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From the president of SMFM

      Dear SMFM Members:
      As President of the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine it is my great pleasure to welcome everyone to the 27th Annual Meeting of our Society. I am especially pleased to welcome you to my favorite city, San Francisco. I believe that you will enjoy a fabulous meeting which will meet all your expectations educationally, intellectually and socially. My personal thanks and acknowledgment go to our outstanding Program Committee. These individuals include Dr. Mark Landon, with responsibility for the Scientific Forum meetings; Dr. Alessandro Ghidini, who is responsible for our outstanding postgraduate educational program; Dr. Brian Mercer, who coordinated the poster sessions; and Dr. Nancy Chescheir, our overall Program Chair, who put together the exciting plenary and oral concurrent sessions we have planned.
      This year we again set a new record for the number of abstracts submitted for consideration. The Program Committee has worked hard to expand the number of both oral and poster presentations that could be presented. Their efforts to expand the meeting as well as the breadth and quality of the science submitted, only confirms my belief that the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's Annual Meeting (The Pregnancy Meeting™) is the most important obstetrical meeting in the world today. The contributions of our SMFM membership, our international members, and guests, make for a can't miss educational experience. This program, along with a San Francisco location, makes me very proud to offer you the 27th annual meeting.
      The officers and board of the Society continue to work to improve our annual meeting. We hope that you will note and possibly take advantage of several new features that have been added to this year's meeting. As of press time is a collaboration with ObGyn.net to provide web casts of our oral presentations and pod casts of interviews with presenters for our membership. All plenary and oral concurrent sessions would be recorded and available within a few days for download by SMFM members for a limited period of time. Through prearrangement with all of our major journals, it has been determined that this limited availability service to members would not violate “prior publication” rules. Assuming adequate sponsorship can be obtained to defray attendant costs, we hope to debut in San Francisco what we believe to be a very nice expansion of services, especially to those members who are not able to attend the meeting.
      As the annual meeting has always served as an opportunity for job seekers and those with jobs to offer to get together, we have decided to try to upgrade this process. Through the leadership of Dr. Ray Bahado-Singh, this year we will offer a formal Career Fair as a service to both those looking and seeking. We are not exactly sure how well it will work this first time out, but we are enthusiastic that it will be a step forward compared to the overstuffed message board. We have also expanded opportunities for our corporate partners to exhibit their products and services to our membership without any incursion into the time set aside for our oral scientific sessions.
      I would also like to encourage all Regular Members to attend our Annual Business Meeting. Throughout the course of the year the Board works very hard on multiple projects to further the mission of the Society and the goals that the membership has outlined in prior surveys. The Society exists to serve our membership and we want to be responsive. Beyond the Society web site, the Annual Business Meeting is one of our best opportunities to update you regarding activities and to get feedback. Important issues to be discussed at this year's business meeting are proposed changes in our membership categories; our continuing efforts to advance first trimester pregnancy screening through the efforts of the NTQR program; our efforts to improve maternal-fetal medicine coding and government relations on your behalf; our efforts with ACOG to develop jointly endorsed practice bulletins and to increase MFM input into ACOG decision making; our relationships with the Gray Journal, Green Journal, and Contemporary OB/Gyn which has allowed us to publish SMFM branded articles which help to define maternal-fetal medicine practice; and our efforts to increase support for obstetrical research through the NICHD and support for young physician-scientists through collaboration with other like-minded organizations. We are also excited to announce the selection of Dr. Tom Garite as our new director of the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine Foundation, proposed changes in the mission of that Foundation and our fund raising efforts. Throughout the meeting if you have any questions that have not been answered or suggestions for improvement, please do not hesitate to stop me or any other member of our Board or e-mail any of us, via the SMFM office ( [email protected] ).
      Lastly, and on a personal note, I would like to express my gratitude to Ms. Pat Stahr, Ms. Julie Miller, Ms. Terri Mobley, and all the other SMFM staff at our Washington headquarters. Serving as the President of this Society has been a singular honor for me and I have enjoyed the opportunity tremendously. However, it can also be incredibly difficult. We are very fortunate to have Pat Stahr and her team providing the energy, organization, memory, and, most importantly, counsel to make our Society a success. These individuals bring this effort every single day and are absolutely invaluable. I offer my most sincere thanks for all they have done for both me and for the Society.
      Have a great time in San Francisco. Have a great time at our Annual Meeting, and thanks for letting me lead this organization for the past year. I will always treasure the experience and the relationships I have developed.
      Sincerely,