Reflections on 2011, Challenge to Turn Dreams into Discoveries

By Dr. Roger Lobo

Welcome to ASRM’s 2011 Annual Meeting in Orlando, a city known the world around for its ability to inspire children and families to dream. It’s an exciting time to be here, and I am looking forward to talking about how we, in the reproductive medicine field, can realize our scientific dreams.

The plenary sessions at this year’s meeting will cover some of the most cutting-edge embryonic stem cell research and oncofertility issues, as well as ethical concerns in the field. Dr. Alan Guttmacher the new Director of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development will talk about his vision for the future of reproductive medicine, as well as where he thinks NIH might focus its resources in the coming years. And, the most recent past editor of Fertility and Sterility, Dr. Alan DeCherney will give a retrospective of the leaders in reproductive medicine – something surely not to miss.

I’m optimistic about the forward-looking, exciting perspectives on the research being presented at this year’s meeting. We will have a concentrated focus on contraception and menopause, the latter of which takes place on what is now known globally as Menopause Day.

As you know, ASRM has grown beyond being just about fertility. Our members and affiliated groups made us a federation of societies, and we’re stronger that way. There really is something for everybody within the organization. We encompass a broad range of reproductive medicine areas and issues including menopause and contraception, and it is my hope that the organization will continue its reputation as a global thought and research leader, and continue to look at reproductive medicine with as broad a lens as possible.

I’m really proud of a lot of things we’ve done as a Society this past year. My goals going into my year as president were to reinforce and build upon our strategic plan, maintain our financial stability, reach out to new members to continue to increase membership, and further enhance ASRM’s reputation as the go-to organization around the world for reproductive medicine. I’ve traveled around the world to forge relationships and find ways to collaborate with other reproductive societies around the world – many of whom are here this week to present their interesting and up-to-date, evidence-based research.

ASRM is stronger than ever, and in a year that continued to be rocky, financially, for so many individuals and organizations, I am pleased to report that we continued to push our development efforts, which enabled us to raise money for ASRM, and an endowment specifically for stem cell research. Our membership is stable and continues to grow. And, we’ve had a change in editorship for Fertility and Sterility, a successful co-editorship between Craig Niederberger, MD and Antonio Pellicer, MD, that we’re really pleased with.

That’s not to say that there haven’t been some challenges this year. In addition to the class-action egg donor lawsuit we are part of, we are also working very hard in Washington and state capitals to continue to educate policymakers and elected officials about our issues to protect and promote the future of reproductive medicine. We continue to move forward with an incredibly powerful membership and strength in our partnerships with other organizations.

Despite those challenges, it’s been a year of collaboration where everyone has worked together for the common good, both here in the United States and around the world. We’re working with the International Menopause Society and other organizations on updating the nomenclature and staging system for reproductive aging. We’ve done sessions with the European Society of Human Reproductive Endocrinology (ESHRE) in Amsterdam on polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and plan to work with them again in the coming year on a best-practices post-graduate course to strengthen standards between the U.S. and Europe on reproductive medicine.

It has been an honor to serve as ASRM’s president. I look forward to seeing the organization continue to grow under incoming ASRM president Dr. Dolores Lamb’s guidance, along with input from our leadership and members. Dr. Lamb is ASRM’s first president with a PhD, and her perspective and ability to help bridge the gap between researchers and clinicians will enable us all understand one another and be able to work together better.

I’m confident you’ll enjoy your time here in Orlando, and that you’ll come away with a renewed focus on how we can move the field forward and work together to find new ways to realize our scientific dreams.

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