, Council approved and a 3-day strategic planning meeting, the first ever for our society, was held March 6-8, 1997. Attendees at this retreat were Phil Mirkes, George Daston and Bob Kavlock (organizers) and society members, Jane Adams, Bob Brent, Michael Cunningham, Rick Finnell, Craig Harris, John Harris, Lew Holmes, Diana Juriloff, Carole Kimmel, Tom Knudsen, Ed Lammer, Pat Rodier, John Rogers, Tom Sadler, Bern Schwetz, Dan Sheehan, Dana Shuey, Melissa Tassinari and Pat Wier. Thanks to the diligent efforts of Bob Kavlock, we have an excellent summary of the proceedings of this strategic planning retreat (see attached document).

On the basis of extensive discussions at the retreat, the most significant issues identified were: 1) need for a clear mission statement and a societal name change, 2) the status of the journal, 3) the scope, organization and cost of the annual meeting, 4) improving the management of our society, and 5) the need to partner with other groups allied with our mission. On the basis of these "distilled" top five issues, the following actions were initiated with the following results.

To deal with the issues of revising the mission statement and changing the name of our society, I appointed an ad hoc committee chaired by George Daston, which included Ed Lammer and Pat Rodier and a second committee chaired by Tom Sadler, which included Michael Cunningham, John Rogers and Craig Harris. The former committee developed a new mission statement that was then sent to the Constitution and Bylaws Committee prior to being communicated to the membership for consideration at the 1998 Teratology Society business where the new mission statement was approved. From the latter committee came a proposal to change the name of our society to the Birth Defects Research Society. This proposal was submitted to the Constitution and Bylaws Committee and then revisions in the Constitution and Bylaws related to this change were communicated to the membership. After heated discussion at the business meeting, the motion to change the name of our society was tabled and returned to committee. There was, however, a suggestion that we consider revising our logo in an attempt to more accurately convey who we are and what we do. As you know, Tony Scialli has taken this suggestion to heart and we are now in the process of developing a new logo (this may be completed by the time this report is presented).

The status of the journal was the major issue identified at the strategic planning retreat. As you know, Lew Holmes was appointed Editor-in-Chief, and is now in the second year as editor. At this writing, the journal is now current; however, its long-term health remains a question, and I believe this remains an issue that will require continued attention by Council and the membership as a whole. Moreover, the problems facing the journal cannot be dealt with solely by the editor. Thus, I recommend that Council make every effort to insure that the Publications Committee is staffed by the "right" individuals, who will be able to provide support critical to the efforts of the editor. I also recommend that everything possible be done to renegotiate our contract with Wiley-Liss in ways that will enhance our journal.

To deal with the scope, organization, and cost of the annual meeting, I appointed an ad hoc committee, chaired by Dan Sheehan, which included Rick Finnell and Diana Juriloff. Unfortunately, the chair of this committee was overwhelmed with other commitments with the result that the charge of this committee was taken up by Tony Scialli. Without going into detail, I think it is safe to say that Council is committed to reducing the cost and to maintaining the diversity of the annual meeting. With respect to the former, ADG (particularly Clarissa Wilson) has been very helpful, and overall it is my feeling that our association with ADG will have a significant impact on future annual meetings. Although I believe we have made important strides in cutting costs and generating new revenues, it is my opinion that we need to continually check the pulse of the membership. One way to do this would be to use the Societal Participation Committee, which, as you know, Council encouraged me to re-establish. I did ask John De Sesso to chair this committee and he agreed; however, I have not received any input from him concerning my request that 1) he provide a list of potential members for this committee and 2) that he draft a charge for this committee. Thus, I recommend that the President follow up on this appointment if Council still feels that such a committee would be useful.

