What’s New in Reproductive Biology
Developmental Plan for Merging RBPG and RLTPG
In the past couple of months, the Board members of the RBPG and RLTPG have established a Planning Committee to develop plans for a potential merger of our two professional groups. Our purpose would be to establish a Society for Embryologists and Technologists which strives to support the continuing education, growth and development of laboratory specialists working in all disciplines of reproductive biology, and to promote standards of excellence in laboratory applications and research. This society would encourage the active participation of all members in order to provide a unified foundation for laboratory personnel to make positive contributions to the ASRM. The goals of membership activities would encompass:
- Continuing education for lab personnel
- Interactive web-based information resources
- Reproductive biology/ART research
- Lab quality assurance advocacy
- Patient education advocacy
- Interactive affiliations with other related societies (e.g., AAB/CRB, ALPHA, IETS)
All members of ASRM, independent of degree qualifications, would be eligible to join and participate as members. All members of the society would be eligible to participate in all scientific program activities, interactive web-based information resources, surveys and patient education programs. A two-tiered membership has been proposed to keep annual dues to a minimum for associate members, while active members would be eligible to participate in all nomination/election activities, and therefore would be eligible to serve on the Executive Board and its Committees, as an appointed or elected official. It is anticipated that senior level-scientists, Ph.D. and non-Ph.D., would join as active members. This system will make it easier for us to attain our projected budgetary goals: a start-up budget of $11,000 in Year 1, and a stable working budget of $20,000 by Year 3.
The specific structure and bylaws of the proposed society will be developed with membership input once initial approval is granted by the membership to proceed, as determined by an upcoming survey of the membership. In general, we anticipate implementing a Board of Directors, which includes a rotational election of Ph.D. and non-Ph.D. lab scientists (as per the RLTPG bylaws) to the position of President-elect (Vice-Program Chair), Program Chair, President and Past President; and to a Nomination Committee (as per the RBPG bylaws). Other positions appointed by the Executive Board would include a Secretary, Treasurer, and Information Director, as well as other committees to be determined. Two members of the Executive Board would meet bi-annually with the ASRM Board. Overall, we would try to integrate the bylaws of the two PGs, as much as possible.
In terms of our conference and program activities at the annual ASRM meeting, we would strive to maintain the current established standards: Four scientific sessions aimed at Human Studies I, Animal & Experimental Studies I, and Lab Technologies I & II; 10 Roundtables; an Interactive Session with a SIG/PG; and a two-day postgraduate course with optional 1- or 2-day attendance in a basic science/lab tech-based PGC. It would be up to us to justify our scientific needs and make our formation contingent on this plan.
Beyond this, the sky is the limit for a Society for Embryologists and Technologists. The development and growth of this society would be up to the active participation and input of its members.
Why Merge and form an Affiliated Society Now?
Over the past two decades, we have contributed significantly to the scientific integrity and technological advancement the IVF Industry and our society, the ASRM. We have matured as professionals within the ranks of the ASRM and are ready to maintain a leadership role within ASRM, on behalf of lab scientists. Our petition to be an affiliated society is justified, as we constitute more than 1/8th of the total ASRM membership with more than 1,450 combined members, exceeding that of any of the existing societies. However, membership may decline, and possible ASRM participation, as new lab-specific organizations form and continue developing. Yet, even if only 60% of our current members decided to join and pay annual dues as associate or active members, our membership would be equal to the most populated group, the SREI. We do not have to become an incorporated entity, which would keep our operating expenses low and, in turn, membership dues low, similar to the SMRU. We can continue to operate under the organizational infrastructure of the ASRM, with improved website capabilities and internet communications, as a society. Furthermore, as an affiliate society we would have direct representation and one vote on the ASRM Board of Directors and representation on major ASRM committees. The ASRM bylaws allow up to six affiliated societies to have voting representation on the ASRM Board, currently there are four such groups. As an affiliated society, we would not have to lose anything, in terms of the scientific program. It would be up to us to justify our annual scientific needs based on membership participation. The RBPG and RLTPG executive boards believe the time has come for us to make a cohesive team effort to become the fifth Society affiliate and strengthen our members’ link to the ASRM Board. If you have any questions and concerns you wish to discuss, feel free to contact Mitch Schiewe at 949-642-5954 (firstname.lastname@example.org) or any other Board member.
-- MC Schiewe, Planning Committee Chair