Letter from ASBMR President Teresita Bellido, Ph.D.
September 10, 2020
I am writing to you today for the last time, as ASBMR President. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as your President during this difficult year. As the ninth woman president of ASBMR and the first from Latin America, I would like to recognize the eight women who served in this role before me, starting from Paula Stern, one of the founders of our Society, continuing with Jane Aubin, Sylvia Christakos, Elizabeth Shane, Barbara Kream, Jane Lian, Lynda Bonewald and Jane Cauley. I am standing on your shoulders, ladies. Thank you!
I am also proud that at the end of the 2020 Annual Meeting, I will be passing the baton to another woman, Suzanne Jan de Beur, the tenth woman president out of 41 total. This is a testimony of how far our Society has come to recognize women.
My year as president has been extraordinary to say the least. Although many things have not gone as we had initially planned, I am proud of our ability as an organization to adapt and overcome the many obstacles thrown our way. Together, our volunteer leaders, staff, and members have persevered to continue to advance the field and expand the value of ASBMR membership, all while learning how to navigate in a new virtual world.
I would like to take the opportunity to thank all whose efforts have allowed ASBMR to remain true to our mission, continued to advance our Strategic Plan and most importantly, brought us together to support one another during these extraordinary times.
ASBMR has maintained support to its numerous award and grant opportunities and will be launching a new award program later this year. The ASBMR FIRST (First Independent Research Support & Transition) Award program will ease the transition between training and the establishment of independent careers by providing up to three years of funding support. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for more information about this exciting new program. ASBMR continue to be here for its members!
As the Annual Meeting Virtual Event kicks off tomorrow, I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our 2020 Annual Meeting Program Chair, Lorenz Hofbauer, M.D., and the Program Co-Chairs, Tamara N. Alliston, Ph.D., Stavroula Kousteni, Ph.D., and Nicola Napoli, M.D., Ph.D. Each of them have worked tirelessly to ensure that the 2020 Annual Meeting Virtual event is the same high caliber event our members have grown accustom to year after year.
Our Annual Meeting stands as a pillar of our Society, but this year, expanding our education programming was not just a priority, but also a necessity. When the world seemingly came to a halt after COVID-19 hit, offering online content became one way that ASBMR could support its members so we adapted to their needs. The quality and quantity of online educational content increased as numerous new webinars were provided and bi-weekly research interest calls and clinical case workshops were implemented. We also started regular virtual networking opportunities to keep members engaged. Since we were all spending more time online, we refreshed the ASBMR website and grew our social media outreach and influence (Follow us! @ASBMR on Twitter and Facebook and @asbmr_official on Instagram). We also reconstituted the Education Advisory Committee to oversee the continued expansion of education content separate from the ASBMR Annual Meeting.
COVID-19 also presented a unique need to support healthcare professionals treating osteoporosis patients during a global pandemic. On top of the initiatives already in place aimed at closing the treatment gap in osteoporosis, ASBMR played a lead role in providing health professionals with relevant information through two guidance documents—one on osteoporosis management and another on Vitamin D.
In June, I noted in my President’s Letter that the Society has an obligation to listen to each other and lift our collective voice against social injustice and racism. One initial step that was formalized this summer was to make the Diversity Subcommittee a full standing committee. The new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee hit the ground running in terms of engaging the membership on these important issues.
The Society held two member listening sessions in June to discuss systemic racism, adopted a Diversity and Inclusion statement of principles, and will be creating a Member Code of Conduct to guide future policies and procedures. Leadership is also working to incorporate DEI goals into the current ASBMR Strategic Plan. We will also be hosting a collaborative session at this week’s Virtual Event. “Charting our Course for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: A Call to Action for ASBMR Members” will give members an opportunity to tell us what we can do for them as a Society. Later this fall, we will also be holding a “Pulse Check” webinar to evaluate the Society’s current state of diversity, equity, and inclusion, and are currently exploring offering unconscious bias training sessions for ASBMR volunteer leaders.
ASBMR has been my scientific home for 30 years and I am overwhelmingly grateful for having the opportunity to serve as your President. Over the course of the year I’ve learned and grown professional and personally, and I will cherish the memories and lessons from this year for a lifetime.
The ASBMR Presidency it is about commitment to those who elected you, advocating on behalf of our members, and pushing forward our strategic priorities—even in the most adverse situations. 2020 certainly created many obstacles, but I hope you all are proud of the many accomplishments we achieved over the past year as they would not have been possible without every single member.
I look forward to watching ASBMR’s success continue.