Letter from ASBMR President Teresita Bellido, Ph.D. - March 2020
Last week, ASBMR Officers, Councilors, and Committee Chairs gathered outside Washington, D.C., USA for the Society’s 2020 Winter Council Meeting. This month, I want to highlight two initiatives related to the Society’s education offerings and professional development awards programs that were discussed at that meeting.
In 2019, an Education Work Group was established and charged with conducting a needs assessment of Society educational content separate from the Annual Meeting. At the Winter Council Meeting, the Education Work Group presented its recommendations, which includes expansion of Society education offerings, piloting of new education formats to appeal to the broad interests of a diverse membership, and an organizational refresh of the ASBMR online Educations Resource Center. The ASBMR Council approved the work group’s recommendation, which also included the creation of a new Education Committee to spearhead the carrying out of these recommendations. I want to thank the work group for its excellent work on behalf of the Society—Jesus Delgado-Calle (co-chair), Dolores Shoback (co-chair), Patricia Juarez-Camacho, Meghan McGee-Lawrence, Martina Rauner, Yumie Rhee and Maria Belen Zanchetta.
The Professional Development Awards Workgroup also presented its recommendations to Council last week. This work group was established to evaluate the effectiveness of existing ASBMR professional development award programs over the past five years and provide recommendations on future grant and award initiatives that would have the greatest impact for our members. The work group recommends that Society membership be required for all of our award programs, and that clear definitions be established for early and mid-career investigators to ensure consistency and clarity in eligibility criteria across all of the Society’s award programs. The work group also recommends that the Society perform regular audits on recipients in order to track the career development and capability of awardees to receive additional funding and advance their careers. My thanks go out to work group members Juliet Compston (chair), Andrew Arnold, Mary Bouxsein, Peter Ebeling, Larry Suva and Nicole Wright.
Related to professional development awards – last week Council approved funding for a new award program. ASBMR FIRST (First Independent Research Support & Transition Awards) aims to ease the transition between training and the establishment of an independent career in the field by providing partial salary or other support to eligible recipients for 2-3 years. The Society is committing $240k to this program in 2020. The anticipated launch of this program is this summer and I hope to share more details about it in the coming months.
While volunteer leaders were in Washington, DC, USA last week, we also participated in the Society’s annual Capitol Hill Day. This year members of the Advocacy and Science Policy Committee, as well as four individuals with bone diseases joined us. ASBMR brought to elected representatives in Capitol Hill two specific asks: support of a $3 billion increase to the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) budget for FY21 and support bills H.R. 2693/S. 283 to increase the Medicare reimbursement rate for office-based dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA). A total of 33 advocates visited 37 congressional offices representing 17 states and 11 congressional districts. My thanks to all of our advocates that participated in this year’s ASBMR Hill Day!
Finally, the nominating committee is currently accepting applications for volunteer leadership positions. I encourage each member to nominate a colleague or to self-nominate for an opportunity to actively contribute to moving ASBMR’s strategic goals forward. Volunteering has numerous benefits, including the ability to develop crucial leadership skills and making meaningful career connections with colleagues. Several improvements have been made to the nominations process in order to create more transparency and rigor around the volunteer leadership selection process. I encourage you to visit the volunteer leadership nominations page on the ASBMR website for more information, which includes the webinar: Navigate the ASBMR 2020 Volunteer Leadership Application Selection Process. The deadline for applications is Wednesday, March 11.
Thank you all for your efforts to support the ASBMR mission to advance bone, mineral and musculoskeletal science worldwide.
Teresita Bellido, Ph.D.