MLA President 20022003
Seeking Our Edge: Update from the President
Seeking our Edge: May
Well, Pat, this will be my last update as presidentmost of the month belongs to you. I will miss reflecting on MLA activities and on my adventures visiting members around the country each month, I'm happy to pass the baton. I can't think of anyone in whom MLA should have more confidence in assuming leadership of our association than you. So I wish you the best the luck, and I offer all the support you need to achieve your goals this year.
So, what about May. Foremost on my mind, of course, are memories of the annual meeting in San Diego. Cowabunga, what a meeting it wasfrom the superb plenary sessions to the section programming, to the informal chats and the social events. It seemed the culmination of an incredibly productive year as I described in my President's Address, Peak Performance: Librarians on the Crest of a Wave. All our members answered my challenge last May to consider themselves "Extreme Librarians" in all that they do, both at their institutions and within the association. I felt their energy all year, and I felt it at the meeting. It was a wonderful feeling!
So, Pat - I'm sure you have your thoughts of how discussions and actions at the meeting support and help focus your priorities for the coming year. One that comes to my mind is how best to follow up on the many ideas generated from the Open Forum on Scholarly Publishing, including how to carry forth the vision of Lawrence Lessig's Creative Commons. Another is how to sustain the momentum of our recruitment and retention efforts, including a focus on mentoring. We heard some great ideas from enthusiastic LIS students who joined us at lunch for a pizza partywe need to harness their energy and their fresh perspective, and get them involved in MLA projects as soon as possible.
I'm sure there are more, but I think I'll leave all the remaining heavy thinking to you! Oh, by the way, did I mention that I wrote this after the annual meeting while relaxing at a resort in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico? I think my days reading by the pool and "catching the waves" in the surf have had the intended effect. I returned home, renewed, refreshed and ready to serve MLA as Past President. So, over to you, Pat!
Seizing our Power: May
Linda, thanks for your wonderful leadership over the past year. You are definitely a hard act to follow - your energy and vision have really moved the Association forward on key initiatives and long-term strategies. Your priorities have started us on the path of addressing important issues in our field. And you have helped us establish our future directions with MLA's new strategic plan. Congratulations on a very successful presidential year!
Like Linda, I came away from the San Diego very energized. I was amazed at the positive attitudes evident throughout the conference even though our profession is facing some tough issues. Meeting with the MLA student members was a wonderful experience. We talked about what initially drew them to the library field and how we could recruit additional students into health sciences. These discussions underscored the importance of recruiting and mentoring bright young professionals, who will be our future members and leaders. The mentoring program was another great opportunity for members to consider alternate pathways for career and personal development. Again, our newer members reminded us of the diversity of our membership and the need to develop innovative ways to keep everyone engaged within the association. I think we all caught the wave excitement at the San Diego meeting as we considered new possibilities and opportunities for libraries and librarians as well as identified some creative responses to the issues before us.
Scholarly publication is a crucial issue and not that MLA or we as libraries can easily resolve. A week after the annual meeting, I attended an excellent conference at the National Academies of Science on electronic publishing. The news was not great for libraries in terms of escalating prices. Both society and commercial publishers are experiencing real increases in costs due to e-formats and these are not offset by the savings in the elimination printing, paper, and mailing. Most of the costs of journals are still found in the editing and peer review process, and now publishers must implement IT structures to support the electronic world. Long-term archiving has additional costs that must be factored in as well. The overall message was that prices will not decrease and will probably continue to increase in the future. But several society and commercial publishers are challenging how costly e-journals need to be and are suggesting that publishers look closely at the IT industry for ways to share costs and implement more cost-effective publishing methods. The publishing industry is facing a major transformation that they must embrace to be successful in the future.
Those publishers present at the meeting did hear the message that our libraries and our institutions cannot keep pace with the price increases. Library budgets are flattening, if not decreasing. Libraries are also tired of the big deals and want selected collections, not just everything a publisher has to offer. As libraries are forced to drop subscriptions and expensive collections, some publishers and publications may seize to exist.
What can we do? As many suggested at the scholarly publishing forum, we need to educate the authors and editors in our institutions about the costs of e-journals. These are the true customers for publishers as they compete for the experts who write and review their content. And these are the customers who are demanding increased functionality and new electronic features that drive up development costs for publishers. We need to let our administrators and faculty know about the costs of e-journals and the crisis facing libraries, and make them aware of alternatives to traditional publishing.
