• Dr. Baron, ASBMR President 2014-2015, Letter Two

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    ASBMR President’s Report
    June 2015

    Dear Colleagues,

    Being the President of ASBMR is a truly exciting and rewarding job. This society is really the world leader in our field and being at the helm is (almost) as exciting as sailing my boat!

    I am looking forward to continuing to move forward on several exciting new initiatives. The past several months have been extremely productive with both volunteers and staff working diligently on many fronts. I’d like to share some of our recent accomplishments and activities with you.

    ASBMR Strategic Plan
    At the Winter ASBMR Strategic Retreat, Councilors and Committee Chairs began to develop a new strategic plan for ASBMR. This is very critical as it traces the path for our immediate future, while our mission statement defines our overarching long term strategy. From these discussions we identified four potential strategic directions that required further development and discussion. 

    • Closing the Treatment Gap, including Identification of an Improved Trial Endpoint
    • Increase International Outreach and Strengthen International Engagement to Create ‘One Global ASBMR Family’
    • Drive, Expand and Translate the Research Agenda in Musculoskeletal Science
    • Develop New Strategies and Revenue Streams to Enable ASBMR to Invest in the Future of the Field and Its Leaders

    The groups that discussed these issues during the retreat met by conference call to further consider whether these initiatives were viable and how best to proceed with implementation. Each group developed a charter and fleshed out a 12 month work plan that includes specific actions the Society will need to take to move the strategic priorities forward. We have shared the draft strategic direction reports with the Council and Committee Chairs and we will soon share them with the ASBMR membership for feedback. The Council will vote to finalize the strategic plan at our Fall Council meeting. I would like to thank each member who participated in these groups.

    New ASBMR Rising Star Award
    I am pleased to announce that the Council has approved the creation of a new “Rising Star Award.” Its intent is to provide support to our most promising young scientist and physician-scientists in the bone field who have already been recognized by NIH “K awards” and other similar international professional development programs but would benefit from additional funding to successfully implement their programs, stay in the field and transition to independent investigators. The main change in course here is to look forward, to our (bright) future, and up, to the continued search of excellence which, in the past has made our field and ASBMR what they are. By identifying and supporting our brightest and rising stars we will ensure continued success. The Call for Applications will be announced in the fall.

    New Stephen M. Krane, M.D. Esteemed Award
    At its recent Council Meeting the Council established a new Esteemed Award in honor of Stephen Krane, M.D. This award will honor an ASBMR member having a record of outstanding achievements in basic, translational or clinical research in inflammation and/or skeletal matrix biology.  

    Stephen Krane was a preeminent leader, investigator, mentor, teacher and clinician in the field of rheumatology, matrix biology and bone and mineral metabolism for ~50 years. During his illustrious career, his service and devotion to the ASBMR contributed greatly to its emergence as the premier society in the field of bone and mineral research. He was a founding member of the ASBMR and its fourth President. As an investigator, mentor and clinician, he was the prime example of the physician-scientist. It seems fitting for the ASBMR to establish an Esteemed Award to honor his innumerable contributions to the field and to ASBMR and to create a durable legacy for the future generations of scientists and clinicians working in the field. The first Stephen M.D. Krane Esteemed Award will be presented in 2016.

    More Opportunities for Members to Serve on ASBMR Committees
    This month the Council approved increasing the size of many of the ASBMR committees to provide additional opportunities for the large number of ASBMR members who wish to serve in volunteer leadership roles. This will add a total of 20 additional volunteer opportunities for ASBMR members, bringing the total number of committee service positions to 84.

    Planning for the ASBMR 2015 Annual Meeting
    We received 1,410 abstracts, a 5% decrease from 2014. While the number of abstracts is slightly down, we are confident in the quality of the scientific program. The Program Committee, comprised of Fanxin Long, Michael McClung and Natalie Sims, has worked tirelessly to develop an outstanding scientific program for the 2015 Annual Meeting. Some highlights of the program include:

    • Gerald D. Aurbach Lecture - Bone, Fat and Energy Regulation, Bruce Spiegelman, Ph.D., Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School (USA)
    • Louis V. Avioli Lecture - Hypophosphatasia: The Journey to Treatment, Michael Whyte, M.D., Washington University in St. Louis (USA)
    • ASBMR/ECTS Clinical Debate – The Diagnosis of Osteoporosis Should Be Changed to Include Patients at High Fracture Risk Rather Than Being Based on a T-score
    • Understanding NIH Career Development K Awards: Opportunities and Challenges
    • Special Co-sponsored Session with IFMRS on Small Ways to Utilize Big Data in Your Research
    • Clinical Evening – Controversial Issues in Osteoporosis
    • Pre-Clinical Science Evening – Bone Cells: From Genetic Manipulation to the Epigenome

    ASBMR Symposium – Crosstalk Between Kidney and Bone: Bench to Bedside
    As in past years, ASBMR will be hosting a pre-meeting symposium prior to the Annual Meeting.  This one-day symposium, organized through enormous efforts and creative thinking by the co-chairs Beate Lanske, Orson Moe and Keith Hruska, will present the latest research on kidney-bone interactions, provide a venue for investigators to interact across traditional barriers, provide new opportunities for young investigators to collaborate with peers and established leaders, and promote a new level of maturity for this rapidly expanding interdisciplinary field.

