Victor J. Bernet, MD
Presented by Victor J. Bernet, MD
88th Annual Meeting of the American Thyroid Association
October 3-7, 2018
Marriott Marquis
Washington, DC

First, let me take the opportunity to offer you a hearty welcome to Washington D.C. and the 88th Annual Meeting of the American Thyroid Association. Believe the Program Committee, capably led by Mabel Ryder and Gregory Randolph, has put together an excellent meeting that will engage the many interests of our diverse membership. Before the meeting welcome and opening we will be holding ATA committee and task force meetings from 2:45-4:00 pm. The opening session Wednesday afternoon is entitled “Recent Developments and Future Challenges in Thyroidology” which will present clinical, basic and surgical viewpoints. Throughout the meeting, there will be a combination of presentations to include plenary and award lectures, symposia and meet the professor sessions as well as Early Riser symposia and Expo Theater activities. Special satellite symposia will feature the Latin America International group, the Pediatric Thyroid Forum as well as the 1st Annual ATA Advanced Practice Provider presentations. Of course, the Ridgway Trainee Conference will be in full force again under the supervision of Trainees and Career Advancement Committee led by Jacqueline Kung and Jennifer Sipos. The ATA will host 273 trainees: 157 endocrinology fellows, 40 surgery trainees and 76 early career basic scientists. An important offering which is fully enrolled is the ATA Endocrine Neck Advanced Ultrasound Course co-chaired by Susan Mandel and Kevin Brumund. We have recorded breaking registration numbers at the time of this report which are standing at 1400+ with regular abstract submissions at 459 and 84 short call abstracts.

2017-2018 Summary Report

Fall and the annual meeting are once again upon us and as we complete another governance year, it is time for me as Secretary/Chief Operating Officer to provide a report of ATA activities to you our membership. This will represent my 3rd and penultimate report to ATA members as Secretary/COO.

The ATA continues to be a very vibrant association with significant membership dedication and involvement in a growing number of ATA related activities. At present, membership stands at 1788 which includes 910 Active members, 314 Corresponding, 87 Transitioning Associate (to Active and Corresponding), 305 Associate (represent physicians in training), 37 Senior and 109 Emeritus. Of the Active Members, we have 550 Endocrinologists, 131 Endocrine Surgeons, 101 Otolaryngologists, 32 Pediatric Endocrinologists, with other specialties such as Research Scientists, Pathologists, Oncologists and Nuclear Medicine physicians rounding out the diverse total. There are 22 standing committees as well as 2 task forces and 4 editorial boards (Thyroid®, Clinical Thyroidology®, VideoEndocrinology and Clinical Thyroidology for the Public).

Strategic Plan

As the membership is aware, ATA leadership decided upon a strategic plan to pursue between 2015 and 2018. This plan has four major goals to include: 1) Maintaining and growing the ATA as the global leader for all thyroid related issues. 2) Being patient’s preferred education resource, 3) Enhancement of support for research within the field of thyroidology and 4) Development efforts to fund ATA’s mission and goals. Similar to my report last year, I will group review of our progress and achievements by each strategic goal:

Global Leadership

The ATA continues to strive to exhibit consistent world-wide leadership within the realm of thyroidology. In January 2018, the ATA participated in a Multilateral Conference with the European Association of Nuclear Medicine (EANM), the Society for Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI) and European Thyroid Association. The meeting appears to have been very successful at both facilitating communication between members of these four groups but also will result in a white paper that is expected to be published in Thyroid® in the not too distant future. The four societies have agreed to hold another meeting in 2019 with planning well underway. Additionally, the interactions led to the ATA continuing its involvement in the annual SNMMI meeting (Philadelphia, June 2018) in a symposium discussing the results from the Multilateral Conference and further, in a related meeting at the EANM this October in Düsseldorf, Germany.