MLA is already analyzing the suggestions from the open forum and will be considering methods for educating MLA members and providing you with tools for reaching out to authors and editors within our institutions.
Creative Commons is one of the many alternatives to the standard publishing paradigm and traditional copyright ownership. The MLA Board has already decided that we need to investigate how we can apply this new approach to all our association publications and have asked the Publications Committee to further investigate this. As members, we can also pursue this within our individual institutions. My library is currently considering how we can license our newsletter, online tutorials and other Web publications through Creative Commons. In addition to supporting this copyright alternative, we will promote this to our faculty. As I talk to educators, they are very excited about the possibility of freely sharing their work for non-profit uses while not losing control over or recognition of their intellectual property. Creative Commons seems to answer their concerns.
But scholarly publishing is one of many critical issues before us and we need to continue with our recruitment efforts, responsive educational programs, and effective use of MLANET as a valuable resource to members. So I am looking forward to a busy and exciting year, and working with our members on MLA's priorities and ongoing initiatives, which will address the tough issues facing us and continue to promote our value to the biomedical and health care communities.
Seeking our Edge: April
On April 2nd, we dodged a number of demonstrators on Capitol Hill, since the Supreme Court was hearing the University Michigan case on affirmative action. Nonetheless, our three teams got to our visits on time and had productive talks with the staff of 13 members of the House and Senate. We focused on thanking the senators and congresspeople for supporting the doubling of the NIH budget (including that of NLM) over the past 5 years, and the need for significant increases to continue. We also encouraged their support of HR107 - the "Digital Media Consumers' Rights Act of 2003", a bill introduced by Congressmen Boucher of Virginia and Doolittle of California to reaffirm fair use in a networked environment and undo some of the potential damage of the DMCA. At lunch at the Library of Congress, we met with Jinnet Fowles who is working with Senator Hilary Clinton on health care reform issues. In the coming year, we may need to dust off the Health Care Reform statement developed by the TF in 1993! In the afternoon, Carla and I had a chance to present Congressman Young of Florida with an MLA Award of Merit to recognize his strong support and commitment to the National Library of Medicine. We were joined by Don Lindberg for the photo op!
That evening the Joint TF hosted a reception at the Rayburn building honoring our partners in national health information policy, and I was also able to present Dale Dirks, President of Health and Medicine Counsel of Washington, with an MLA Honorary Membership.
Also in April, because of my membership on the PubMed Central National Advisory Committee, I was privileged to attend an invitational meeting at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Chevy Chase, Maryland joined by some 30 scientists, granting agencies, publishers, librarians and others to discuss the topic of Open Access Publishing. We drafted a definition of Open Access, some general principles and specific steps that various constituencies should take to further the progress of Open Access. I'll be able to share more about this over the summer so stay tuned.
April is the month for preparations for the Annual Meeting. The Board and I spent time finalizing the MLA Strategic Plan for posting on MLANET and presentation in San Diego. I spent time writing and illustrating my Presidents Address.
Seeking our Edge: March
Also this month, I had the opportunity to appoint former MLA President J. Michael Homan, AHIP, along with Executive Director Carla J. Funk, CAE, to represent MLA at the World Congress on Fair Use and Libraries being organized by ALA in New York City for November 2004. The congress is "intended to expand the global conversation among librarians on the importance of the exceptions and limitations on copyright." Stay tuned for more information.
I hope you had an opportunity to view the MLA teleconference on March 12, "Get Hip to HIPPA: Health Information Professionals and the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act." All the presenters were very knowledgeable, but I thought Jane Blumenthal, AHIP, director at Georgetown University's medical library, was especially convincing as a strong advocate for the key partnership role of the librarian in HIPAA planning and implementation. If you were unable to participate, official videotapes of the program are available for purchase.
I worked this month on planning the "Open Forum on Scholarly Publishing" scheduled for May 4 at MLA '03 in San Diego. Please take the time to add your concerns and ideas about these complex issues to the Web discussion on MLANET. The discussion site will be open until April 25, and will provide background for discussion at the Open Forum.
Seeking our Edge: February
OK, on to more serious things!
Did you see the February 1st issue of Library Journal? There is an article on recruitment and retention that has the following quote about MLA: "The Medical Library Association's MLANET also outdoes ALA. This invigorating site offers medical librarianship brochures in both English and Spanish. There are also tip sheets, both for new librarians and for those entering the field as second careers. There are links for career exploration and resources and online career fairs, as well as a list of U.S. and Canadian library schools divided by state and province." [Read Michael Rogers' full Library Journal article...]