With regard to improving the management of our society, we are now in our second year of a contract with the Association Development Group (ADG). I think there is no doubt that the society is better managed at all levels as a result of our association with ADG; however, better management of our society was only part of what the strategic planning retreat identified as a concern. The other part was the concern that our society did not have the financial resources to undertake many of the initiatives that were proposed during the retreat. Clearly, ADG has already and probably will continue to generate some revenue for the society (recruiting more exhibitors/negotiating favorable contracts with meeting sites), but the amount generated is limited. If we wish to increase the scope of what we do, we will have to increase the revenue to support this increase in activity. Thus, I would encourage Council to develop a financial plan, based upon proposed societal activities, and then put in place a vehicle for achieving goals set forth in the financial plan.

Finally, with regard to establishing liaisons with other groups sharing similar missions, we have begun initiatives to partner with other like-minded societies such as the Society for Developmental Biology and the American Craniofacial Cleft Palate Association (ACPA). Through the efforts of Michael Cunningham, we have now established a dialogue with ACPA and they are clearly interested in working with us in a number of ways, e.g., from sharing members who would present talks on particular subjects all the way to a joint, overlapping meeting. I have attempted to establish a dialogue with the Society of Developmental Biology about the possibility of overlapping meetings, e.g., the last day of one meeting is the first day of the other, at which symposia/talks of mutual interest would be presented. While I have made some headway, there remains a strong feeling among at least some of the developmental biologists that the research that turns us on would not be of much interest to developmental biologists and, therefore, a joint meeting is not viewed as a high priority. While I personally believe these feelings do not reflect reality, they need to be kept in mind if we actively pursue partnering with this group. Finally, we have begun a partnership with FASEB by becoming an associate member of this group. Our annual dues (currently $5000), in essence buys us input into the extensive, aggressive, and successful lobbying efforts that FASEB has developed. For example, the recent efforts of FASEB have played a large role in the substantial budget increases realized by NIH in recent years. Although these increases are not targeted solely to birth defects research, it is clear that more funding for birth defects research is available because of the overall increase in the NIH budget. With respect to partnering with other scientific groups, I recommend that we pursue this aggressively, set up some joint efforts, and then evaluate their usefulness. I strongly urge that we maintain our membership in FASEB and, more importantly, that we take advantage of opportunities presented to us via this association. In addition, we should also consider partnering with "lay" groups interested in birth defects such as the March of Dimes, the Spina Bifida Association, etc. Whether we pursue these suggestions and how successful any efforts will be will depend upon identifying key people who are willing and able, i.e., have the time, to dedicate their efforts to these initiatives.

In summary, some of the issues identified by the strategic planning committee have been resolved (mission statement, name change), while others (journal, management, annual meeting, partnering) are ongoing efforts that have realized specific accomplishments with much more to do. I think it is important to keep the strategic planning initiative on the front-burner; therefore, I recommend that the President appoint a chair and a small committee to monitor what we said we wanted to do, what we are doing, and what else needs to be done. I also want to encourage council members to read or re-read the summary of our first strategic planning retreat. In so doing you will note that there were many issues identified in addition to the 5 major ones that we have attempted to address. Perhaps some of these should now be addressed. Finally, I recommend that a strategic planning committee be convened in spring of 2002 (5 years after the first meeting) to once again assess where we are and where we want to be at the end of another 5-10 years. I believe this is one of the most effective means of insuring the health and vitality of the Teratology Society.


Report 2
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Vice President
From: George Daston

Re: Meeting budget, site selection

Program Committee/ Annual Meeting: A total of 103 abstracts will be presented, comparable to last year’s total. We have a full slate of symposia and have added discussion sessions on hot topics as an inducement to stay at the meeting through July 4. If these prove to be popular we should consider making them a regular feature of the meeting. Excluding the discussion sessions the meeting is a full day shorter than usual. We should take note of the pace of the meeting to see if this may be a viable model for future meetings. All symposia except the Public Affairs Symposium are funded. NIEHS is funding all the costs of the speakers at the symposium it has sponsored, MOD has made a gift of $12,000, and SmithKline Beecham provided $1000 to supplement the Wiley-Liss Symposium at a time when the organizers were trying to invite a speaker from Europe.

Electronic Submissions: The electronic abstract submission went well. The vast majority of submissions were electronic. This facilitated the handling of the abstracts and in preparing camera-ready copy for the journal. There are a few glitches that we need to resolve:

An undetermined, but apparently small, number of submitters did not receive confirmation that their abstracts had been accepted.

