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Letter from the 2005 SMFM Program Chair

      Dear Colleagues,
      It has been my great honor to serve as the Program Chair for this year's 25th Annual Meeting of the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine. As Program Chair, I have had a front row seat from which to appreciate the vitality of our Society. From very humble beginnings a quarter century ago, the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine and its annual meeting have grown in complexity and stature every year. Evidence of this growth abounds at this year's meeting.
      The 1,093 abstracts submitted this year was the highest number ever and they come to our Society from across the country and from all over the world. This year we will have 68 oral presentations and over 600 posters which will collectively contribute to another outstanding scientific program. As the Program Chair, there is no one more aware of the scientific effort and the quality work that is represented by the many abstracts that could not be accepted because of time and space constraints inherent in our meeting schedule. All of the investigators who submitted scientific abstracts to this year's meeting should be congratulated and thanked for their contribution to our Society's success.
      The scientific program is also notable for the amazing research being done by our Maternal-Fetal Medicine fellows. Maternal-Fetal Medicine fellows submitted over 200 scientific abstracts and in addition to the 8 oral presentations in the Fellows Plenary Session there are 12 other fellow presentations among the oral concurrent sessions. The research being done by our fellows includes both clinical and basic science that is on the cutting edge of our specialty. Prominent among these are the SMFM/AAOGF Scholars. These 3 year research fellowships sponsored by the SMFM Foundation have paired some of our brightest young minds with career investigators both within and outside of our specialty. These individuals are providing the research foundation for the obstetrical advances that will benefit the women and children of the next generation. As a member of the SMFM, you should be proud of this contribution that you are making to the future of our specialty.
      For the first time this year, the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology will offer an opportunity for pre-meeting submission and early publication of selected manuscripts accepted for oral presentation. This is in addition to the Journal's special supplement of meeting abstracts and the majority of two monthly issues which the Journal already devotes to the proceedings of the Society of Maternal-Fetal Medicine annual meeting.
      In another exciting advancement, this year's line-up of post graduate courses will feature a collaborative effort between our Society and the North American Society of Obstetrical Medicine to provide an outstanding review of medical complications of pregnancy and their management. NASOM is just one of several societies with an interest in pregnancy outcome that have sought out relationships with SMFM.
      Other evidence of the progressive growth of our Society is the impressive array of satellite events both preceding and following the meeting proper. Amy Murtha and George Macones will reprise workshops on laboratory techniques and advanced research design that they initiated last year which have been developed primarily for fellows in training and junior investigators. Also preceding the annual meeting will be a hands-on critical care workshop brought to the Society by Brian Brost and other members of the Society for Obstetric Anesthesia and Perinatology (SOAP). On the Saturday following the meeting, Karin Nelson will bring her expertise to the Society with an update on hypercoagulable states, placental vascular pathology, and stroke in the fetus or newborn. In addition, the SMFM will co-sponsor an important state of the science symposium on nuchal translucency measurement and first trimester prenatal diagnosis. These satellite workshops and symposia contribute both greater variety and depth to our annual meeting and are a testament to the important role that our meeting now plays in advancing obstetrical knowledge.
      The SMFM is pleased to once again have its annual meeting co-sponsored by the March of Dimes who have partnered with us in our mutual fight against prematurity and its consequences. Participation in the SMFM corporate partnership program continues to grow as evidenced by the lengthy list of patrons and benefactors. Our scientific forums have evolved into significant mini symposia bringing together experts and interested clinicians to review current and controversial issues in areas of special interest ranging from computers to fetal surgery.
      This evolution did not happen on its own. The dramatic development of our Society has been accomplished on the shoulders of giants who have come before us; some of whom will be honored at this year's meeting. More immediately, however, there are a number of remarkable individuals that I must thank for their assistance with this challenging but rewarding responsibility. First and foremost, is our Executive Director, Pat Stahr who has guided me at every step in this process. There is not a single aspect of this meeting that doesn't have her fingerprints on it and we are all indebted to her and her dedicated, hard-working, and knowledgeable staff. The Society's acknowledgment must also go to George Saade (Poster Chair), Nancy Chescheir (Postgraduate Course Chair) and Robin Field (Scientific Forum Chair) for their contributions to this year's meeting. Thanks also go to all of those Society members who so willingly agreed to serve as judges and session moderators, as general and senior reviewers, and as our Master Series Luncheon Roundtable speakers.
      Finally, I would like to personally thank my Executive Assistant, Francis Mims, whose support and friendship have made so many things possible for me; my mentor, former SMFM President, Peter VanDorsten; our current Society President, Jef Ferguson; and all of our Board of Directors for their encouragement and confidence. I hope you find this year's 25th Annual Meeting of the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine in Reno, Nevada to be an enjoyable and educational meeting. In the words of Pat Stahr “There is going to be more action at the meeting than at the craps table”. I am truly honored to serve the Society as the Program Chair and I believe that each member of our Society can be very proud of what we have become over the past 25 years.