In March 2018, the ATA held the successful satellite symposia in conjunction with the Endocrine Society meeting in Chicago entitled: Spectrum of Thyroid Cancer, from Surveillance to Systemic Therapy. This effort was capably led by Program Chairs, Manisha Shah and Mike Tuttle (410 in attendance). This effort was well received and is felt to have been a great success.

ATA POC representatives to the 16th ITC in 2020 in Xi’an, China (Sheue-yann Cheng, Susan Mandel and Ralph Tufano) are actively involved in planning of the next ITC and met in Newcastle, England in September 2018 for Program Committee activities. Another budding international effort revolves around discussions between leadership of the ATA and the Indian Thyroid Society about potential future collaborative projects.

In regards to inter- sister society level leadership, the board of directors appointed an ATA representative to the steering committee of the International Thyroid Nodule Imaging Work Group which is exploring possibilities in regards to how existing thyroid nodule malignancy risk scoring systems from various societies might be made more consistent or at least comparable.

The ATA quickly formed a coalition with AACE and Endocrine Society to compose a joint letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to protest recently proposed cuts in FNA reimbursement and provided evidence and recommendations for more equitable payment models.

Furthermore, the ATA and AAES teamed to hold a symposium at the annual AAES 2018 meeting entitled, “The Changing Face of Thyroid Cancer Management for Surgeons: Real-life Applications of the New ATA guidelines.” Several well respected ATA members participated in this presentation and the ATA Secretary/COO was present for the meeting as well. In addition, ATA leaders attended the European Thyroid Association meetings in Newcastle, England in September 2018 as well as having an ATA booth. There is significant interest in pursuing such similar symposia in the future as ATA looks for areas of potential synergy between our sister societies.

Formation of the ATA Guidelines and Statements Committee (GSC) which has been tasked to standardized the process for initiation, completion and deployment of ATA guidelines and statements. The committee now has a page on the ATA website where members/committee can start the process of requesting approval to developed a new or renew an existing guideline or statement. The group is also working on a process for transitioning ATA guidelines into “living documents.” Congratulations are in due for the substantial accomplishments this committee has achieved in a short time under the leadership of chairs Anna Sawka and Jacquie Jonklaas.

Our ATA publications are another form of leadership within the field of thyroidology. Thyroid, Clinical Thyroidology, VideoEndocrinology and Clinical Thyroidology for the Public all continue be popular as evidenced a continued trend of increasing article downloads. Special congratulations to Peter Kopp, the editorial board of Thyroid and our publisher Mary Ann Liebert or achieving an impact factor of 7.557 which equates to a 37% increase from the 2016 rating.

In relation to furthering leadership in conjunction with the annual meeting, the ATA added a Pediatric Thyroid symposium to the annual meeting in 2017 and in 2018 will hold its first Advanced Practice Provider symposia. Additionally, as the ATA tries to increase engagement with internationally based thyroid societies, the 88th annual meeting in Washington, D.C. will also include the much anticipated Latin America International Satellite Symposia.

Being Patient’s Preferred Education Resource

The ATA continues to be very active in trying to meet the needs of patients with thyroid disorders. Of note, Elizabeth Grubbs and Mara Roth discussed results from the online survey of thyroid cancer patients at the ATA 2018 Spring Symposia. At last count, 1697 patients responded to the survey between 30 January, 2018 and 30 April, 2018. A poster on these results will be presented at the 2018 annual meeting with an expected peer reviewed publication thereafter.

The annual Patient Forum will be held again at the annual meeting and in an attempt to keep the session interactive, the group is exploring an updated format to include a potential panel session for patient questions.

The ATA continues to make efforts to refine and expand our presence on social media. The ATA has a presence on all the following social media platforms: Twitter, Face Book, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest as well as a YouTube channel and Podcasts. The members of the Patient Affairs and Education committee have continued to diligently work on updating patient brochures including ones in both in English and those with a Spanish translation. In support, the Surgical Affairs Committee has also composed patient education materials while the Lab Services Committee has enhanced the professional section of the website with educational brochures.