We need to improve the way in which we identify submissions from students who wish to be considered for a merit award (Wilson or Taubeneck). This year’s submission form only asked if the students wished to be considered for a travel award.

Wiley cannot work easily with electronic submission. Their deadline for electronic submission of the program was two weeks earlier than the deadline for camera-ready copy. We opted for the latter as we needed the extra time to incorporate the OTIS and NBTS schedules. This counter-intuitive fact needs to be kept in mind for the future.

All of these problems are reparable. I believe that the electronic submission has definite advantages. Given how well the system worked this year, I think that we can move the abstract submission deadline back at least two weeks and still make the publisher’s deadline.

Bill Landau was extremely efficient and cooperative. I recommend that we continue to work with him.

Exhibitors: Once again, we have a large number of exhibitors, thanks to Clarissa Wilson’s efforts. We have had a couple of cancellations, but still have 17 exhibitors at the meeting. Exhibitors represent a potentially important source of revenue for the Society. However, the exhibitors have told us that our meeting is not much of a business-generating opportunity for them. It appears that most will continue to come as a means of keeping their names before current and prospective clients. It is most convenient for them to exhibit for just two days. The practice of holding poster sessions in the exhibit hall on consecutive evenings appears to be a win-win for the exhibitors and the meeting attendees.

Contributions: Contributions in support of the annual meeting have picked up. As Tony Scialli noted in his report last year, there are a lot of companies willing to contribute, they just need to be asked. This year, we have funding from exhibitors to cover the cost of receptions at both poster sessions, and from WIL Labs to cover the cost of wine at the banquet. Elsevier is covering the cost of the President’s Reception, Covance has contributed $3000 for the banquet reception and Merck is providing for a student luncheon. John Rogers sought and received $5000 for student travel awards from the Welcome Fund. Clearly, the message here is that we just need to do more asking.

Sister Societies: Sue Schantz of NBTS and I agreed on the specifics of coordinating the joint aspects of our meetings. There will be pass-through costs to NBTS for any meal functions that are "joint" between the societies, and for their share of jointly sponsored symposia. We will provide them with comp rooms that are commensurate with the number of room nights occupied by their meeting attendees. While I think this agreement is fair, it does not include our costs incurred during the year in preparing for the annual meeting. The staff has spent considerable time working with both sister societies on confirming meeting room assignments and preparing the program for printing. While the problems that we encountered this year stem largely from our unfavorable arrangements with Keystone, they point out a problem that we have no mechanism to address. Every time OTIS or NBTS calls our professional staff the meter is running and Teratology Society pays the fare. I will explain this problem to the leadership of both societies and indicate that, for fiscal reasons, we will need to ask for their cooperation in limiting their access to our staff for planning their meetings. The alternative is to ask them to compensate Teratology Society for our additional personnel costs.

Site Selection: The ad hoc site selection committee recommended that we seek to meet in cities in 2001 and 2002. Clarissa Wilson and I visited Montreal and were impressed with the facilities at the Sheraton in the center of the city. We have signed a contract with them for June 23-28, 2001. Our total room block obligation is 1575. The single room rate is $198 Canadian, which works out to be about $135 at today’s exchange rate. There is a cap in the contract guaranteeing an exchange rate to be not lower than 1.3 (Canadian to US). The Society will receive a 10% commission on each room. We tried to negotiate this down, but were unable to get a room rate that was 10% less. Therefore, I decided to accept the commission, but we should take this added revenue into account when we set the registration fee. There are only two meal functions planned, the banquet and the Wilson lunch. We will be charged for meeting room space. There are other hotels in the neighborhood, so Society members will have a choice. McGill University is only a few blocks away. There may be a possibility that students could find cheap housing there. Barbara Hales can inform us better about the possibilities.