    Outreach to International Bone Scientists
    ASBMR has had a productive year thus far in our efforts to build relationships with bone scientists across the globe.  Earlier this year, the Executive Committee voted to offer discounted membership to bone scientists in Brazil, China and Argentina. We have worked to spread the word about this opportunity and to build ASBMR’s presence in these countries with the following activities.

    Roberto Civitelli, John Bilezikian and Ann Elderkin participated in the 6th Brazilian Congress on Densitometry, Bone Metabolism and Osteoporosis (VI BRADOO), which took place in Curitiba, Brazil in April 2015. ASBMR sponsored an “Annual Meeting Highlights” symposium and a pre-meeting program based on the ASBMR Primer on the Metabolic Bone Diseases and Disorders of Mineral Metabolism, and had a booth in the exhibit hall to promote ASBMR membership.  Our Brazilian colleagues were very welcoming and thrilled to have ASBMR in attendance.  To date there are 16 new Brazilian members. Photos from this trip are available on the ASBMR website. 

    ASBMR again collaborated with the International Chinese Musculoskeletal Research Society (ICMRS) to plan a second joint conference in Changsha, China in April, following up on the successful first conference that was held in 2013. ASBMR speakers Roberto Civitelli, Eileen Shore and Teresita Bellido traveled to China to present at the meeting and to visit ICMRS Collaborating Centers for scientific exchange and potential research collaborations.  To date there are 8 new Chinese members. Photos from this meeting are also available on the ASBMR website.

    In addition, Teresita Bellido will again be traveling to Argentina in September and October to present an “ASBMR Annual Meeting Highlights” session at the Argentinean Society of Osteoporosis (SAO) and Asociación Argentina de Osteología y Metabolismo Mineral (AAOMM) meetings.  This will be another great opportunity to spread the word about ASBMR and to get scientists from Argentina to join ASBMR through our discounted membership program.  

    The work of the International Federation of Musculoskeletal Research Societies (IFMRS) continues, with Lynda Bonewald serving as the ASBMR representative and co-chair of the Federation.  Currently, the Federation has two active work groups. The Work Group on Scientific Exchanges is led by Bente Langdahl, ECTS past president, and is exploring the feasibility, including funding mechanisms, of establishing international scientific exchange programs. The Work Group on Big Data is led by Lynda Bonewald, with the support of ASBMR staff. This Work Group has developed a comprehensive list of big data resources, which is available on the IFMRS website.  Several IFMRS Task Forces will be working over the summer to develop specific proposals to build a stronger and more active international Federation of societies to benefit the field.  More details will be made available as this process moves forward.   

    ASBMR Collaborations with Other Groups
    ASBMR continues to seek opportunities to collaborate with other organizations.  These initiatives include:

    • The ECTS-ASBMR Clinical Debate, This house believes that the study of mouse physiology usually translates into new insights into human physiology, was held during the ECTS meeting in The Netherlands in April. Representing ASBMR for the motion was Mone Zaidi from New York City, New York, USA and representing ECTS against the motion was Emily Sena from Edinburgh, UK.
    • ASBMR provided $2,500 in funding for the Network of Minority Health Research Investigators Annual Meeting, and covered travel expenses for Roberto Fajardo to speak on Diabetes and Bone and to promote ASBMR.
    • ASBMR will provide $5,000 in funding for the USBJI Young Investigator Initiative.
    • ASBMR provided recommendations for appointments to Bone, Reproductive and Urologic Drugs Advisory Committee of the FDA.
    • ASBMR provided $2,500 in funding for a session and reception at the NOF meeting in May commemorating the 5 year anniversary of the National Bone Health Alliance, which ASBMR co-founded and serves as co-chairs.
    • ASBMR is providing $5,000 in YI travel funding to the 7th International Conference on Children’s Bone Health being held June 27-30 in Salzburg, Austria.
    • ASBMR is providing YI travel grant support in the amount of $3,000 for two ASBMR in-training members to attend this year’s third joint meeting of the Bone Research Society and the British Society for Matrix Biology being held September 1-3, 2015 in Edinburgh, UK. 

    ASBMR Task Forces on Clinical Issues
    The Society’s task forces continue to work toward providing clarity on clinical issues related to bone that will better inform health care providers in the diagnosis and treatment of bone disease. These include:

    • Task Force on Managing Osteoporosis Patients after Long Term Bisphosphonate Use – Co-chairs Robert Adler, M.D., and Ghada El-Hajj Fuleihan, M.D.
    • Task Force on Long-Term Safety and Efficacy of Vertebral Augmentation– Co-chairs Peter Ebeling, M.D., FRCP, and Mary Bouxsein, Ph.D.
    • Task Force on Cell-Based Therapies – A joint effort with the Orthopaedic Research Society (ORS), co-chaired by Regis O’Keefe, M.D., Ph.D. and Rocky Tuan, Ph.D.

    The Task Force on Managing Osteoporosis Patients after Long-term Bisphosphonate Use manuscript has been submitted to JBMR ® and is currently being revised for publication. The Task Forces on Cell-Based Therapy and Long-Term Safety and Efficacy of Vertebral Augmentation will be presenting preliminary recommendations at the ASBMR 2015 Annual Meeting. Task Forces are time-intensive endeavors and I would like to thank the chairs and members of these task forces for their contributions toward these important initiatives.

    I want to thank the Council, Committee Chairs and staff for their tireless efforts on behalf of the society.

    Thank you for entrusting me to be your President.


    Roland Baron, D.D.S., Ph.D.