President’s Corner: Suzan Carmichael


This is a very exciting time to be part of SPER.  We are embarking on many new activities, which all support our core values as a Society and show that we are continually growing.  Here are some highlights.

* The Congress

For the first time, we’re an official sponsor of the Epidemiology Congress of the Americas; co-sponsors include ACE, APHA, IEA, and SER

– Russ Kirby, Robert Platt and Martha Werler (all past SPER Presidents) are each playing key roles in planning the Congress

– Have a look at the preliminary program  – it’s full of sessions devoted to reproductive/perinatal/pediatric issues, many being led by SPER members

– SPER is sponsoring a symposium entitled “A Critical Period? Prenatal Exposures and Health,” chaired by Martha Werler and our former SPER student rep Samantha Parker

* Outreach

We’ve been making new strides in outreach efforts.  Keeping existing members, as well as bringing in new ones, are both critical to our continued intellectual growth and leadership as a Society for reproductive/perinatal/pediatric epidemiology.  We’ve been making some steps toward this goal and hope to make more in the future.

– We will have a booth at the Congress to spread the word about SPER

– Our International Liaison, Jennifer Zeitlin, has been making sure that the word gets out about our meeting and our travel awards to our international colleagues

– Our Student Representative, Cassie Gibbs Pickens, has been keeping us ‘current’ via Tweets and postings on our Facebook page

– Thanks to Sue Bevan, we have a re-vamped web-site, which she is continually updating as our meeting develops

– Other ideas?  Let us know!

* Trainee support

We’re trying out a couple of new efforts to recognize and support trainees – which has always been a core value of SPER

– We’re offering travel awards for trainees (deadline Feb. 5) and will have a poster award for trainees at the Annual Meeting.  If we have adequate interest and support, we hope to continue these activities at future meetings.

* Annual Meeting updates

– Our keynote speaker is Sandro Galea, MD, DrPH, Dean, Professor, School of Public Health, Boston University. The title of his talk is “The principles of population health science: Implications for perinatal and pediatric epidemiology research.” His talk will be based on his new book, “Population Health Science,” which he co-authored with Katherine Keyes, PhD and is slated to be published by Oxford University Press in the middle of 2016.

– We will have a panel discussion on opening night related to epidemiologic perspectives on precision medicine (exact title TBD).  The panel will be led by Nigel Paneth and include co-presenters Donna Arnett, Sandro Galea, Michael Joyner, and Muin Khoury.

– The rest of the agenda awaits us seeing the Abstracts…

* We need you!

We absolutely depend on our members to continue our improvements and to stay strong.  So, here are a few calls to you to help out!

– Volunteer to help with the Annual Meeting and Congress – We need volunteers to help with the Congress Fun Run, our booth at the Congress, poster judging, the development of morning Round Table discussions at the SPER meeting….  These are all great opportunities to get more involved and get to know colleagues.  Email me ( if you’re willing.

– Submit applications for our prizes – This is a great opportunity to recognize your colleagues!  We have the Student Prize Paper and Mentoring, and Rising Star Awards (see below for deadlines).

– Nominate yourself or others for office – Yes, it’s work, but it’s also very rewarding (really!).  We can’t function without the generous contributions of our members who take on these roles.  If you believe in SPER, just do it.  Nominations are due March 1, 2016.  See below for more information.

Thanks for reading, and hopefully sharing my enthusiasm.  Have a wonderful 2016, and we hope to see you in Miami.