Thank You Message from ASBMR Past President
Suzanne Jan de Beur, M.D.
Dear Colleagues –
A heartfelt thank you to everyone who participated in the 2021 ASBMR Annual Meeting. For the nearly 800 attendees that attended in-person in San Diego it was so nice to see so many friends and come together as a community underneath the California sunshine. To our 1,500 virtual attendees, though your physical presence was missed, we are grateful to have shared the Annual Meeting experience with you. I am looking forward to 2022 when I hope we can ALL come together in-person!
Remember, all attendees have access to the recordings of most presentations on the virtual platform through November 4. The recordings will be transferred to the ASBMR Education Resource Center and available to all current members in January 2022.
As my term as ASBMR President ends, I want to highlight how we as a Society met the challenges of the global pandemic and used its disruptive force to innovate and thrive. It has been the privilege of my life to lead the Society and work alongside ASBMR’s dedicated and diligent volunteer leaders. Officers — Teresita Bellido, Peter Ebeling and Hans van Leeuwen. Councilors — Juliet Compston, Carolyn Crandall, Paola Divieti Pajevic, Emma Duncan, Kris Ensrud, Roberta Faccio, Kurt Hankenson, Chris Hernandez, Marja Hurley, Nina Ma and Roberto Civitelli.
The commitment of the hundreds of member volunteers serving on committees, editorial boards, review groups, task forces and countless other roles is the engine that enables the Society to realize its mission and goals. Thank you for enriching our community!
A special thanks to ASBMR Executive Director, Doug Fesler and the hard working, devoted ASBMR staff for their extraordinary work over the past year. You are true partners and are integral in moving our priorities forward.
ASBMR leadership’s decisions have been guided by the sole purpose of being there for our members when they need us the most. Most notably, we committed last spring to holding a hybrid meeting so that the community could come together in-person AND ensure that every member could present their research regardless of their physical location.
Leadership invested significant resources to position the Society for the future recognizing the look and offerings of our Annual Meeting may evolve in the post-pandemic era. Specifically, the Innovation Committee led by Michael Mannstadt identified innovations for both the in-person and virtual attendee experience that were piloted this year. This included the reconfiguration of in-person meeting space to make the experience more intimate, expanding intentional networking opportunities, reinventing the oral poster format and making financial investments to upgrade technology to improve the user experience and integrate our virtual platforms.
With member needs in mind, this year the Society expanded its Annual Meeting travel grants program to provide at least $500 for ALL early stage investigator members that presented an abstract in-person in San Diego, and to Mid-Career members that presented their oral presentations in-person.
Harnessing the shift to virtual education to engage our members beyond the Annual Meeting, we expanded our year-round educational offerings in 2021 including: monthly webinars covering basic, translational and clinical topics, continuation of the Early Stage Investigator Clinical Case Workshop Series, the Member Spotlight Series highlighting the science of under-represented minorities, career development webinars and virtual Meet-the-Professor Sessions. Earlier this month we launched a new podcast series “ASBMR Speaks” about bench to bedside breakthroughs in bone, mineral, and musculoskeletal research and the pivotal role of ASBMR members in these discoveries. I encourage you to listen! I want to acknowledge the efforts of the committees and subcommittees that provided the inspiration, ideas and implementation of these outstanding programs. The Education Committee led by Jesus Delgado-Calle and Anne Schafer, the Membership Engagement Committee led by Anne Gingery and Jonathan Lowery, the Early Stage Investigator Subcommittee led by Rachelle Johnson and Megan Weivoda, the Diversity Equity and Inclusion Committee led by Rhonda Prisby and the Women in Bone and Mineral Research Committee led by Michaela Reagan.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives are a high priority for the Society and we made significant progress this year. Council adopted the Diversity and Inclusion Statement of Principles and a Member Code of Conduct late last year and early in 2021, respectively. We created the new Under Represented Minority (URM) Mentorship Award Program, incorporated DEI goals into the Society’s 2021 Strategic Work Plans and implemented a process to increase the diversity of presenters for our educational programming, including Annual Meeting speakers and moderators, as well as member volunteers and award recipients. The DEI Committee also held a “Pulse Check” webinar with members in February 2021to get their feedback on the progress of the Society’s DEI initiatives. In response to national events, we held member listening session on the violence sustained against the Asian and Asian-American communities. I want to recognize and thank the DEI Committee led by Rhonda Prisby for their extraordinary efforts and commitment.