We had tentatively chosen the Little America Hotel in Salt Lake City as the site of the 2002 meeting. However, the hotel was unable to meet its verbal commitment to a mid-June date; only the July 4 week was available. It was Clarissa’s advice that the other hotels in SLC were not as well suited for our needs. There is still the possibility of getting space at the Snowbird resort outside SLC, but this would be contrary to our plans of meeting in a city for 2002.

As of this writing Clarissa is soliciting proposals from other cities for the 2002 meeting. We are soliciting cities in the Pacific Northwest, including Portland, Vancouver and Anchorage, and in the Southeast, including Myrtle Beach, Charleston and Savannah. We’ve shelved the idea of using a mid-western city because they are either too expensive (Chicago) or perceived as being an insufficient draw (Milwaukee, Kansas City, and even Cincinnati). It should be possible to make arrangements within the next few months.

It isn’t too early to start planning for 2003. We have found it difficult to find meeting space even with a 4 year lead-time. I recommend that we form a new ad hoc Site Selection Committee consisting of the VP-Elect as Chair, Tony Scialli (the Past-President has to have something to do), Rick Finnell (who was on the Annual Meeting working group of the Strategic Planning Committee), an exhibitor (to be selected) and Clarissa Wilson and myself as ad hoc members. The group should meet sometime during the upcoming annual meeting. It need only meet once.

Partnerships: I have been in contact with Society for Developmental Biology regarding the possibility of joint meetings. SDB has traditionally been holding their meeting within a few weeks of ours. However, they are still in the habit of planning their meetings only a year in advance at the discretion of the incoming President. They tend to hold their meetings on college campuses. SDB’s Executive Director was very interested in the possibility of holding coinciding meetings in 2001, with SDB using McGill as its site. SDB’s attendance appears to be increasing, as ours stays stagnant. It would seem to be a net positive for Teratology Society to meet jointly with SDB, given our common interests and SDB’s recent popularity.


Report 3
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Public Affairs Committee
From: Ken Jones, Chair

Re: Symposium, position paper (endocrine disrupters and others, response to published studies, response to other websites

Consensus Statements:
A) The Teratology Society Position Paper entitled Developmental Toxicity of Endocrine Disrupters to Humans was approved. Joe Lary chaired the committee who wrote this position paper. It was an extremely difficult statement to write because the field is so controversial. Dr Lary's group performed a terrific service in putting it together.

B) A Teratology Society Position Paper on Thalidomide has been written, is being reviewed at the present time, and should be completed within the next few months.

C) A Position Paper on the teratogenicity of alcohol is in preparation.

Public Affairs Symposium: The 1999 Symposium is entitled Post-marketing Surveillance of New Drugs-Recognizing Teratogenic Effects in Humans. It has been organized by Jan Friedman and Ann Pastuszak and will be held on Saturday, July 3, 1999.

Liaison with the US FDA: Sandra Kweder, a member of the Public Affairs Committee, is in charge of the use-in-pregnancy label revision process at FDA. Ken Jones is a member of the Pregnancy Labeling Subcommittee, which had it's first meeting on June 3, 1999. Although Tony Scialli could not attend the meeting, he has had major input into the process.

Establishment of a process to evaluate controversial papers appearing in the medical literature: Following the publication of a paper on prenatal exposure to organic solvents (Khattak et al.: Pregnancy-outcome Following Gestational Exposure To Organic Solvents, JAMA: 1106-1109, 1999), a number of Teratology Society members raised concern about the interpretation of the data. In order to address this issue, an anonymous ad hoc committee was set up. A one hour conference call was held, the paper was evaluated using pre-established criteria, a summary statement was written and sent out to the 4 members of the committee for their corrections, and the statement was then sent to the authors of the paper for their comments.. This process took 6 weeks to accomplish. I have talked to Lew Holmes about publishing this dialogue rapidly in Teratology and he seems interested in doing so.

Some of the issues that need to be discussed are as follows:

1) Appropriateness of making this a regular function of the PAC.

2) Appropriateness of the review committee being anonymous.

3) Publication of the report in Teratology.

4) Who should decide which papers should be reviewed.

5) Who should author the statement if the ad hoc committee is anonymous.