And, in a February 24, 2003, USNews.com article on careers, librarians are considered a "hot ticket"! Our MLA Task Force to Plan Recruitment for the Twenty-First Century Workforce, chaired so ably by Elizabeth Irish, has done such wonderful work since its inception in September 2001 that the MLA Board just established an "Ad Hoc Recruitment to the Profession Committee" to maintain the Task Force's momentum, as its own two-year term comes to a close in September 2003. Members to this new committee will be appointed later this year by President-Elect Pat Thibodeau.
I also want to recognize here the heroic effort that Jeannine Gluck has made as MLA's representative to the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, along with MLA Executive Director Carla Funk. Following notice to the Hospital Library Section membership in the February 5th issue of "HLS Announce" about the proposed revisions to the JCAHO Information Management standards, Jeannine participated in the IM Working Group meeting in Chicago on February 25th. Jeannine has worked tirelessly to represent hospital librarians, and we owe her much thanks for this difficult task.
Seeking Our Edge: January
January has been an active month for national headlines about some of the information access issues we worry about. I believe this is to our advantage as we seek to educate our users and the public about the implications of both legal decisions and commercial interests. To highlight just some of the stories:
Also in January, the fallout of RoweCom's financial difficulties became more evident and was reported in the news and in publications such as the Chronicle of Higher Education. We should all be proud of MLA's quick action on this issue including mounting a very informative Website and our success in persuading AMA to extend subscriptions to the affected MLA-member libraries through at least March. My thoughts go out to all you who are trying to cope with this situation.
The MLA Board, at its January 2003 meeting, had considerable discussion about publishing concerns, and is considering a number of both near and long term strategies to address the issues. Look for more information soon about an Open Forum at MLA '03 in San Diego as one step in the process of both informing you and seeking your input on MLA's advocacy role.
Congratulations to all those members elected to serve the Association, and my thanks to all who agreed to be considered for these important leadership positions. We are fortunate to have so much talent within our Association to draw upon. Speaking of talent, two new task forces have gotten underway with much energy and enthusiasm: the Health Information Literacy Task Force, chaired by Neil Rambo and the Task Force to Develop MLA's Center for Research and Education (CORE) chaired by Connie Schardt.
Seeking Our Edge: December
Last month I mentioned that we had the opportunity to include a small pilot group of hospital libraries for the spring 2003 LibQual+ project. Carla identified several enthusiastic benchmarking libraries, but the ARL coordinators of LibQual+ decided at the last minute that they would need to wait until 2004 to include another library-type in their study. So, we'll plan for then.
I hope many of you had the opportunity to attend the excellent satellite teleconference on December 11th that MLA sponsored with its sister library associations on "Safeguarding our Patron's Privacy: What Every Librarian Needs to Know about the USA Patriot Act and Related Anti-Terrorism Measures". I know that I gained additional insights into the steps we need to take to prepare our libraries for possible challenges to patron confidentiality, and how essential a good partnership is with our administrators and legal counsel.
A revised version of the Strategic Plan went out to you all this month for your comments by the end of January 2003. You will see that it is much pared down from the original - we took to heart your suggestions that we be simple and concise! At the January meeting of the MLA Board will incorporate any additional changes in preparing the final version, so please let us know what you think.
MLA issued two press releases this month promoting our role and our values. We followed up on Michael Homan's article in Healthleaders Online, "The Role of Medical Librarians in Reducing Medical Errors," which according to a report that Michael received from the publisher, had registered approximately 7,500 page views since September. We also issued a statement regarding open access to health information, following reports of the removal of health information from government-sponsored Web sites.
Seeking Our Edge: November
Catch the Wave is the theme for our May meeting, and waves were the talk of the Pacific coast as a huge winter storm rolled in hammering the coast further north near San Francisco. Waves are all about energy, and there was energy aplenty at the site visit meeting as we put plans for the final stretch into place. We are so excited about the huge number of paper and poster submissionsthe most everrepresenting the extreme talents and energy of members. Besides the wonderful program, you are going to love the Town and Country. Be sure and look for the preliminary program in January in the mail and on MLANET.
From San Diego, I flew to San Francisco for the Association of American Medical Colleges meeting. At the business meeting of the Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries (AAHSL) there, I presented AAHSL president Rick Forsman with a commemorative gavel and read a resolution from MLA in recognition of AAHSL's 25th Anniversary. Can you believe that AAHSL had survived for 25 years with only a "virtual gavel"? While at the meeting, Carol Jenkins, Pat Thibodeau and I had a chance to meet with Martha Kyrillidou from the Association of Research Libraries about the possibility of a small pilot group of MLA hospital libraries participating in the LIBQual+ Survey. Carla is following up on this option. We are also exploring ways to make ARL workshops and CE courses more visible and available to our members.
