|Jeffery F. Miller, Ph.D., Professor,
Microbiology, Immunology & Molecular Genetics, UCLA
Dear ASM Members:
With the national elections completed here in the United States, government leaders are no longer focused on the campaign and can finally turn their attention to our looming 'fiscal cliff.' The Budget Control Act of 2011 combined with the failure by the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to reduce the Nation's debt by $1.2 trillion is about to trigger automatic, across-the-board cuts to government spending, known as sequestration. If Congress and the administration cannot come to an agreement on a compromise, these cuts, which are set to be enacted on January 2, 2013, will have a devastating impact on the research and public health programs supported by federal agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration, the Department of Energy and others. Our Public and Scientific Affairs Board continues to work to communicate our concerns about indiscriminate cuts that would have adverse impacts on scientific research and public health. In September, they sent a Legislative Alert to members urging them to contact their representatives and senators. ASM members sent approximately 2,000 messages to members of Congress regarding the cuts. To see the alert click here.
Also, a reminder: If you haven't already renewed your membership I urge you to do so. With the new three-tiered membership starting January 1, 2013, many ASM offerings, including email listservs and our weekly newsdigest, will only be available to members. You can find out more about the new membership structure, as well as renew your membership, at http://www.asm.org/advance.
Jeff F. Miller, Ph.D.
2013 Planning Calendar
The 2013 Education Planning Calendar is now available. The calendar features deadlines, descriptions, and other information about ASM faculty and student programs, all designed to help members enhance the knowledge and skills that lead to successful careers in the microbiological sciences. Take a look and mark pertinent deadlines on your calendar so that you or your students can take advantage of ASM's many skills-sharpening opportunities.
Global Engagement: Virtual Workshops
The International Ambassador Network continues to coordinate professional development workshops in a blended-learning format, combining virtual training by topic-area experts with onsite activities. During the September-October bimonthly period, six member-only blended learning workshops were coordinated by ASM Ambassadors resulting in over 250 new members. ASM Virtual Workshops on Best Practices in Scientific Writing and Publishing have been implemented by Ambassadors in India, Poland, Colombia, Yemen and Nigeria. Workshops were promoted as ASM-member only events at universities in India and Colombia, at the national microbiology conferences in Poland and Nigeria and as part of an ASM special event in Yemen. Over 200 new members joined ASM in order to participate.
New Journal for Genome Announcements
In September, the ASM announced the launch of a new online-only, open access journal, Genome Announcements, which will focus on reports of microbial genome sequences. Designed to subsume the role currently handled by several other ASM journals, Genome Announcements will begin publishing in January 2013. Find out more about the new journal or submit a genome announcement.
Advancing Lab Strengthening Globally
The ASM's LabCap effort continues full steam ahead, with a robust set of 'micro-mentorship' activities in 8 African countries and Vietnam. In all, more than a dozen training events took place or are ongoing, involving ASM's best and brightest. From TB liquid culture, to National Strategic Planning, HIV rapid testing, QA/QC processes, biosafety, drug resistance and mycology, LabCap cast a wide net.
Changes to Select Agent Regulations
The ASM sent a regulatory alert to members in October to inform them of important changes to the select agent regulations. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) published regulatory changes to the Select Agent and Toxin rules that modify the list of Select Agents and Toxins, designate a subset of the list of Select Agents and Toxins as Tier 1 based on their risk to be deliberately misused, and change security requirements for entities possessing Tier 1 Select Agents and Toxins. The ASM played a key role in providing expert advice to government agencies and to Congress in the process to revise the select agent rule.
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