Report 4
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Vice President Elect
From: Robert Kavlock

Re: 2000 meeting, satellite meetings

The year was spent observing the functioning of the Vice-President and President and learning upcoming responsibilities. In addition, ideas have been collected regarding the year 2000 meeting at the Breakers. Plans are also being developed for a satellite meeting focused on the interface between developmental biology and developmental toxicology. In the past, this meeting would highlight the outcome of a report from the NRC on this topic. Potential financial supporters for this satellite meeting have been approached. It is anticipated that both our annual meeting and the special meeting would benefit from crossover participation.


Report 5
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Secretary
From: Robert Seegmiller

Re: Newsletter, membership

Newsletter: We produced one newsletter in 1999 ñ the spring issue. To date, the labor cost is $1,812, which represents 51 hours. The associated printing and mailing fees are $1,262.41. Based upon these numbers, we are under budget on the newsletter. Two more issues remain to be published, one as a hardcopy and the final issue on the website. Members will be notified as to the date of the final issue.

Membership: The following is the 1999 annual report of the Membership Committee submitted by Chairman Joe Rutledge for the 98-99 membership committee: George Dearlove and Sid Hunter.

The teratology society added 19 members from August 1998 to June 1999. The influx of members was in part due to aggressive recruiting by several senior members. This brings us to a total of 739 members of which 591 have paid. We have 27 emeritus members, 16 associate, and 22 student members.

The membership acceptance process worked well with evaluation of several groups at periodic times of the year. The requirement for 2 letters of sponsorship was waived to make the application process less onerous. It is pointed out however, that the membership committee should closely evaluate the CV's of the applicants to insure they will be appropriate members and may request, if there is any doubt, supporting letters.

The Website committee, through the efforts of John Krayer, has set up the membership application on the Web page http://teratology.org/.

There are several challenges in membership that this committee may in part address over the next year. These include (as with other similar organizations): (a) retention; (b) recruitment, especially at the student level; (c) promotion of student members to continue affiliation with the Teratology Society; (d.) payment of past due dues. The new members are: Ibrahim Chahoud, Betty L. DeLise, M.S., Ursula G. Froster, M.D., Robert M. Greene, Ph.D., Thomas Bruce Grizzle, Nafeesa Hunt, Diana Johnson, M.S., Amy L. Lavin, Ph.D., Jean-Jacques Legrand, D.V.M., Alexander Lyubimov, Ph.D., Jeffery S. Nye. M.D., Ph.D., Terence R. S. Ozolins, Ph.D., Eniko K. Pivnick, M.D., Timothy Robison, Ph.D, David Rowitch, R. Woodrow Setzer, Jr., Ph.D., Marilyn H. Silva, Ph.D., DABT, Kristina D. Spranger, and Mary K Walker, Ph.D.


Report 6
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Teratology Journal
From: Lew Holmes, editor-in-chief

Re: Update on status of the journal

The editorial office of the journal (Teratology) of the Society invites the submission of manuscripts on any aspect of normal or abnormal fetal development in humans and experimental animals. We encourage, in particular, clinical and laboratory studies that use new technologies to delineate the causes of birth defects. We also invited letters to the editor to highlight new findings or hypotheses and to comment on published observations. Correspondence should be sent to Lewis B. Holmes, M.D., Editor, or Phyllis Dennehy, Editorial Assistant. Our address is posted on the Website (Teratology.org).


Report 8
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Web Site Committee
From: David Wise, Chair

Re: Update on status of website, questions from visitors, directory

The committee consists of Drs. David Wise, Hudson Bates, Theresa Fico, Robert Parker, Robert Veneziale, Mr. Robert Vinson and Mr. John Krayer. The webmaster is Mr. Bill Landau. The Teratology web site is currently on a "virtual server" maintained by Mr. Landau. The virtual server resides physically on a server located on the premises of Advanced Internet Technologies, Inc. in Fayetteville, NC. Mr. Landau has handled all server issues to-date. The domain name of teratology.org is owned by the society but Mr. Landau is the administrative contact with Network Solutions (internet name registrar).

