Looking Back on Another Remarkable Year of Progress

Hammes-ENDO 2022RESIZED

A year seems to go by quickly in today’s fast-paced world, but the Endocrine Society always manages to accomplish a huge amount in that trip around the sun! Even the recent total eclipse of said sun did not slow us down! As I reflect on my soon-to-conclude presidential tenure, I’m amazed at the sheer number of initiatives and goals that we’ve completed over the past 12 months.

With advocacy wins, pushes to advance science, and efforts to strengthen our organization through education and enhancement of the endocrinology pipeline, each win reflects our mission to stay on the leading edge of endocrine care and research.

Advocating for Endocrinology

Advocacy has long been a Society pillar. We engage in many efforts that aim to improve health outcomes, from ensuring adequate funding of scientific research and developing best clinical practices, to promoting a healthy environment.

On this last point, we have had a prominent seat at the table in helping nations to craft a global plastics treaty that would protect the public from dangerous endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) found in plastics. Last May, Society member Marina Fernandez, PhD, spoke during the plenary of the United Nations Environment Programme Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on Plastic Pollution. And in February, Society members and staff traveled to Nairobi, Kenya, to present at the U.N. Environmental Assembly on the global threats from EDCs.

We also were successful in our lobbying efforts on several key issues affecting U.S. policy, including increased funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the reauthorization of the Special Diabetes Program (SDP).

Advancing Science

We have also been busy advancing scientific knowledge in the endocrine space.

In May 2023, the Society released a Scientific Statement that identified research gaps to reduce health disparities in pediatric and sexual and gender minoritized populations. And in June, we released a statement distinguishing  aspects of aging that are normal, and sometimes over-treated, to true endocrine disease, such as menopausal symptoms and osteoporosis, that in fact, are treatable and deserve more attention.

Without a doubt, the best part of my presidency this year has been interacting with our members. I have always said that I love endocrinology because endocrinologists are, quite frankly, just really nice and really smart people. And this year has definitely proven my assessment to be correct!

Also gratifying was the July announcement that our Journal of the Endocrine Society (JES) received its first Impact Factor score in 2022, while the Society’s other journals maintained high rankings on the prestigious measure of scholarly publishing. JES, which launched in 2017, is an open access journal providing rapid publication of clinical research, clinical practice information, and basic research in all areas of endocrinology.

Member Initiatives

Another key mission of the Society is to ensure the success of its current and future members. Over the past 12 months, we’ve taken various important steps in these efforts.

In April, we launched the Medical School Engagement Program (MSEP), an initiative that aims to introduce medical students and residents to the wonderful world of endocrinology. I am sure we would all agree that, once exposed to endocrinology, many will almost certainly be so excited that they will choose endocrinology as a career. That program is just now getting off the ground, but we have been warmly embraced by the medical school community.

In a similar vein, last year at ENDO 2023 we held our inaugural Endocrinology Mentoring Day (eMD) program. We’re delighted to host an expanded version of this program again on Sunday, June 2 at ENDO 2024 in Boston, Ma. The goal of this program is to help students and residents understand that endocrinology offers an exciting and meaningful professional journey.

Moving to the next level, the Endocrine Society has redoubled its efforts to support and mentor those who have already chosen endocrinology as their profession.

In October, we launched a new Obesity Fellows program that gives healthcare practitioners the confidence, resources, and experience needed to treat patients living with obesity. Thirty-five fellows from around the United States traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet and learn from top experts in obesity care and management. The study and treatment of obesity remains a priority for the Endocrine Society, and the aforementioned Journal of the Endocrine Society strives to be a major home for obesity research.

Last year we saw another record number of applicants for our Excellence in Clinical Endocrinology Leadership (ExCEL) program, which offers comprehensive leadership training and mentorship to early career physicians of communities underrecognized in medicine and science.

Similarly, we saw record numbers of applicants for our Future Leaders Advancing Research in Endocrinology (FLARE) program, which provides leadership development for basic science, clinical research trainees, and junior faculty from underrecognized minoritized communities. The same trend held true for our Research Experiences for Graduate and Medical Students (REGMS) program, for early career scientists.

To address all of our members’ various specialties, last fall we created a new Special Interest Group (SIG) focused on bone and mineral issues. The Bone and Mineral SIG joins our seven existing SIGs that are designed to foster connections and share knowledge online and in-person.

Finally for our tireless clinicians, the Endocrine Society Burnout Task Force has been hard at work all year and will report their findings to our Board at the ENDO 2024 meeting.

These are all signs of a healthy Endocrine Society that is dedicated to supporting its members in every way possible.

Organizational Strength

While the Society is physically located in the United States, our organization draws roughly 35% of its membership from more than 120 countries on six continents. To better serve our international members, in 2022 we launched the Global Endocrine Leadership Coalition (GELC). The coalition’s in-person meeting at ENDO 2023 was attended by 50 leaders representing 22 international societies. GELC’s current focus area is on the endocrinology workforce pipeline, an area in which countries around the world are facing challenges and shortages. This year, the GELC met again at ENDO 2024 on Monday, June 3.

We continue to look for opportunities to work together with our sibling societies around the world.

I’m proud to have played a part as your president in helping the Society move forward. But success takes a team effort.

I am grateful for the wisdom and dedication of my follow Executive Committee members, who have provided invaluable support and guidance to myself and the organization over the past year. I’d like to give a special thanks to my immediate predecessor, Ursula Kaiser, MD, for her mentorship and her work in ensuring the continuity and success of our Society.

Our success also stems from the many, many volunteer members who serve on Society committees, task forces, and working groups. These tireless individuals provide the brainpower and devote countless hours to driving forward our many initiatives. Without a doubt, the best part of my presidency this year has been interacting with our members. I have always said that I love endocrinology because endocrinologists are, quite frankly, just really nice and really smart people. And this year has definitely proven my assessment to be correct!

Finally, backing all of this activity is a fabulous Society team of talented, creative, and tireless staff members, led by the incomparable CEO Kate Fryer. We are lucky to have such an amazing and dedicated staff!

I look forward to working closely with the entire team along with our incoming president John Newell-Price, MD, PhD, FRCP, as well as the next president elect, Carol Lange, PhD. Together, I’m confident that we will see even more accomplishments in the months and years ahead.

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