Happy Summer, everyone! Well, except those of us in the Southern Hemisphere, where, unfortunately, it is winter.
The summer is often a time when things slow down, but not for the SRS this summer. I want to update you on a few things happening with your society:
SLEEP 2017 Review
From all reports, the Program Committee did another exceptional job putting together an amazing scientific program at SLEEP. Thank you and congratulations to SRS representative on Program: Ravi Allada, Robbie Green, Frank Scheer, and Anne Germain. I also want to thank Robbie for this service on the Program Committee. He ended his term at this year’s meeting. Finally, let me welcome John Peever as the newest SRS member of the Program Committee. We look forward to your contribution.
One piece of feedback we received at the Membership meeting in Boston was that rooms for many of the science sessions were too small. We took that concern to the APSS Board meeting later that day. While the facility limits the room size, staff and the Program Committee will look carefully at data from past years to determine which types of sessions needed larger rooms. They will then use that information as they predict attendance numbers for next year’s meeting and assigns rooms. Thank you for your feedback on this issue. I am glad we could take immediate action to respond.
Another item raised at the Membership meeting was the lack of diversity among this year’s SRS Award winners. As my response noted, I agree we need to do better. Since 2007, 36%, 27%, and 18% of Award winners (Distinguished Scientist, Outstanding Scientific Achievement, and Educator, respectively) were women. Sadly, not a single woman or member of any other underrepresented group was nominated by our members in any category this year. The Board has made changes to the nomination and awards process for next year that may help. Importantly, though, we need our members to consider diversity of all types when they nominate individuals for these awards. Calls for the 2018 awards will be announced this fall. Please be thinking about whom you would like to see win.
On a positive note, 54% of the recipients of the Sleep Research Society Foundation and Outstanding Early Investigator awards, since these programs began, have been women. The SRS must continue to look for ways to celebrate and promote its diversity.
Even with all the… um … interesting news coming out of Washington, we continue to make headway in advancing sleep and circadian research within the federal government. As proof positive of the fruits of our efforts, see below in this email update for language the Senate inserted into their Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Bill for FY2018. Thank you to the Advocacy Task Force, Chaired by Allan Pack, as well as our Washington Partners, Health and Medicine Council of Washington, for their hard work in this area.
SRS Meeting 2019
You may have also heard the SRS plans to hold a stand-alone meeting in early 2019. This will be a small, intimate meeting focused on the theme, “Frontiers in Sleep and Circadian Science”. The Scientific Offerings Committee, Chaired by Martica Hall, is putting together a cutting edge program as we speak. Please watch for more information and plan to attend.
Strategic Plan Review
As you may have heard me say in Boston, this year is Year 4 in our Strategic Plan. In August, the Board will be systematically reviewing progress to date and working with our Committees to determine how we can continue to make progress the rest of this year. That will all be in preparation for President-elect Andy Krystal leading us through an update of the Strategic Plan designed to make sure the SRS can stay any important player in helping to advance the sleep and circadian field and benefit our members.
Sean P.A. Drummond, PhD