Email addresses are also maintained on Mr. Landau's virtual server. There are 4 email addresses provided for ADG's use: tshq, tmasson, clarissa, and annk@teratology.org.

The major accomplishments of the committee are as follows: Hudson Bates redesigned the site. Every issue of the Newsletter contained an article written by a different committee member. The newsletter, business and council meeting minutes are posted within a couple days of receipt thanks to Bob Veneziale. The WebBoard was added (see below). The Just for Students web page competition was announced, entries received, and judging is ongoing at this time. The committee will work with the winner to integrate the Student pages onto the present web site. The following pages of information and/or links were added: Databases and literature resources for toxicology and teratology information thanks to John Krayer. Pregnancy labeling information.

Consultants in teratology who are members of the society, a fee of $25/year is requested thanks to Theresa Fico. Contract laboratories; a fee of $100/year is request to those who don't already contribute. Guidelines from government agencies thanks to Hudson Bates. The responsibilities of officers and certain committees are now associated with listed names. The membership application information and printable application thanks to John Krayer.

MARTA and MTA membership information. New logos under consideration thanks to Bob Veneziale.

For the period between 01-Nov-1998 and 31-May-1999 there were 9,004 visitors to the site, and an average of 84.7 visits per day. This is in contrast to last year where we recorded only 5,104 with an average of 210 per week. A more detailed report is attached. The indexing and key words associated with the web site have positioned the site well in terms of search engines. We are within the first 10 sites retrieved for terms such as "birth defects" and "teratology" with most common search engines.

Three committee members have access to all files that compose the web site through a password-protected FTP protocol to the server. Those 3 members have purchased Symantec Visual Page (ver. 2.0) and routinely use it to make edits and create new pages. Essentially all page updates and additions are done by the committee, therefore additional webmaster costs are avoided.

The cost of hosting the web site is $50 per month; Mr. Landau sends an invoice to the business office quarterly. There were no additional costs this year.

The 1999 meeting program was posted on a continuing basis as information became available. This arrangement worked well and we hope it will continue in future years.

The WebBoard was established to replace the Discussion Forum which was relatively primitive and required constant upkeep. The WebBoard is actually associated with the Reprotox web site, but this is not readily apparent to the user. The WebBoard is maintained by Information Ventures, Inc. (IVI), Philadelphia, PA. The contact at IVI is Chaim Dworkin (chaim@infoventures.com, 215-569-2300). Although there is no cost to us for using the WebBoard, Mr. Dworkin's has mentioned that in the future his company may require payment for his time. If that occurs the committee will consider purchasing and installing the WebBoard program or soliciting corporate sponsorship. The WebBoard is not well used at the present time, and this may be due to a bug in the email notification option that was recently discovered. A newer version of WebBoard will soon be installed and this should allow email notification of users when a new message is posted.

Since this time last year a total of 73 outside emails, both incoming and replies to those, were handled by the Web Site Committee. These emails come from our Send A Comment page. The range of subjects is large; a folder containing all communications is available for council to review. By viewing this file council will recognize that this form of information exchange with the public can only be expected to increase, and therefore, we need to seriously consider how to handle a higher volume of such questions. Comments may also be directed to the president, executive secretary, or the webmaster; however, we do not know how many such messages go to these individuals.

The following anticipated features that were listed in the 1998 report were not completed: On-line 1999 meeting registration (although forms are printable from the site). On-line membership application (although criteria & forms are printable from the site). Add password-protected searchable directory of members. It was decided to link to the FASEB directory, but our membership has not been added to their database for unknown reasons. Add past meeting highlights, including some pictures. Add a listing of methods used in the field of Teratology (e.g., batch skeletal staining).

Issues Requiring Council Input: Besides the program of the annual meeting, do we wish to post Abstracts? If so, are there issues with Wiley-Liss?

Shall we push ahead to have on-line meeting registration available for 2000? Perhaps someone in the committee is competent to do this, but if not we would ask Mr. Landau and ADG to bid. Council and the committee need to develop guidelines for handling the expected increased number of questions from the public.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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