Montreal or Bust! Time to Get Excited…The 2015 Annual Meeting is Almost Here!

Montreal or Bust! Time to Get Excited…The 2015 Annual Meeting is Almost Here!


Last week at our weekly lab meeting, the excitement for the upcoming Teratology Society meeting in Montreal was palpable!  My students were asking questions about the meeting and all the activities planned, reminding me of how important our annual meetings are to our students, members and guests.  This meeting will be long remembered by our students, and I hope it will impact them to become life-long members of Teratology.  We will have other new members at the meeting, and I encourage all Teratology members to set a goal of meeting at least one new person at this meeting.  If you meet attendees who are not members, encourage them to join and become active in our Society.

As the annual meeting is also a time for our new officers to assume their positions, we look forward to hearing their ideas for the year ahead.  We are in good hands for the coming years, with dedicated members who are devoting their time and energy to our Society. 

This is also a good time to reflect back on the past year and celebrate the accomplishments of our Society.  A major initiative for this year was the hiring of a media consultant, Nicole Chavez, who is working with our Communications Working Group to help Teratology raise our profile in the general and scientific communities, encourage new membership and motivate current members to get involved in sharing their knowledge with the world.  Many of our committees are now taking advantage of Nicole’s expertise, and getting their messages out on LinkedIn and Facebook, in addition to our own BDR Connection. 

And speaking of our Committees, what a great year!  Just to name a few examples where committees, in addition to their normal activities, had special accomplishments (in no particular order):

  • Public Affairs helped to put out the Teratology resolution on folic acid fortification and responded to media requests for expert opinions.

  • Education Committee sponsored the webinar on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome—the first webinar solely sponsored by Teratology.

  • Membership Committee planned new activities at our annual meeting for new members (think ice cream social).  

  • Communications Working Group developed a Rapid Response protocol to allow our Society to respond to media requests in a systematic and timely method.

  • Constitution and Bylaws Committee shepherded changes in the process for changing our governance to allow for more timely responses.

  • Have you noticed the updated homepage for our website?  Website Committee redesigned our website to make it more user-friendly and up to date.

  • Publications Committee is reviewing a proposal by Wiley to fuse our three journals into one journal with three parts. 

  • Awards Committee worked with NBTS to select the first recipient of the Patricia Rodier Mid-Career Award for Research and Mentoring.

  • A special Ad Hoc Committee to Honor Ed Carney made recommendations for how Teratology could best honor our past president.

  • Student Affairs reworked the Dine with a Teratology Ambassador event in response to feedback from student/postdoc attendees at past meetings and secured a T-shirt sponsor for the Treasure Hunt.

  • Program Committee put together several special events for our 2015 meeting.

  • In addition to assembling an outstanding slate for our regular election, the Nominations and Elections Committee has been working hard to prepare for the Special Election which will take place in July.

As mentioned before, these activities were in addition to the normal activities these committees complete each year to keep our Society moving ahead.  I would like to thank these committees for all their hard work for the Teratology Society.  Thank you as well to members who serve as Society liaisons to other organizations; another important way our Society maximizes its reach.  Also, I want to thank members of Council, who provided ideas and support for all these activities.  Council has worked hard this year to help meet the goals of our strategic plan—devoting their time and efforts in leading our Society. 

Lastly, it has been a great honor to serve as your president for the last year.  I am grateful to all of you who have provided your support, particularly to my colleagues on Council, Committee Chairs and to the staff at headquarters, who care deeply for our Society.  Thanks to all of you.

I look forward to seeing you in Montreal!!


Warm regards,

Mary Alice Smith


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