President's Message September 2011

Makings of a New Year

In many ways, September is like the beginning of a new year.  Let me name a few…

  • The agenda for the 2012 meeting in Baltimore almost final; yet it seems like we just left Coronado.
  • It is nearly time to renew our membership for 2012.
  • The cycle to define the direction of the Society for the next five years is upon us with the next Strategic Planning Session scheduled for April 10-12, 2012.

With beginning of a “new year” come new opportunities.  I am pleased to serve as President, and I look forward to participating in the strategic planning efforts in April that will help define the future for our Society. The major strength of the Teratology Society is the diversity of its membership, who manifest varying backgrounds and a wide variety of different knowledge bases. As stated in our mission we are a dedicated group of individuals conducting research into the etiology, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of birth defects. We need to communicate that information to physicians, government officials, and lay individuals.  The position statements drafted by the Public Affairs Committee have provided useful information regarding controversial issues in teratology. I believe we as a Society should continue to make a strong commitment to provide such guidance which will help increase the visibility of our Society.

It is important to continue to foster interactions with the Neurobehavioral Teratology Society (NBTS), the Organization of Teratology Information Specialists (OTIS) and regional teratology groups, such as MARTA, at our annual meetings and throughout the year. OTIS, in particular, embodies our efforts to communicate to physicians and lay groups through the provision of peer-reviewed teratology information to consumers on a regional basis and the development of valuable epidemiological networks to evaluate exposures through post-marketing surveillance in a prospective manner. We need to remain visible and active in medical school teaching so that the next generation of physicians and basic scientists can become knowledgeable and also contribute to our field. In order to accomplish this, we must develop an inclusive and interactive atmosphere that emphasizes the understanding and prevention of birth defects.  What are your suggestions to improve the visibility of the Society? Use the comment feature below to provide your feedback or e-mail your suggestions to me at john.graham@cshs.org.

We must also look “within” to determine what can be improved in order to strengthen our membership.  Not only in gazing into the future.pngnumbers, but also in participation.  What can the Teratology Society do to assist you throughout the year?  Are there new services or resources that should be offered to members?  Please offer suggestions, so that we can carry them forward for incorporation into the plan for the next five years.  The next strategic planning session will be held April 10-12, 2012. 

BDR Connection is the vehicle and mechanism used to communicate important information to the membership.  BDR Connection provides easy to use tools for conducting Society business.  The minutes of Council meetings are available for your review.  BDR Connection houses the Membership Directory with pictures of the members and much more.  I encourage you to enter this portal regularly to maintain the connection with the Society and your fellow members. 

Thank you to all of you who responded to the proposed amendments to the By-Laws.  I am pleased to inform you that all amendments were approved.  Watch your e-mail for other opportunities to participate in key activities of the Society.  Nominations for future leaders are due on October 1 and the nominations deadline for the F. Clarke Fraser Award and Distinguished Service Award is October 28; be sure to submit your nominations.  Your participation is key to the success of our Society.

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