• Message from ASBMR President Suzanne Jan De Beur, M.D.
    March 11, 2021


    Dear Colleagues:
     
    Last month, the ASBMR Council and all of the chairs of the standing committees had the opportunity to gather (virtually) for the 2021 Winter Council Meeting. It was impressive to hear about all the exciting activities being led by the committees to advance the Society’s mission and current strategic priorities.
     
    Our volunteer leaders play an active role in advancing the Society and driving our strategic goals forward, and if you have ever wanted to get involved—now is the time. The Nominating Committee is currently accepting applications for volunteer leadership positions including for President-elect, Secretary-Treasurer elect, three Council positions and most standing Committees. We are looking for volunteers from all career levels, scientific research areas, and cultural backgrounds and 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. I, myself, began as a member of the Membership Engagement Committee, followed by becoming Chair of the Committee, then Chair of the Professional Practice Committee, eventually being nominated for Council and then President-elect, now serving as President. Not only was it extremely gratifying to serve the Society working to forward our collective mission but leading helped me grow personally and professionally and expand my networks.   
     
    To this point, I’d like to highlight some of the important work of some of the ASBMR standing committees in 2021.
     
    The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee is playing an important role to realize the Society’s commitment to place a deliberate focus on issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion. To address the DEI initiatives that were incorporated into our current strategic plan, the committee hosted a member Pulse Check Webinar on February 18 to address the state of the Society in terms of diversity, equity and inclusion. This webinar reviewed both the Society’s current and future planned DEI initiatives, one of which I’d like to specifically highlight here: the new Underrepresented Minority Mentorship Award. This program is aimed at increasing representation and participation at the Annual Meeting from individuals identifying as underrepresented minorities (URMs). Ten individuals will receive $1,000 USD in funding to help offset costs associated with traveling to the ASBMR Annual Meeting and receive one-on-one mentorship from an ASBMR member. Applications are currently open, and further information about this award is available on the ASBMR website.
     
    The Advocacy in Science Policy Committee has been working hard to plan and implement the Society‘s first ever Virtual Capitol Hill Day occurring April 13-14. The US Congress will soon start the process of putting together the fiscal year 2022 federal budget. ASBMR urgently needs members from across the country to meet with their elected representatives to remind them of the importance of federally funded biomedical research both to their local communities and beyond.  ASBMR will schedule appointments with each participating member’s elected representatives (at least one House representative and two senators). All meetings with Congressional offices will be held virtually via Zoom. Participants will be grouped by state and will receive their Hill Day schedules approximately one week prior to their appointments. Please visit the ASBMR website by Friday, March 12 to learn more and to sign-up. 
     
    The Education Advisory Committee (EAC) is leading the expansion of the Society’s year-round virtual content and programming. This includes coordinating with other committees to identify and program relevant educational content for our members and revamping of the ASBMR Education Resource Center (ERC) to optimize the available content. The Committee is also leading the production of a new Society podcast series that will launch soon.  
     
    The Membership Engagement Committee and Early Stage Investigator Subcommittee have been working hand-in-hand to enhance our current membership benefits and expand new member offerings. These Committees are helping evaluate the Society’s current membership model to determine how it may be modified to expand participation. These Committees are also committed to providing year-round professional development and networking offerings, including the continuation of the ESI Clinical Case Workshop Series. The MEC and ESI committees are piloting a cohort program designed for undergraduate, graduate, and medical professional students. This pilot provides participants complimentary ASBMR membership in exchange for their participation in monthly educational and networking activities, as well as providing feedback on their experiences with the program and other areas of ASBMR membership to elucidate how the Society may improve and expand its offerings. Nearly 80 students signed-up last month to participate in this program!
     
    The Development Committee aided in raising nearly $34k for the Fund for Research and Education in 2020 and the momentum behind these impressive numbers continues. The Development Committee along with the Early Stage Investigator Subcommittee has been hard at work planning an inaugural Virtual 5k Fun Run in celebration of National Osteoporosis Month this May. All members are encouraged to participate whether you run, walk, ride, or roll, as 100% of the money raised by the Fund is put directly toward funding opportunities for ASBMR young investigators. Registration for this exciting opportunity will open later this month!
     
    The Professional Practice Committee has the charge of bridging the gap between what we know about the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of bone diseases and what is being practiced in the clinical setting. The PPC has rapidly responded to the need for information concerning the impact of COVID-19 on the patients we treat. PPC-led efforts have produced three guidance documents that have been endorsed, adopted and disseminated by five of our sister societies. The PPC identified the need to examine the use of race and/or ethnicity in determining individual bone fracture risk and, in response, the Society constituted a Task Force on Clinical Algorithms for Fracture Risk. The task force is led by members Drs. Sherri-Ann Burnett-Bowie and Jane Cauley.
     
    The Publications Committee is working on several important initiatives. It has engaged member volunteers and created a working group on aged rodent models that will publish guidelines later this year. These guidelines will serve to standardize how mouse models are described in relation to skeletal aging and other bone research to be utilized by authors submitting manuscripts to JBMR® and JBMR® Plus. The Committee is also exploring opportunities to expand the reach of the Primer on the Metabolic Bone Diseases and Disorders of Mineral Metabolism in its next iteration. Finally, the Society is searching for the next Editor-in-Chief for JBMR® Plus and accepting applications through March 29. I appreciate your help in encouraging your colleagues to submit their applications for the position. To read the entire position description and apply, please visit the ASBMR website.
     
    The Ethics Advisory Committee has been actively working with the Membership Engagement Committee, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, and Women in Bone and Mineral Research Committee to draft a Member Code of Conduct. As stated in our strategic plan - We are “One Global ASBMR Family”, and we want to ensure that our ASBMR family is a safe and inclusive space for everyone across all cultures and backgrounds.
     
    The Women in Bone and Mineral Research Committee has planned a special session for later this month entitled “Charting Your Path: How to Navigate Barriers Women Face in Leadership" to commemorate Women’s History Month. The panel discussion will feature female ASBMR past presidents moderated by yours truly. Panelists will share their experiences and advice on how they navigated and overcame barriers in their professional careers. Don’t miss this virtual panel occurring on Tuesday, March 23 from 11:00AM – 12:00PM EDT by registering here. Also, the Phoebe Leboy Professional Development Award application process is currently open to female young investigators that reside outside the United States. The award provides funding for the selected individual to attend the ASBMR Annual Meeting, mentorship from senior women in related areas of research, and membership in ASBMR. Applications are open until next Friday, March 19.
     
    This is just a glimpse into the numerous initiatives that are being led and advanced by some of our standing committees. I thank the member volunteers of each of these committees for all their excellent work on behalf of the Society.
     
    I’d like to close this letter by emphasizing again how serving as a volunteer leader can be rewarding both professionally and personally. If you are still unsure if serving as a volunteer leader is for you, please take a moment to visit the Volunteer Leadership Nominations webpage to learn more about the nominations process, the open positions, the charges of each of our committees, and of course – to apply!
     
    Also, I encourage you to reach out to current committee chairs to learn more about the work of their committees. Current committee chairs can be found on the ASBMR website, and their contact information in the ASBMR member directory. Don’t forget, apply for any of our open leadership positions by March 19.

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