As far as ATA guidelines, the GSC will be pursing optimized deployment of guidelines to improve utilization and adoption of these recommendations and these efforts are expected to have a patient component as well. Additionally, the ATA is making efforts to identify and include patient representatives with our guideline and statement efforts.

Clinical Thyroidology for the Public, the ATA Alliance for Thyroid Patient Education and the Friends of the ATA email distribution group are additional avenues in which the ATA is reaching out to patients and patient advocacy groups as we focus on meeting our patients’ needs.

Enhancement of Support for Research within the Field of Thyroidology

The data repository project with NURSA/Signaling Pathways has moved forward and there are plans for a demonstration of this database and website at the annual meeting. We are hopeful this database will provide thyroid researchers with a useful tool and information that will stimulate additional studies in the field. The initial data being populated is related to thyroid hormone action with plans to extend the data to include thyroid tumor related information.

Beyond facilitating intersociety communication, the Multilateral Conference held with ETA, EANM and SNMMI has also stimulated interest and potential ideas for multinational, multicenter research collaboration and studies which might better define the appropriate use of radioactive iodine especially for adjuvant therapy. We are hopeful these discussions will lead to future prospective studies which can be expected to be very clinically relevant.

Elizabeth Pearce and Rebecca Schweppe are spearheading an effort to develop an ATA Summer thyroid research internship for students. The idea is to match students with successful researchers in the field of thyroidology and support them for a Summer research experience thereby hopefully stimulating a long-term interest in research, particularly within the field of thyroid disorders.

The ATA highlights the annual thyroid research grant recipients through a combination of press releases, ATA web site and social media postings.

Development Efforts to Fund ATA’s Mission and Goals

In a show of leadership, the Board of Directors and ATA office staff achieved 100% giving for the 2017-2018 governance year. We very much appreciate all the members who have participated in giving to the ATA over the last year. We continue to strive to reach complete funding for the E. Chester Ridgway Endowment which presently sits at $203,222 with an ultimate fund raising goal of 250,000 dollars. The Development Committee and ATA staff are also evaluating the potential of pursuing a Text-to-Donate fund raising event.

The ATA has also secured $260,000+ in Continuing Medical Education (CME) Funding for the 2018 ATA Annual Meeting, which is double the amount received in 2017. The ATA will continue to steward and cultivate educational partnerships to provide top-notch thyroid education for ATA events and attendees.

The ATA also created its first-ever professional Annual Report and Case for Support which is essential in communicating with donors about the ATA and in making a case for why the ATA is worthy of potential support to meet its many missions. The second annual report is near completion. The ATA continues to explore and identify available grants for which the ATA might apply to support current and future programming initiatives.

The Corporate Liaison Committee (CLC) continues to hold an event at the annual meeting with our CLC sponsors. We work together to identify ways to expand membership and to make the CLC relevant and worthwhile for members. CLC member companies are noted on a page within the ATA website and CLC members can also be identified at the ATA annual meeting by a special placard displayed at their booth.

In summary, as I believe the above paragraphs illustrate, the last 3 years have been very busy and fulfilling as the ATA works towards the goals identified at the 2015 ATA Strategic Planning Conference. I would like to thank all those who have contributed to any of these strategic related efforts. These goals would not have been achieved without significant dedication and effort on the part of both our members and, of course, the stellar ATA office staff. Believe this strategic effort has been an extremely worthwhile exercise and that the ATA membership can be proud of all that has been achieved. Of course, it is now time to re-examine where we as the ATA stand and where we next need to concentrate our efforts for future growth and development. Therefore, the Board of Director is planning to hold another strategic conference to identify new goals for the future. With Jacquie Jonklaas set to become our new Secretary-elect at the time of the 2018 annual meeting, the Board of Director is looking at holding another strategic conference in Summer 2019. Identified strategic goals will set the course and focus our association’s efforts going forward towards our 100th anniversary in 2023.

