SETAC North America: A Perspective of 2014
Kurt Maier, President, SETAC North America
I am honored and humbled for the opportunity to have served as President of SETAC North America. I was honored to be elected to serve in this position and to have the opportunity to work with a great group of people that share a vision of what SETAC North America was, is and will be. I was humbled by the professionalism, work ethic and dedication of the SETAC North America staff and volunteers. I started this year by thanking a lot of people, and I will conclude this year by doing the same. First, thanks to the membership. Your continuing dedication to advancing science and developing policy to achieve Environmental Quality Through Science® is what drives the society. Thanks also to the SETAC North America staff. The society operates at such a high level because of your talents and dedication. To all the leaders and members of the standing committees, advisory groups, dialog groups, ad hoc committees, outreach groups, etc., a sincere thank you. Your volunteer efforts and spirits are truly amazing. We also truly appreciate the support of our sustaining members and affiliates. Their contributions (from many perspectives) help make SETAC North America what it is. The founding fathers got it right when they established the society on the basis of tripartite balance and scientific debate. Finally, thanks to the members of the SETAC North America Board of Directors. It was great working with such a talented, thoughtful, hard-working (OK I’ll stop now) group. Thanks again to all, and like many before me, I am very proud to call SETAC my professional home.
2014 has been an interesting year for SETAC North America. We have moved forward, continued and improved several existing (and important) initiatives. In addition, we have transitioned activities and developed new ones. We are always looking to improve member services.
Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)
Last year, a bill was proposed in the U.S. Senate to modernize the almost 40-year-old TSCA. The proposed Chemical Safety Improvement Act would "ensure that all chemicals are screened for safety to protect public health and the environment, while also creating an environment where manufacturers can continue to innovate, grow, and create jobs." The bill presented an opportunity for SETAC North America to engage the U.S. Congress and to provide scientific expertise into the proposed legislative changes. A SETAC North America dialog group was initiated to address this issue. This group, organized in 2014, developed and conducted educational activities designed to inform legislators with the goal of improving this legislation. I am encouraged that SETAC North America is considered a major contributor to the science associated with this proposed legislation. Our science does make a difference.
There continues to be a demand for certifications (globally) for environmental risk assessors, chemists and toxicologists. Certifications are seen by many as distinguishing accomplishments regarding the knowledge and competencies of professionals in a specific field. SETAC continues to be uniquely positioned to create a certification for environmental risk assessors, chemists and toxicologists, since we are a global environmental science society with a tripartite perspective. The certification team has moved the development process forward through the initial phases of assessment and development, including a draft business plan. The next steps include developing the financing, establishing the required administrative organization, and creating the examination process. Encouraging activities include the development of a SETAC Europe initiated academic accreditation program. The certification team views this as a synergistic opportunity that benefits our global culture, the society and the membership.
Digital Capture of Annual Meeting Sessions
In 2013, SETAC North America developed what is called the “All in Digital” initiative. SETAC North America contracted with MultiView to digitally capture selected presentations at the 2013 SETAC Nashville meeting. In 2014, SETAC North America made these recordings freely available to the world. The plan is to continue and even expand this approach for future meetings. Vancouver is next and there is more to come!
The SETAC North America Endowment Fund supports a variety of activities that benefit students, developing geographic units and other activities related to our mission. I am pleased to report that the Endowment Fund is doing very well. The recent leadership transitions and investment strategies have resulted in a strengthened administrative structure of the fund. The fund is at an all-time high, with a very bright future. Please consider being a part of this process. It is not how much you give but that you give.
There have been many other activities that have contributed to and improved the society during the past year. The workshops and focused topic meetings, the reinvigorated Senior Resource Group activities, the new coordinated funding program, the recently initiated leadership development program, and many others have made this a memorable year.
In conclusion, it has been an honor to serve as your SETAC North America President. I cannot thank all of you enough. It was a great year! I wish all of you the very best in all of your professional and personal journeys. I request that you support the new SETAC North America President, Mary Reiley, and the SETAC North America Board of Directors. I know they will do a great job. This group strongly supports the membership in continuing to make SETAC the dynamic, influential and relevant professional society that it is.
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