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Looking Back and Moving Forward

Monday, December 23, 2013

Looking back on 2013, I am proud of the way our leadership team of task force, committee and board members has pulled together to meet challenges and create new opportunities. You are an amazing group of professionals and I am proud of our active Sleep Research Society. Our Executive Director, Jerry Barrett, and the staff at the SRS headquarters have continued to offer creative solutions to challenges and have provided strong support for our society in 2013. John Noel has led the SRS support team and has done a wonderful job helping the SRS keep our various leadership activities moving forward and on target, and I am grateful for all their hard work.

It has been a successful year with respect to our Government Relations activities, working as individual members and as a professional society with the help of the Health and Medicine Counsel of Washington. We are greatly appreciative of all that Congressman Hank Johnson of Georgia, Congressman Bill Foster of Illinois, and Congressman Mike Honda of California have done to champion sleep and circadian health awareness. These Congressmen have worked hard to bring our message about the importance of sleep and circadian research to Congress. In particular, Congressman Hank Johnson sponsored a briefing that the SRS co-hosted, focusing on the advances and opportunities in sleep health. Congressman Mike Honda also wrote a letter to Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the NIH, about the value of sleep and circadian research and the necessity of implementing the NIH Sleep Disorders Research Plan. These efforts laid the foundation for the Senate Appropriations Committee to include strong recommendations to the NIH in its fiscal year 2014 appropriations bill, which urged NIH to continue the implementation of the NIH Sleep Disorders Research Plan and to initiate new training programs in sleep and circadian sciences. Currently, the SRS board of directors is planning the next steps for sponsoring another congressional briefing in 2014.

In 2013 we saw the launch of the Sleep Research Society Foundation/Jazz Pharmaceuticals Early Career Development Research Awards, and we are proud of this year’s recipients:  Joseph Dzierzewski, PhD; Jimmy Fraigne, PhD; and See Wan Tham, MBBS. Jazz also will be providing support for our upcoming Trainee Symposia Series at SLEEP 2014 in Minneapolis in June. We are grateful to Jazz for their generous support of our early career stage and trainee members!

In 2014 we will begin in earnest to review our strategic plan. In preparation for this active process, I ask you to review the SRS website and recent issues of the SRS Bulletin. Perhaps you will find a few quiet moments to reflect on what your society means to you, what initiatives are most important, and what the SRS could do to help you on your professional scientific path. Please share your thoughts with me at jmullington@srsnet.orgAs the year comes to a close, I also encourage you to think about volunteering in 2014 to help build a stronger scientific community for sleep and circadian researchers.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season, and I wish you prosperity and success in 2014!

Janet Mullington, PhD
SRS President