As recent conversations over race-based corrections to clinical algorithms have raised questions about the scientific data clinicians rely on to treat their patients across a variety of medical fields, the ASBMR formed a task force to examine the inclusion of race and/or ethnicity in the diagnosis and subsequent management of individual bone fracture risk. The ASBMR Task Force on Clinical Algorithms for Fracture Risk is charged with reviewing the latest evidence to determine if current approaches on differentiating fracture risk based on race and/or ethnicity are valid. The task force will complete its work in 2022.
The ASBMR Secondary Fracture Prevention Initiative, a global Coalition lead by ASBMR and dedicated to reducing the number of avoidable second fractures in individuals with osteoporosis, has identified as its top priority realizing Medicare coverage for Fracture Liaison Services (FLS) in the United States. To this end, the Society collaborated with the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) this year to engage a third-party consultant to draft a white paper that was submitted to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) last month. In a meeting with CMS a few weeks ago, they expressed strong interest in the proposal and we will continue to work with CMS over the coming months with the goal of realizing this important objective.
There was also major progress with the ASBMR-funded project: FNIH-ASBMR Strategy to Advance BMD as a Regulatory Endpoint (SABRE). The SABRE project aims to obtain U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) qualification of Bone Mineral Density (BMD) as a surrogate endpoint for fractures in clinical trials of new osteoporosis drugs. The Qualification Plan was submitted to FDA in August. A response from FDA in expected in 2022.
Another example of the Society leading during the pandemic was the guidance document on COVID-19 Vaccination and Osteoporosis Management. The American Association of Clinical Endocrinology (AAC), The Endocrine Society, the European Calcified Tissue Society (ECTS), NOF and International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) all signed on to the joint guidance. In addition, the Society presented a webinar in March on the topic and a perspective article appeared in the June issue of JBMR®. My thanks to the Professional Practice Committee led by Matthew Drake for recognizing the need for this guidance and building a broad-based coalition.
In April, US-based members and patient advocates participated in the Society’s first ever Virtual Capitol Hill Day to advocate for continued investment in biomedical research. Sixty-nine advocates representing 25 states and 52 congressional districts participated in 100 virtual meetings. Thank you to the Advocacy and Science Policy Committee led by Patricia Ducy for so successfully organizing this important event in a virtual format.
The Journal of Bone and Mineral Research (JBMR®) and JBMR® Plus remain top-rated journals in the field. This year, the JBMR® impact factor increased to 6.741 with over a million full text downloads in the first half of 2021 alone. JBMR® Plus posted stronger year-over-year submission growth, published two special issues (Vitamin D and Early Career Researchers) and installed a new Editor-in-Chief, Deborah Veis to replace Peter Ebeling who assumed the presidency earlier this month. My thanks to the Editors-in-Chief and Editorial Boards for both publications as well as the Publications Committee led by Sarah Dallas for all of their efforts that contributed to these successes.
The pandemic has only increased the need for members to identify alternative sources of research funding which is what the ASBMR Fund for Research and Education (the “Fund) was created to provide. This year in an effort to increase awareness of the “Fund” and grow donations, we launched two new fundraising programs – a virtual fun run/walk/roll that occurred in May in conjunction with Osteoporosis Awareness Month and an online Pop-Up Store where members can purchase ASBMR-branded products. My thanks to the Development Committee, led by Melissa Kacena for developing and implementing these new programs that so directly benefit our members.
I am gratified by all that we have accomplished together in this extraordinary year! Thank you to each member for the ways you enrich and support the Society with your participation, time and talents. Thank you for entrusting me with the leadership of our ASBMR Global Family. It has been the privilege of a lifetime.
Suzanne Jan de Beur, M.D.