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  • Thank You Message from ASBMR President Peter Ebeling, AO, FRACP, MBBS, MD – October 13, 2022

    Dear Colleagues:
     
    Thank you to everyone who attended the ASBMR Annual Meeting last month in Austin, Texas, USA! It was fantastic to see so many of you in numbers not experienced since 2019. Over 2,100 of us gathered in-person for five days of excellent science and networking, with another 400 opting for the post-meeting online experience.
     
    For in-person attendees and those who purchased the Annual Meeting online experience – the recordings of most sessions are now available to you via the ASBMR website. If you would like to purchase the post-meeting online experience, please contact asbmr@asbmr.org.
     
    As my term as ASBMR President ends, I want to first take the opportunity to thank the Society’s dedicated and diligent volunteer leaders. Officers — Suzanne Jan de Beur, Mary Bouxsein, Hans van Leeuwen and René St-Arnaud. Councilors — Carolyn Crandall, Paola Divieti Pajevic, Emma Duncan, Chris Hernandez, Marja Hurley, Melissa Kacena, Nina Ma, Nicola Napoli, Megan Weivoda, Roberto Civitelli and Deb Veis.
     
    I would also like to extend my gratitude to the hundreds of member volunteers serving on committees, editorial boards, review groups, task forces and in countless other roles. Your engagement in the Society makes us the community that we are today and helps us achieve the goals we have set for ourselves.
     
    Thank you also to the entire ASBMR staff team for all their efforts to help us achieve our mission and strategic priorities. You are true partners and integral to the success of our Society. It has been a pleasure to get to know each one of you over the last year. In particular, I would like to thank our tireless Executive Director, Mr. Doug Fesler, for his energy, hard work and commitment to ASBMR.
     
    I would like to utilize my last letter to you to highlight the Society’s numerous activities and achievements over the past year through the lens of the Society’s four key priorities contained in our Strategic Plan

    1. Close the Treatment Gap in Osteoporosis

    A Society priority for the past few years has been to realize Medicare coverage for Fracture Liaison Services (FLS) in the United States. The Society has worked in close partnership with the Bone Health and Osteoporosis Foundation (BHOF) to engage the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the U.S. federal agency that administers the Medicare program, to pursue reimbursement for appropriate post-fracture care for fragility fractures through the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS).
     
    While the MPFS rules proposed in July 2022 did not include an FLS reimbursement mechanism, CMS did acknowledge that osteoporosis is a public health issue requiring attention for the first time and added DXA/screening measure in two places along with a “communication of fracture” measure for orthopedic surgeons. The Society continues to have conversations with CMS to realize this important goal, and we will engage ASBMR membership in an advocacy initiative to request CMS make FLS reimbursement a priority.
     
    We also continue to financially support the FNIH-ASBMR Strategy to Advance BMD as a Regulatory Endpoint (SABRE) Project that 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 projects qualification plan (QP) was approved by FDA in April 2022—the first to be accepted by the FDA for a surrogate endpoint under the 21st Century Cures Act. The full qualification plan is expected to be submitted to FDA at the end of 2022.
     
    The ASBMR Task Force on Clinical Algorithms for Fracture Risk, charged with reviewing the latest evidence to determine if current approaches on differentiating fracture risk based on race and/or ethnicity are valid, presented its preliminary recommendations in Austin last month. My thanks to Co-Chairs Sherri-Ann Burnett-Bowie, M.D. and Jane Cauley, DrPH as well as the entire task force for tackling this important issue. Their full recommendations will be published in JBMR® in early 2023.
     
    The Society also provided its expertise on two important documents this year. The updated guidelines on hypoparathyroidism and primary hyperparathyroidism that will be published in JBMR® as well as a global guidance document on tumor-induced osteomalacia (TIO). My thanks to the Professional Practice Committee led by Dr. Matthew Drake for its work in these activities. 

    2. Lead the Research Agenda in Musculoskeletal Science

    We implemented several innovations to this year’s Annual Meeting, including plenary sessions at the start and end of each day followed by networking receptions; a dedicated oral poster theater in the Discovery Hall; and investments in technology to optimize the attendee experience—on-demand recordings, optimization of mobile app, and synchronous oral poster sessions. My thanks to the Innovation Committee and its chair, Dr. Michael Mannstadt, for their thoughtful consideration of these enhancements.
     
