• Dr. Civitelli, ASBMR President 2013-2014, Letter Two

     
     
     
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    President’s Message to Membership
    May 2014
    Roberto Civitelli

    In the few short months since my last letter, I can report that the Society has been quite busy!  In this letter, I would like to give you a further update on our finances and on the 2014 Annual Meeting, which is fast approaching.

    More on ASBMR Financial Health

    As mentioned in my previous letter, the unfavorable environment for research funding over the past several years has forced the Society leadership, Finance Committee and staff to spend a great deal of time at the end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014 evaluating how best to decrease spending, which has been achieved in part by redistributing effort of some staff members, increasing efficiencies in many activities and carefully re-considering the costs of long-standing programs.  In parallel to spending cuts, a Development Work Group has been at work to identify new mechanisms of funding from industry, individuals and other private sources, and will make recommendations soon. Budget forecast at this point in time indicates that the Society has done a stellar job managing expenses in light of revenue reductions. 

    In a further effort to review our expense structure and fulfill our financial responsibilities to the membership, the ASBMR leadership has performed an analysis of professional and scientific organizations comparable to ASBMR using publicly available US tax filing records, focusing on expenditures for personnel and management/administration.  Within the limitations of this type of analysis, related to the difficulty in deriving data from self-reported tax filings documents, different management models and membership size, the results show that ASBMR is very much in line with most of our "peers" as far as how much we spend for personnel and management fees, as a percentage of total expenses (39% in 2012).  It is interesting (and reassuring) to note that even organizations that are self-managed and those that are serviced by not-for-profit organizations spend approximately the same percentage of their income in personnel and management/administration as ASBMR, which is managed by SmithBucklin, a for-profit company. We do realize and accept that ASBMR has to pay fees for the services provided by SmithBucklin, but the quality of those services and the professionalism of the personnel fully justify those expenses, which are quite comparable to what peer organizations also pay for management services.  The Society’s leadership takes our financial health very seriously, and has always made it a priority to practice judicious budgeting and expense management.  You can rest assured that the Executive Committee, Finance Committee and Council are alert and active in overseeing how our financial resources are managed in the best interest of you, our members.

    ASBMR 2014 Annual Meeting

    The abstract deadline has passed and approximately 1500 abstracts were submitted. While this number is marginally lower than last year, there will be an opportunity to submit late-breaking abstracts. The Program Committee, comprised of Ann Schwartz, Eileen Shore and Stuart Ralston, has worked tirelessly to develop an outstanding scientific program for the 2014 Annual Meeting, now available on our website.

    One of the guiding principles followed by the Program Committee has been to emphasize the translation of basic discoveries to clinical research and patient care.  If you have submitted an abstract this year, you may have noted several new categories, organized around three main groups, basic, translational and clinical.  Each group will have an approximately equal number of oral presentations (depending on the merit of submitted abstracts), so that all three main components of the biomedical research process will be appropriately represented.

    Another fundamental principle in organizing the ASBMR Annual Meeting has been to keep it relevant to all constituencies of our Society.  To this end, the Gerald D. Aurbach and Louis V. Avioli lectures, which will be given by two outstanding colleagues, Dr. Ana Maria Cuervo on autophagy and aging, and Dr. Hiroshi Takayanagi, on the impact of osteoimmunology on the field, will present material that bench and bedside researchers and clinicians alike will find attractive and meaningful.  Similarly, the two plenary symposia on Brittle Bone Diseases and on Next-Gen Therapies will provide updates in areas of rapid growth, high, broad-based impact, and with significant recent developments.  Other Symposia will address the state-of-the-art in heterotopic ossification, muscle and bone, cellular and molecular mechanobiology, falls and fall related injuries, and bone and inflammation.

    Two concurrent Plenary Sessions showcasing the highest scoring research submitted to the Annual Meeting will be held each day except Friday; and based upon feedback from previous attendees, the number of Concurrent Oral Sessions has been increased to four each day, to allow a more efficient clustering of topics.  There will be two concurrent Oral Posters Sessions just before the Plenary Poster session on Friday evening; and the Poster Sessions will be unopposed to allow ample time for direct interaction at the poster boards, networking and mid-day refreshment.

    Three Clinical Roundtables on the management of bone health in chronic kidney disease, premenopausal women, children, and other challenging situations, will feature a new interactive format with case presentations followed by a discussion with input from the audience.  Concurrently, each day there will be Meet-the-Professor sessions on a variety of hot topics and emerging themes spanning the entire gamut from molecular biology to clinical outcomes.

    As in the past, a lively Clinical Debate, this year focused on the practical value of bone turnover markers in the routine management of osteoporosis, will take place, with ECTS co-sponsorship.  An interactive Clinical Evening will focus on how to personalize osteoporosis treatment, and will be paired with a Basic Evening, where experts will share their knowledge and experience on how to best apply mouse genetic models to skeletal biology. Furthermore, a special session organized in collaboration with NASA will highlight research ongoing in the International Space Station (ISS) and Johnson Space Center. Attendees will be greeted by the astronauts on the ISS!

    For the first time, we will also offer a “virtual meeting” option for the ASBMR 2014 Annual Meeting through live video streaming, where scientists not able to attend the meeting in person will be able to register to participate in some of the large sessions “live” online. This will be another way to engage with bone scientists around the world.

    In addition to the Annual Meeting, a number of pre-meeting symposia and other special events will take place in Houston.  An ASBMR Symposium: The Effects of Diabetes and Disordered Energy Metabolism on Skeletal Health will address recent advances on how energy metabolism affects bone homeostasis, featuring experts from both fields.  A workshop supported by the Rare Bone Disease Patient Network and the National Bone Health Alliance, and co-sponsored by the US Bone and Joint Initiative and ASBMR, will provide Mechanistic and Therapeutic Insights into Skeletal Biology learned from the study of Rare Bone Diseases.  Now in its 8th year of existence, the very popular Endocrine Fellows Forum, sponsored by The Endocrine Fellow Foundation, will take place under John Bilezikian’s leadership.  Furthermore, the National Osteoporosis Foundation will be offering a Fracture Liaison Service Training Course to medical professionals; and the International Society for Clinical Densitometry will once again offer a Bone Densitometry Certification Course, with tracks for clinicians and technologists. All these events have the potential to increase attendance at the meeting. 

    Thus, the Houston meeting promises to be the pinnacle of the scientific discourse in skeletal biology and medicine in 2014. ASBMR is pleased to be the “home for bone” and to offer so many learning opportunities to bone scientists and to those outside the field.  If you have not done so already, please make your reservations to attend the Houston meeting in September!