As I reach the end of my presidential term, I am impressed by how much has been accomplished in such a short time. It has been a wonderful experience and a great honor to serve as president of this remarkable society. I was frankly a bit fearful when I started, but quickly found enormous pleasure working with an amazingly engaged leadership, so many active and involved members, and the impressively talented staff. I will highlight just a few of the many accomplishments from this year.
I would like to begin by recognizing and thanking the hard-working and creative members of the Annual Meeting Steering Committee (AMSC). Under the outstanding leadership of its chairs, Gary Hammer, MD, PhD, (overall chair), Carolyn Smith, PhD, (basic science chair), Jack Leahy, MD, (clinical science chair), and Ann Danoff, MD, (physician-in-practice chair), the AMSC has created an outstanding scientific program for ENDO 2017. It’s a wonder to see this entire committee working intensely for several long days in a row to fashion a meeting through vigorous debate, thoughtful judgment, and deep experience, followed by a huge effort to make the meeting a reality.
The Clinical Endocrinology Update (CEU) and Endocrine Board Review (EBR) were held last September in Seattle, resulting in the second highest attendance for both activities, following the 2015 record.
Clinical fellowship training programs and trainees are now engaging with the Society’s Fellows Training Series (FTS.) This subscription-based platform allows training programs to enroll fellows in a variety of online education resources on numerous topical areas.
The Society’s influence and visibility have increased significantly, both domestically and internationally, through our advocacy efforts. Our efforts to influence global policies related to regulation of endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) have achieved significant impact in 2016.
One of our top priorities has been advocating for increased funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH.) We held a Hill Day, met with multiple congressional offices, launched online advocacy campaigns, and participated in a leadership role in the broad research community Rally for Medical Research.
A Researcher Hill Day took place in March, where 13 Society members participated. Over 20 visits were scheduled with congressional offices to discuss NIH funding, renewal of the Special Diabetes Program, and consideration of our principles for health reform, including impacts on the health needs of women and the poor.
Our advocacy efforts have also had an impact on NIH policies and research priorities. The update to the Common Rule, which applies to all protections governing human subjects research, included several of our recommendations.
We also have had some important legislative, regulatory, and policy victories in the clinical advocacy area as it relates to diabetes care. We continue to be a leading advocate for diabetes prevention, coverage, and treatment working closely with the Congressional Diabetes Caucus.
Unexpectedly, we had to advocate for our members and patients impacted by the ongoing restrictions to immigration by the Federal government. We are joining with major academic institutions, hospitals, and businesses deeply affected by the new regulations to try to make sure that the interests of our patients and national and international members are acknowledged. We deeply regret that, at this moment, the new restrictions will probably keep some Endocrine Society members from attending ENDO.
Following extensive survey work and analyses of our current publications, we have embarked in some major changes to ensure the excellence and vitality of all the Society publications. Our basic science journals Endocrinology and Molecular Endocrinology merged to become Endocrinology: Molecular and Physiological Basis of Endocrine Health and Disease, a single, comprehensive, basic science journal for endocrinology. At the upcoming Council meeting we will be considering strategies for strengthening this merged journal. You have probably seen the e-mails with helpful Tables of Contents of our journals; I’ve personally found this innovation very useful.
In January, we launched our first new journal in 30 years. The Journal of the Endocrine Society (JES) provides rapid peer review and publication of contributions that advance basic science, clinical science, and clinical practice in endocrinology. JES is a free, online-only, open access journal. Starting a new journal is inevitably a daring enterprise but all the early signs indicate that editor-in-chief Larry Jameson, MD, PhD, and his all-star international editorial group are succeeding in an impressive way.
This has been one of our busiest and most productive years in our global outreach efforts.
Through strategic partnerships with three local organizations in Peru, we successfully launched EndoCares: Diabetes, the Society’s first global patient/provider outreach program in Lima, Peru. The program featured provider and patient-education sessions.
Last August, we were excited to participate in a joint session at the International Congress of Endocrinology, held in collaboration with the Chinese Society of Endocrinology’s annual meeting in Beijing. The Endocrine Society co-hosted the Joint Global Symposium on Obesity with the International Society of Endocrinology and the European Society of Endocrinology. Planning has started for the next joint session during the European Congress of Endocrinology in May, 2017 in Portugal.
Another new activity is the launch of our Global Leadership Academy at ENDO 2017 in Orlando. This new program aims to provide training for researchers and clinicians between five to 10 years of completion of formal professional training. The goal is for these individuals to become effective leaders in their own institutions and in organizations around the world.
Other international activities include our participation at meetings in Brazil, India, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. 2017 will be an equally busy year for our international activities as we continue collaborating with endocrine organizations around the world.
In closing, I would like to thank Lisa Fish, my predecessor, for her wisdom and guidance, and wish all the best to my successor, Lynnette Nieman, who has been a big help throughout the year and will be a strategic and visionary leader. I am also grateful to our Council members for their thoughtful and invaluable participation, and to our committee chairs and members for devoting their time and efforts. Finally, I am thankful to the Society staff, in particular the Society’s CEO, Barbara Byrd Keenan, for their constant support and partnership.