Teratology Society Name – Please Complete Brief Survey by November 25

Dear Members,

We wanted to provide an update on the Rebrand/Name discussions and solicit your feedback via a short survey. Results of this survey will support a final decision on whether to proceed with a formal name change proposal, so your input is critical!

As has been previously communicated, based on the member survey in 2017, a series of focus groups was conducted in the months prior to the annual meeting to discuss a potential name change, and to identify potential options for a new name, including retaining the current name. Details of those activities are available in the letter to the membership last June. Many of you are aware that name change discussions arose to reflect the evolving science of birth defects research, and the concern that we are not recognized by prospective members, policy makers and funding organizations. The issue of a potential name change was also discussed during the Business Meeting at this year’s annual meeting. Details of that discussion are available in the Business Meeting minutes.

Following the annual meeting, a brief survey was conducted of invited non-member speakers at the meeting to gain insight on how the Society is perceived by members of the greater scientific community, particularly those involved in research relevant to our mission. A total of 23 responses (of 46 contacted) were received. Detailed responses can be found here; a few highlights included:

  • 52% of the respondents were not familiar with The Teratology Society prior to their invitation.
  • 100% of the respondents stated that the mission and work of The Teratology Society was relevant to their research.
  • 95% indicated they would consider presenting their work at future meetings and/or recommend the meeting for their trainees.
  • 64% felt the name appropriately reflects the mission, membership and work of the Society. Among those that indicated it does not, the most common theme was that it does not reflect the diversity of the organization and disciplines represented at the meeting.

This final point also represents the greatest challenge for the focus groups who were asked to propose potential new names, and a significant part of the discussion at the Business Meeting. The focus groups discussed concepts they felt were important to convey in a name, including that we are a scientific organization (e.g., research, study, science) with a focus on birth defects and developmental disabilities, which sets us apart from other organizations. However, defining a name that captures the diverse, multidisciplinary nature of our membership and represents us as a progressive scientific organization in just a few words, and/or with a simple, memorable acronym is extremely challenging. The leading names that came out of the focus groups were Society for Birth Defects Research and Prevention, and Society for Birth Defects and Developmental Health Research, and Teratology Society for Reproductive and Developmental Research.

We recognize that all Society members have not had the opportunity to provide input on this topic. Therefore, in an effort to bring this discussion to a resolution and define next steps, we are asking you to carefully review the available information and considerations for/against a name change and complete a very short survey which will close at midnight November 25: Survey Link

This is your opportunity to contribute to this discussion. If results of this survey show a majority of respondents favor a name change, we will proceed with a proposed bylaw change to change the name. So please take a minute to make sure your opinion is represented.

On behalf of Teratology Society Council,

Dana Shuey



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