    On the publications front, we laid the foundation for several critical innovations. The Society has entered into an agreement with a new publisher to evolve the ASBMR Primer on the Metabolic Bone Diseases and Disorders of Mineral Metabolism into a dynamic product that will be continuously updated and spur ancillary digital products. JBMR® Plus continues to grow in manuscript submissions and outreach under its second Editor-in-Chief, Deborah Veis. In addition, the Society’s flagship journal — JBMR® — remains the premier journal in the field. Special thanks to outgoing JBMR® Editor-in-Chief, Roberto Civitelli, for maintaining the journal’s reputation and growing its influence during his 5-year term that ends in December. I would also like to acknowledge the work of the Publications Committee, ably led by Dr. Sarah Dallas, for realizing these publication-related achievements.
     
    The Society has invested a great deal of resources to expand our year-round educational offerings since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. This year we revamped the Society’s Education Resource Center, expanded our monthly webinar series and pilot launched a virtual Teaching/Learning community for members. We also partnered with two premier podcast producers—COR2ED and Figure1 to produce a three-episode 2022 Annual Meeting Highlights Podcast Series and a six-episode Rare Bone Disease Podcast Series, respectively. My thanks to the Education Advisory Committee co-chaired by Drs. Jesus Delgado-Calle and Anne Schafer, as well as the Membership Engagement Committee, co-chaired by Drs. Anne Gingery and Jonathan Lowery, for leading these important initiatives.
    We continue to see increased member engagement in our direct advocacy efforts including last May’s virtual capitol hill day, which urged elected representatives to increase federal funding to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) by $5.1 billion for FY2023 and to support legislation that would increase the Medicare reimbursement rate for office-based dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA). Fifty-seven advocates representing 25 states and 51 congressional districts participated in 96 virtual meetings this year. Thanks to the Advocacy & Science Policy Committee chaired by Dr. Patricia Ducy for her leadership and the passion she brings to advocating for research.
     
    3. “One Global ASBMR Family” — Increase Membership Outreach, Engagement, and Benefits 

    ASBMR is committed to placing a deliberate focus on issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). We continued our Member Spotlight series on research by members belonging to groups underrepresented in biomedical research and made a commitment to increase Asian representation in Society leadership and esteemed awards nominations that we were able to realize in 2022. Our Under-Represented Minority (URM) Mentorship Awards Program that premiered in 2021 realized a four-fold increase in applications compared with 2021.
     
    We also collaborated with the NIH to offer a webinar on Diversity Supplements for Grants, held an LBGTQIA+ Listening Session, and submitted an NIDDK R25 grant application to support association initiatives that enhance scientific workforce diversity and promote scientific leadership. 
     
    This fall we also opened applications for the URM Scientist Proposal Support Program that will provide grant-consulting services to mid- and late-career members from URM backgrounds, to help them secure the funding necessary to continue their research. My thanks to the DEI Committee chaired by Dr. Rhonda Prisby for their dedication to this important priority and the impressive number of accomplishments.
     
    Engagement of early-stage investigators (ESIs) has been a priority for the Society since its inception and in 2022 we only built upon this pillar. The Society launched a student cohort program in 2021, which provides membership benefits in exchange for participation in regular professional development/ networking activities and providing feedback on experience with Society programs. This year, the program has 102 participants, a 20% increase over last year. My thanks to the Early-Stage Investigator Subcommittee co-chaired by Drs. Rachelle Johnson and Sabashini Ramchand for their leadership in implanting these programs.
     
    The Women in Bone and Mineral Research Committee held a Women’s History Month webinar on mentorship in the spring in which several female members shared their experience and provided career development tips. They actively recruited nominations for esteemed awards, volunteer leadership positions and the Phoebe Leboy Professional Development Award program, which received three times more applicants than 2021. This month the Society opened applications for the Career-Life Balance Initiative, a program conceived by the Women in Bone and Mineral Research Committee. The initiative provides supplemental funding to support continuity in a female member’s research during childbirth and maternity‐related events. 
     
    My thanks to the Women in Bone and Mineral Research Committee co-chaired by Drs. Michelle McDonald and Lillian Plotkin.
     
    4. Develop New Revenue Streams to Continue to Invest in the Future of the Field

    The ASBMR Fund for Research and Education provides research grants and training opportunities for basic and clinical researchers as well as allied health professionals. The programs are supported solely through individual donations. This year we piloted new engagement initiatives to grow donations and awareness of the “Fund” including the Scavenger Hunt during the Annual Meeting. My thanks to the Development Committee chaired by Andrea Alford for their efforts in growing the Fund for Research and Education.
     
    Finally, it has been a privilege to lead the Society this past year as the first non-North American based ASBMR President. I am so proud of our accomplishments and the positive direction in which the Society is moving to address the rapidly changing world and evolving needs of our membership.
     
    Sincerely,
    Peter R. Ebeling
    Immediate Past-President, ASBMR

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