Winging my way from the east coast to the west and back, I took a stab at revising the MLA Future document (our strategic thinking document) based on the input received on the August web forum and at the chapter meetings this fall. Carla did the same. We compared and merged notes, and are working on a new draft. That next draft will be posted on MLANET shortly. Thanks to all of you who shared your "extreme thinking" with us as we envision our future together.
On November 15, I was interviewed by a writer for Research!America's monthly newsletter, Membership Matters, for their January issue. Research!America (R!A) is a national public education and advocacy alliance dedicated to making medical and health research a higher national priority. MLA joined R!A last year, and this was an opportunity for us to be introduced to their membership, with a focus on our advocacy in support of biomedical research and our own health information research agenda. Look for an article about R!A by Carla in the January MLA News.
Finally, while in San Francisco, my husband and I were awed by a performance of Cirque du Soleil. As the talented acrobats flew through the air with the greatest of ease, and otherwise did things with their bodies that defied belief, a number of words came to mind that define our environments in perhaps not quite so dramatic ways: training and conditioning, flexibility and nimbleness, balance, juggling five things at once without dropping the ball, trust in team members, energy, fun, exceeding expectations of the audience. Doesn't that sound familiar, like someone you know? As we celebrate Thanksgiving this year with family and friends, I am thankful to all of you for possessing those marvelous skills, and for the difference you make to your world.
Seeking Our Edge: October
This was a particularly enjoyable visit since I was an SCC member from 1985-90; there were many familiar faces. I was especially thrilled to receive an honorary armadillo pin (the armadillo is the official mascot of the Chapter). I hated to leave before the end of the meeting because I understand that the partying at the Buckhorn Saloon and Museum was not to be missed!
Next was my own chapter, the Mid-Atlantic Chapter meeting in Washington, DC, also attended by Beverly Bradley of headquarters staff. MAC is particularly distinguished by being home to the current MLA President (me), Past-President (Carol Jenkins) and President-Elect (Pat Thibodeau), along with a past-past-past President (Frieda Weiss). This was our 50th Anniversary Celebration, so I was especially pleased to be able to present the group with an honorary gavel from MLA and to read a resolution from the MLA Board of Directors. We were entertained by a wonderful multimedia presentation of MAC history in the context of key milestones in our profession set to music appropriate to each passing decade.
Finally, on to Nashville to join the Southern Chapter at their meeting already in progress. Carla Funk represented MLA headquarters. The banquet was an elegant affair at the Frist Museum, housed in the former post office building. What fortunate timing that an exhibit of works by Whistler and Sargent was opened for our post-dining pleasure for those who could be dragged from the dance floor! This Chapter knows how to do a business meeting - complete with a musical tribute to the chapter by an interesting cast of characters including "Dolly Parton".
During the month, other MLA Board members were attending chapter meetings in other parts of the country. A major goal is to bring chapter members up-to-date on MLA activities, and listen for new concerns or ideas that MLA should explore. We held Strategic Thinking feedback forums whenever possible, and were so pleased with the thoughtful and enthusiastic participation during those sessions. We hope to have a revised version of the MLA Future document up on MLANET soon based on your ideas and insight.
Seeking Our Edge: September 2002
We also received from the Informationist Task Force an Action Plan which recommends areas for further exploration of the concept. This will be posted on MLANET shortly. Also, be sure to look for the report of the April Informationist Conference in the October issue of JMLA.
From Chicago, Evelyn Shaevel and I flew to New Hampshire to join the North Atlantic Health Sciences Librarians at their chapter meeting from September 22-24 in the shadow of Mount Washington (the highest peak in New England). It was a beautiful setting, although warm for this time of year. My biggest disappointment was not spotting a moose!
CE had taken place on Saturday, and included two courses that caught my eye: one, "Concepts in Pulmonology" directly addressed the Informationist concept of enhancing our domain knowledge. Another was entitled "Running with the Squirrels: Providing Library Services to Hospital Administrators." I wonder if running with the squirrels is the same as swimming with the sharks? The keynote program was on the topic of information overload, with presentations by Mary Ellen Bates and Rosalind Lett. The afternoon sessions focused on digital resources with presentations on firewalls and proxy servers; clinical resources; and licensing digital resources. I had to leave Tuesday morning, but that program included a series of talks on high tech trends including electronic document delivery, remote reference, and PDAs. I was proud of my New England roots after interacting with my very creative and resourceful Yankee colleagues!
