Presented by Martha A. Zeiger, MD
Virtual Annual Business Meeting
September 12, 2020

Martha A. Zeiger, MD


Hello everyone and welcome to our 2020 ATA Annual Business Meeting; Depending upon where you are, good morning, good afternoon or good evening! Our new virtual world! I sincerely hope that you and your family have and will continue to remain healthy during this pandemic and, during these challenging times.

Martin Luther King, Jr. once said:

“The ultimate measure of a person is not where they stand in moments of comfort and convenience, but where they stand at times of challenge and controversy.”

 Despite our challenges we should be proud of all that the ATA has accomplished this past year; Apropos of this, during these past several months, our staff, leaders, committee chairs and committee members have come together and worked with unstoppable force! I am truly proud to be a part of this organization.

Bobbi Smith:

Before we celebrate our accomplishments, first a special thank you and farewell to our past Executive Director, Bobbi Smith, who retired in May

Bobbi….thank you for building such a robust and professional team and,

 ATA Staff

consequently, a team who could help us navigate the strong headwinds of late. Bobbi, We sincerely wish you fulfillment in your retirement years.

Strategic Goals: ATA leadership began the year in a calm sea in with a strategic planning retreat in sunny Florida. At the time we referred to maps to learn where Wuhan, China was and looked on google to learn about coronaviruses. During our retreat with the former seeming an unlikely concern, ATA leaders developed a comprehensive strategic plan; our strategic initiatives & goals include the following:

Develop Clinical, scientific, and research excellence

  • In order Improve understanding of thyroid biology and pathophysiology, and treatment of thyroid disease. Identify new ways to encourage the growth and serve the needs of basic science in the ATA.

Develop Primary thyroid health education and advocacy resources

  • So that we can provide better & informed thyroid care
  • Improve recognition of the value of high-quality thyroid care

Focus on Operational, fiscal, and staffing excellence

  • To Assure the fiscal, operational, and programmatic sustainability of the organization; something we were recently pushed to do and something that will be ongoing these next couple of years.

Create Member diversity, growth, and engagement

  • In order to increase engagement of all members in ATA activities
  • Increase diversity and inclusivity across all arms and activities of the organization (Already a task force has been assembled and made recommendations)
  • And, Increase our membership numbers

Importantly, several initiatives have already entered the implementation stages.

Amanda Perl. But, first, a formal welcome to Amanda Perl, our new Executive Director now at the helm, whom our selection committee brilliantly chose and who began May 2020. Amanda has already become one of us, seamlessly taking leadership of the organization, leading the staff through turbulent waters and yet, helping to deliver on many of the following initiatives….

 Committee and Task Force Chairs

To all our Committee and Task Force Chairs: Again, impressive work done by all during such unprecedented times; a job well done; thank you all.

I would like to highlight several groups and give a special thank you to several who came through despite the Covid pandemic:

 Internet & Patient Affairs & Education Committees

To Drs. Avital Harari and Trevor Angell thank you both for leading these two important groups, the Internet & Patient Affairs & Education Committees. Under their leadership, we launched our new blog, co-hosted multiple Twitter Chats, and developed key resources for patients and clinicians.

Clinical Affairs: To the Clinical Affairs committee led by Drs. Valerie Peck and Carol Greenlee who spent many hours in the early days of the pandemic developing, with lightning speed, statements and resources for our members. In particular, thank you for developing our “Statement on thyroid FNA in the time of Covid;” This sounds like the title of a best-selling novel!

Surgical Affairs: To our Surgical affairs committee led by Drs. Singer and Metzger for developing the thyroidectomy statement we released earlier this year on how to navigate surgery in the midst of COVID-19.  We appreciate your swift work in developing this valuable resource and, I’m sure academic leaders thank you for ”helping to restore revenue sources for many institutions!”

Program Committees and Chairs

It goes without saying that we were disappointed to not see all our friends and colleagues at our Spring and Satellite meetings this year.  However, Drs. Whitney Goldner, Kepal Patel, Francesco Celi, and Laura Boucai worked tirelessly with our staff to shift both of our meetings into virtual meetings; the Spring meeting: Controversies in Thyroidology & the Satellite meeting: Personalized Approach to Thyroid Disorders: these were our first virtual meetings of likely many more to come.

I attended both and can vouch for the superb educational experience. Thank you so much for taking on this challenge.  And if you have not seen the webinars, I encourage all of you to view them online.


All of our webinars are professionally developed & delivered by  Claudia Crail-Munoz, Josette Paige, the team led by Adonia Calhoun Coates

 & thank you and farewell to Adonia who has been an ATA staff leader for 13 yrs. We will miss your expertise in meeting arrangements and being our ED’s right hand person. I personally have truly enjoyed working with you and admired your professionalism.  We wish you all the best in your new chapter.

Nominating Committee

Dr. Susan Sherman and the Nominating Committee not only developed an incredible slate of candidates this year, but they also discussed ways that we can continue to ensure diversity, equity, and inclusion within our leadership. Be sure to stay tuned for the election results at the finale of this business meeting.

