New CEO shares her thoughts

This month Endocrine News is tackling a topic that’s been in the news a lot lately — obesity — albeit with a different twist. Our cover story by Melissa Mapes discusses the added hazard that being overweight causes in patients with dementia (“Heavy Mettle,” p. 17). Each is problematic, but treating these two conditions concurrently can be a challenge for the physician, patient, and the patient’s family and other caregivers.

Speaking of a double dose of maladies, in “Double Whammy” on p. 24, Terri D’Arrigo spells out the issues that face patients who are diagnosed with both diabetes and celiac disease, and the steps physicians should take in order to treat both conditions as effectively as possible. Managing these dual disorders takes a fair amount of skill as well as a healthy dose of patience.

Aalok Mehta looks at the feasibility of paying donors for their kidneys in order to combat the donation shortage that has wreaked havoc on the healthcare system for the last several decades (p. 20). Since almost 100,000 patients are waiting for a compatible transplant — and thousands die while waiting — putting healthy kidneys on the market could be a real win/win situation for donor, recipient, and the healthcare industry as a whole.

As I mentioned last month, I wanted to ask the new Society CEO Barbara Byrd Keenan her thoughts as she takes on her new role leading the organization. “The thing I’m most excited about is the leadership position that endocrinology can take in a holistic approach to advancing human health,” she says. “As I have learned more about the interests of our members, I’ve gotten very excited about the model that is typically framed in translational research, which I think is also the model of endocrinology. Endocrinology truly is at the nexus of research, treatment, and prevention of the major diseases of the 21st century.”

Keenan says the continuum of expertise from basic research to clinical practice through translational science is a strength of the Society and its members. “We talk about bench to bedside, but I believe there is a third pillar: bench to bedside to well-being,” she explains. “And that really encompasses the scope and positive impact that endocrinology can have on everyone who touches it along that continuum. What better place to be than at the forefront of research into a systemic approach to human health?”

Before coming to the Society, Keenan was content as CEO of the Institute of Food Technologists, her third role as an association CEO. In fact, she had planned to finish out her association career at IFT. “I saw the holistic approach of food, pharma, and endocrinology as the delta of positive change,” she says, explaining how the Endocrine Society position piqued her interest. “And from that moment I was seriously intrigued. The way the search committee talked about the partnership and respect of working together with the staff to advance human health was a statement of mutual respect and value that I really appreciated. I like the can-do attitude and the fearless nature of moving forward. We’ve done great things, and we’ve got a tremendous history. We’re moving into a new phase; we’ve got a new building, and we’ve got a new attitude.”

And a new CEO prepared to take the Endocrine Society to its next remarkable level.

Mark A. Newman
Managing Editor, Endocrine News

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