Presented by Paul W. Ladenson, MD
American Thyroid Association
Omni Shoreham Hotel
September 12, 2001
The Association has taken major steps this year to become more effective in fulfilling our mission and meeting the challenges of our strategic plan. This summer, our new Executive Director has established our office in the Washington suburb of Falls Church, Virginia. In addition to our part-time public affairs and development staff, we have hired two part-time permanent staff at the headquarters’ office to carry on the ATA’s initiatives and member services.
Preparations for the annual meeting have been time-consuming, particularly with the challenge of much more stringent CME requirements newly imposed by our traditional certifying office at Albert Einstein University. Endocrine Society personnel under Bobbi Smith’s supervision are providing selected meeting services. While we anticipate these will represent an additional expense of $40,000-50,000, the meeting budget can comfortably cover these costs. In addition to support during this year’s transition, the ATA has gained expertise critical to planning future meetings. However, we do not currently envision a long-term role for the Endocrine Society.
With today’s strategic planning follow-up and extended committee meetings, the ATA will take the first step to strengthen our committees, whose follow-through is essential if we are to meet our goals. Carole Spencer has made thoughtful appointments to the committees and wisely selected a slate of effective chairpersons. The role of Council liaisons to committees is a more central part of this Council Meeting agenda. Our higher expectations and enhanced staff support for committees must be continued in the coming year.
The new ATA website went online this week and will be further refined this fall. A new feature permits identification of clinical thyroidologists by geographic region. Procedures are being established to ensure that the website remains updated and increasingly useful.
Our publications are doing well. The second issue of CLINICAL THYROIDOLOGY has been published. The fall issue of the SIGNAL will come out following the annual meeting. We await word from Abbott Laboratories regarding the acquisition of THYROID TODAY. Members seem pleased and stimulated by THYROID, under Editor Terry Davies’ leadership.
Despite partial diversion of Public Affairs Director Edie Stern’s efforts during the administrative transition, the Association has done an excellent job of participating in the lively public event surrounding FDA approval of thyroxine products. In my view, the Association has taken responsible positions in the interests of thyroid patients and physicians without “taking sides” commercially.
Under Paul Davis’ and Eli Dow’s leadership, and with Linda Safran’s staff support, the Campaign for Thyroid Discovery is now ready to pick up the pace with fulfillment of its plans.
Several developments in recent years should ensure that ATA has a broader and balanced base of stable leadership: 1. Involvement of the President through three years of service—President-elect, office, and post-presidency—which permits fulfillment of 1-2 special initiatives; 2. Enhancement of our administrative leadership and support; and 3. Strengthening of our committees and their linkage to Council. As a further step to manage and balance the Association’s leadership responsibilities, I recommend that the ATA Council and the Bylaws Committee take the additional step of proposing a bylaw change at the current Annual Meeting to reduce the term of the Secretary and Treasurer from five to three years. This step would permit action on this change next year at the 2002 Annual Meeting—the time when the process would begin of selecting successors for David Cooper and me in 2003.
It remains an honor and a pleasure to serve the American Thyroid Association, particularly during a period of growing impact and effectiveness.
Paul W. Ladenson, M.D.