Bryan R. Haugen, MDPresented by Dr. Bryan R. Haugen
American Thyroid Association Annual Membership and Business Meeting
Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel
Thursday, October 17, 2013

This past year has gone by quickly, but it has been a pleasure and honor to serve our American Thyroid Association in this capacity.  I want to first thank you, all of my colleagues, for entrusting me to serve as President.  What a wonderful position to view all of the talent and dedication amongst our membership volunteers and staff.  The state of the ATA is truly strong and the future is bright.

I began this year with a review of the strategic plan, developed under the leadership and vision of Jim Fagin, who is finishing his tenure of leadership service this month.  As scientist, clinician, division leader and past president, Jim has been a valued mentor.  I have greatly benefited from his leadership and sage advice and thank him for his service.

The strategic plan set forth four areas of focus: Constituencies and Member Benefits, Publications and Guidelines, Meetings, and Communications and Technologies.  We used this guidance to focus on three areas of development: research, diversity and visibility which touch on each of the four areas in the strategic plan.

Our focus in research has been to strengthen our appeal to basic and translational scientists to retain and attract the best and brightest scientists in thyroid research and ATA membership.  We appointed a task force of scientists led by Sheue-yann Cheng, to review what the ATA could to do help accomplish this goal.  Through this effort we have developed membership and meeting discounts to attract scientists, strengthened research awards to attract excellent science and we have begun discussions on development of focused publications to highlight outstanding research in thyroidology.  We are also moving forward with personal invitations of ATA membership for scientists doing thyroid-related research who are not members of the ATA.  I thank Sheue-yann and her colleagues on the task force for these efforts to strengthen our appeal to and support of scientists within the ATA.  The ATA Spring Symposium “Treatment of Hypothyroidism: Exploring the Possibilities” was a tremendous success of bringing cutting edge research and top notch clinical care together in one high visibility symposium.  Many thanks to Jacquie Jonklaas, Ken Burman and Tony Bianco for organizing this outstanding meeting that continues the ATA leadership in this area.

The efforts on diversity come directly from the strategic plan noting “The ATA has a narrow focus (thyroid), but reaches across the continuum from basic research to clinical practice and surgery.”  Based on the growth and outstanding contributions from our surgical colleagues, we decided to reach out to other constituencies in order to broaden our membership and scope of thyroidology.  I had many discussions with our colleagues in Pediatric Endocrinology and was pleased that Andy Bauer agreed to head up a task force of Pediatric Thyroidologists to explore opportunities to strengthen our appeal to make the ATA a productive home for this important constituency, just as we have done with our surgeons.  Further broadening our diversity, the ATA is developing a new membership category to attract the growing number of allied health professionals with an interest in all things thyroid.

Under the focus on visibility, we have made great strides with new guidelines published over this past year on Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer, Hypothyroidism, Ethics in Thyroid Practice and Research, and Research on Thyroid Hormone Action and Economy.  I want to thank Bob Smallridge, Sara Rosenthal, Glenn Braunstein, Jeff Garber, Tony Bianco and all of the task force members for their tremendous efforts in bringing forward these outstanding guidelines.  Our guidelines are one of the most visible efforts of our association and we are looking forward to publication of revised guidelines on medullary thyroid cancer, nodules and differentiated thyroid cancer and new guidelines on pediatric thyroid cancer over the next year.  We are also exploring ways to publish digests of these guidelines through Clinical Thyroidology, Clinical Thyroidology for Patients and other venues as the guidelines are published.  Our flagship journal Thyroid has a new editor this year and Peter Kopp is doing an outstanding job.  The Chinese version of Thyroid, a translation of articles from Thyroid began over this past year which is a tremendous boost to our visibility around the world.  Arguably the biggest move made by the ATA this year was to partner with Mary Ann Liebert and develop a new journal VideoEndocrinology.  This novel journal will be packaged with Thyroid and Clinical Thyroidology to provide an unprecedented breadth and depth of thyroid-related publications for our members and the community.  What an amazing and exciting year!  I look forward to working closely with our incoming President, Hossein Gharib, to see many of this year’s initiatives to fruition and to work with him on his ideas and vision over the next year.

Finally, I would like to thank our outstanding staff (Adonia Coates, Sharleene Cano, Shirlyn Barger and Kelly Hoff) for their tremendous efforts throughout the year to help make many of these visions a reality.  This year has been a wonderful opportunity for me to work closely with our staff and the tremendous volunteers on our Board, committees and task forces.  Indeed, the ATA is strong and the future is bright.  We also owe a large debt of gratitude to our CEO Bobbi Smith and Secretary/COO John Morris.  Bobbi’s calm leadership and amazing institutional memory keeps people like me centered and on task.

John has the perfect skills and demeanor in his leadership position in the ATA.  His vision and passion for the ATA, efficient and inclusive leadership style and calming influence are really a gift.  Leadership, humility and the appropriate touch of humor – thank you John and Bobbi.  Again, I thank you all for this opportunity.