President's Message December 2012

As the calendar year comes to a close and many of us are about to break for some much deserved rest, relaxation, and reflection over the holidays, I thought it would be a good time to briefly update you on some of the great work done within the Society in recent months, as well as to herald good things which lie ahead for us in 2013.

Implementation of our new Strategic Plan, rolled out to membership just six months ago, is off to a great start, thanks in large measure to the Strategic Plan Launch Team which comprises Chris Lau (Chair), Chris Curran, Mike Schellpfeffer, and Chris Stodgell, along with Melissa Tassinari, Barbara Hales and Tonia Masson who served as advisors. The Launch Team worked closely with our committees to understand the Plan and to define their respective roles in its implementation. A manuscript detailing the new Strategic Plan was written by the team and has been submitted for publication in Birth Defects Research – Part A. Having successfully completed its mission, the Launch Team will now be sunset, with many thanks for a job well done! To further help our committee chairs maximize effectiveness, a subgroup of Council led by VP-Elect Mary Alice Smith created a Leadership Training Webinar which was presented on October 16. We plan to offer this training each year at the Annual Meeting to help each new crop of committee chairs get off to a fast start.

Committee chairs and their members have enthusiastically responded to the call to help implement the Strategic Plan, and in many cases took on new initiatives above and beyond their existing remit. For example, the Membership Committee, led by Jack Bishop, is leading efforts to recruit and retain members in support of the “Grow Membership” component of the Plan. Their projects include simplification of the membership application process, development of a recruitment guide, possible incentives for members to recruit colleagues in related fields, and development of promotional flyers describing the Society and the benefits of membership. They also are contacting members who have drifted away over the past few years to determine the root cause of their attrition. The Student Affairs Committee, led by Jeff Charlap, has been generating ideas for new programs to further engage students and postdocs in the Society, and to help them launch successful careers in teratology. These are just a few examples of the excellent work being done by our committees, and I will share more in future messages.

As we look toward 2013, Council remains excited about the early progress we are making toward implementation of the Strategic Plan, but also recognizes the need to sustain high levels of energy and focus longer term. Toward that end, a robust set of Council Goals has been formalized. We will be tracking performance against these goals and will be reporting our progress on a continual basis. For more details on these goals, please refer to a companion message in the Strategic Plan Blog.

Also ahead in 2013 is, of course, our Annual Meeting which will take place in Tucson, Arizona, June 21-27. Vice President Elaine Francis and the Program Committee, along with the Education Committee led by Ali Faqi, put together a fantastic program of cutting-edge science. Just this week, Elaine received confirmation that a very high profile speaker has agreed to give the keynote address. I will keep you in suspense for a short while and not steal Elaine’s thunder, so keep an eye out for more details in a meeting announcement coming to your InBox soon.

In closing, I want to express my heartfelt thanks to our many volunteers that have generously provided their time, effort and enthusiasm which has resulted in much progress on numerous fronts. I wish all of our members an enjoyable holiday season and much success, good health, and happiness in the New Year. As you take a few moments to reflect on life, remind yourself how fortunate we all are to be teratologists!

With warm regards,

Ed Carney

President, Teratology Society

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