 Finance & Audit Committee

As Chair of the Finance & Audit Committee, Dr. Erik Alexander not only ensures that our finances are managed well but, has also led our recent efforts to evaluate our investments in detail and ensure that our reserves are well invested as we head into an uncertain economic future.  This is an important and not always recognized task.  Thank you Erik!

 Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer Guidelines

Lastly, Thank you also to Drs. Keith Bible and Electron Kebebew for their tireless efforts finalizing the ATC guidelines.  Please be on the lookout for the guidelines to be sent to out our membership for comment this month.  We anticipate this going to press early 2021.

Val Galton Announcement

A big thank you again to Drs. Megan Haymart and Peter Kopp for leading the efforts with the endowment fundraising team. Dr. Valerie Anne Galton is an Emeritus Professor of Physiology and Neurobiology at the Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicine. She has investigated the pre-receptor regulation of thyroid hormone (TH) action in the developing brain. Using a unique transgenic mouse model that can neither synthesize T4 nor convert T4 to T3 she is currently testing her hypothesis that T4 is more than just a pro-hormone.

22% of our members and 100% of our BOD have already donated so please help us reach our goal of….And be on the lookout for the inaugural Lectureship Award presented at the 90th Annual Meeting of the ATA in Scottsdale, Arizona in October of 2021; the first lectureship in ATA named after a woman!

Research Grant Awardees

A sincere thank you to our research sponsors; as a society focused on the study of thyroidology we could not do all that we do without your support. ThyCa: Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association, Inc. and Bite Me Cancer

This year’s ATA Research Grant recipients whom we are most proud of are:

Dr. Megan Ritter from Weill Cornell Medicine, who is studying the role of nuclear corepressor 1 in thyroid hormone signaling.

Dr. Carolyn Seib from Stanford University, who is studying Efficacy and Risks of Treatment for Hyperthyroidism in Older Adults

Dr. Melissa Lechner from UCLA, who is studying the role of Recent thymic T cells in immune checkpoint inhibitor thyroiditis.

Dr. Meredith Hartley from the University of Kansas who is studying Thyroid hormone signaling during remyelination.

This year’s THYCA Research Grant Recipients are

Dr. Leila Shobab from MedStar Washington Hospital who is studying Sex-specific immune landscape of differentiated thyroid cancer.

Dr. Jennifer Kuo from Columbia University who is studying RFA of Thyroid Nodules: Clinical Outcomes in the United States.

Dr. Priya Dedhia from The Ohio State University who is studying Stem cells and patient-derived models of medullary thyroid cancer.

Lastly, This year’s Bite Me Cancer Research Grant is:

Dr. Christina Montero-Conde from the Spanish National Cancer Research Center who is studying Discovering novel molecular nodes involved in MTC development and evolution.

Congratulations to all of this year’s grant recipients; we expect to hear great things from all of you in the future!

Distinguished Service Award: Jacqueline Jonklaas MD

The Distinguished Service Award honors a member who has made important and continuing contributions to the ATA.

A member of ATA since 1999, Dr. Jonklaas serves on the editorial board of the journal Thyroid and on ATA’s Board of Directors as the Secretary and Chief Operating Officer. She has served as Co-Chair of the ATA Task Force on Thyroid Hormone Replacement and as Co-Chair of the ATA Guidelines and Statements Task Force.

Dr. Jonklaas is an endocrinologist at Georgetown University and a leader in the field of thyroidology. She has inspired many to become active in the ATA. Her tremendous contributions to clinical thyroidology and the Association make her a worthy recipient of the highly sought-after and prestigious Distinguished Service Award. Congratulations Jacquie; well deserved!

John B. Stanbury Thyroid Pathophysiology Medal: Antonio Bianco PhD

The John B. Stanbury Thyroid Pathophysiology Medal recognizes outstanding research contributions to the understanding of thyroid physiology or the pathophysiology of thyroid disease.

Dr. Bianco’s work focuses on understanding aspects of thyroid hormone action that involve deiodinases D1, D2, and D3. His laboratory investigates the physiological roles played by these enzymes and their involvement in disease mechanisms. Knowledge obtained from these studies will help develop therapies that preserve thyroid hormone homeostasis in patients with hypothyroidism.

His research and mentoring of the next generation of researchers, and his service in ATA and the thyroid research community make him a worthy recipient of the distinguished and highly sought-after John B. Stanbury Thyroid Pathophysiology Medal. Congratulations Tony! Well deserved!

 Secretary: Jacquie Jonklaas

We could not have accomplished all that we did this past year without the steady, diplomatic, and dedicated Jacquie Jonklaas; Jacquie, it has been a true pleasure working with you Jacquie and I sincerely thank you for your calm, open, and engaged partnership.

 Thank you

Finally, I am truly honored to have served as your President this past year; thank you for having the faith in me to lead our organization and, especially through these past very trying months. You had no idea when you chose me what treachery you would be asking me to lead you through! I thank the ATA staff and leaders, especially the Executive committee and Board of Directors for your tireless efforts, support and wisdom. Thank you all and I look forward to serving as your Past-President alongside our soon to be announced President-elect, and our soon to be President, Vic Bernet.


Martha A. Zeiger, MD

Martha A. Zeiger, MD

ATA President 2019-2020