ATA Appreciation

As we near the end of another governance year, I would very much like to again thank the membership for the opportunity to serve as the ATA Secretary/COO. It is an extremely rewarding experience and great opportunity to interact with so many of our wonderful members. I also want to recognize the consistent support from the Executive Committee, Board of Directors, our Committees, Task Forces and their chairs, the membership, our Patient Alliance partnerships, our industry partners in the Corporate Liaison Council as well as our publishers at Mary Ann Liebert.

Of course, nothing would happen without our superb ATA staff. They ensure we make forward progress on all our many activities, while keeping ATA efforts (and me) organized and integrated. Such a great office requires able leadership and we have that “in spades” with Bobbi Smith as our Executive Director. Bobbi is my “consigliere”, she always has sound ideas and is a voice of reason. She and her staff of 5 implement the mission and strategic plan actions of the ATA at the direction of the Board. She directs the overall responsibilities of the staff, engages vendors, contracts future meeting sites and assures the legal, ethical, and functional aspects of our 501c3 non-profit corporation. She is the lead point of contact for all of our constituencies and key stakeholders.

As we all know the annual ATA meeting is one of our “crown jewels” and who better to guard those jewels and make them shine than Adonia Coates (Director of Meetings and Program Services). Adonia is a maestro in adeptly coordinating all the moving parts of our meeting. Sharleene Cano (Director of Publications and Membership) is in charge of two other of our “crown jewels” the ATA Ridgway Trainee Conference and ATA Publications. Our EICs universally praise Sharleene in keeping our publications on track and that is no small feat. In this day and age having a great website is imperative and Kelly Hoff (Director of Technology and Development) ensures that the ATA website stays useful and relevant to our stakeholders, our information technology infrastructure is sound, and fundraising is creative and constant. Josette Paige (Meetings and Finance) continues to do a great job tracking ATA finances with our accounting firm and auditor as well as supporting all meeting endeavors. Carrie Prewitt (Membership, Development and Technology) is our newest member and, if you call the office, don’t be surprised if she answers your call, and any questions about membership or upcoming meetings. Furthermore, it should be noted that our 3 senior staff, Kelly, Adonia and Sharleene, have achieved certifications in the association management field this year, the Certified Association Executive, CAE, designation requires years long commitment to professional development.

Also, we want to thank Sheri Wilson, our consultant CPA from Bay Business Group who does a tremendous job helping the BODs understand our financial reports, budgets and audit.

Finally, when you encounter one of our great staff during the meeting, please express your thanks for their hard work, dedication and congratulate them in person for their achievements.

ATA Board Service Accolades

And finally, we have two directors who are finishing their terms: Regina Castro and Christine Spitzweg. Regina pulled double duty as a Director and as Chair for the very active Patient Affairs and Education Committee. With being in Germany, Christine was very dedicated in pulling very late nights to participate in our 5pm east coast BOD meetings. Kudos to you both! That brings us to our outgoing Past-president John Morris. John became Secretary-elect in 2010, the same time that I joined the board as a director. He and I have served on the Board concurrently these 8 years. Time flies. I very much appreciate his mentorship as I assumed the duties as Secretary/COO and during this period have benefited from his calming influence and Tennessean-flavored sage advice. His presence will be missed including his willingness to speak up during conference calls with either an opinion on the matter or enhancing our governance with a motion when necessary during BOD deliberations. Finally, I would like to acknowledge the terrific leadership of our soon to be outgoing President Charles Emerson. It has been great working with Charles and look forward to having him on the BOD in the role of past-president.

As I conclude this report to the ATA membership for the 2017-2018 governance year, I want to impress upon the membership that it is your dedication to the ATA and to the field of thyroidology that continues the ATA legacy as a very special professional home for all of us. You are the energy that elevates this society. Please continue to inform us of how we can be more responsive to your needs and encourage your colleagues to join the ATA, keeping us vital and comprehensive in our leadership in the thyroid field. We look forward to working with you on all the many activities and efforts planned for 2018-2019!


John C. Morris, MD
Victor J. Bernet, MD
Secretary/Chief Operating Officer