If you are not familiar with the "information therapy" concept, you may want to check out their website at www.informationtherapy.org, where conference proceedings are posted. The major force behind this is Healthwise, Inc, from Boise, Idaho, with support at this meeting from the California Health Care Foundation, Group Health Cooperative, Health Dialog, Inc, VHA, and Kaiser Permanente. There were about 150 participants including a large contingent from Kaiser and Healthwise, several health plan types, a VP from VHA, institutional Website managers, representatives from Web-based technology companies, marketing and patient education folks, a few university faculty, and me - the only librarian as far as I can tell.
On the last day, nine of us had the opportunity to take five minutes to pitch our vision for Information Therapy. Everyone in the audience had five $100,000 play-money bills with which to "vote" for the ideas that they would invest in. Seven of the presentations were real sales people, pitching their existing product; one woman made a plea for someone to develop a video on health literacy for low-literate individuals, and I presented the MLA and our members as information experts and willing partners in educating consumers about quality Web sites; assisting clinicians in identifying and filtering evidence-based information, and teaching the next-generation health professionals how to prepare themselves for a life-time of using quality information to make better clinical decisions. I told them: @sk your medical librarian to join your team. When the votes came in, the winner with "$9 million" was a Web-based system for remote doctor/patient consult; in second place with "$6 million" was the plea for a Health Literacy video, and (drum-roll, please) in third place with "$5 million" was MLA! I must tell you that throughout the conference, in hallway and cocktail conversations, I had nothing but a totally positive reaction when I introduced myself as a medical librarian. Somehow we need to translate the admiration and trust we garner on a personal level, to a higher profile (and a less taken-for-granted one!) within our institutions and in society.
Altogether, three teams of us visited a total of 16 congressional offices in support of the NIH/NLM budget, NLM's new facility plans, and the TEACH Act. We also expressed our concern with potential database legislation being introduced by the commercial sector in the next session that could further restrict access to important facts and other data. We received a warm welcome in all the offices - again, medical librarians are a respected group, and we should be proud of ourselves and our reputation!
Seeking Our Edge: August 2002
The theme of the IFLA Conference was Libraries for Life: Democracy, Diversity, Delivery. One speaker from the Netherlands spoke of space and conceptual planning for public libraries and envisioned "extreme libraries" in hotels, grocery stores and gas stations combined with large futuristic regional depositories for research and archival collections. I attended an industry update by Elsevier Science CEO Derk Haank including their announcement of an agreement with the National Library of the Netherlands to be the first official digital archive for Elsevier Science journals. The Health and Biosciences Libraries Division included presentations by BioMed Central publisher Jan Veltrop on new publishing paradigms, and by Pru Dalrymple on the impact of medical informatics on librarianship and its implications for the Informationist [http://www.ifla.org/IV/ifla68/papers/098-115e.pdf]. Miriam Pollack from Chicago described a very interesting public library program on presenting the many facets of the Human Genome project [http://www.ifla.org/IV/ifla68/papers/135-115e.pdf].
A highlight on Tuesday night was a special performance for IFLA attendees by students at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama at the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow. The combination of traditional Scottish music, classical, and big band sound was riveting.
On Thursday, I traveled to Edinburgh for a tour of the Royal College of Physicians by library director Iain Milne, and learned about their challenges of preservation and access in a historic building. That evening, after a reception at the National Museums of Scotland, we braved a brief downpour to file onto bleachers on the esplanade of Edinburgh Castle for a highlight of the trip - the Military Tattoo. You can get a glimpse of it http://www.edinburgh-tattoo.co.uk. It's hard to describe the impact of a cast of 1200 pipers, military bands, horses, Scottish dancers, and even a band from the Netherlands on bicycles! It really was magnificent and something I'll never forget.
Seeking Our Edge: July 2002
At the ALA meeting in June, Carla Funk, Pat Thibodeau and Jocelyn Rankin attended the Campaign for America's Librarians advocacy training session entitled "Advocating for Better Salaries and Pay Equity." I encourage you to review ALA's advocacy toolkit (http://www.ala.org/pio/advocacy/better_salariestoolkit.pdf).
MLA has been busy in this area as well on your behalf. Some highlights include the recently issued Hay Group/MLA 2001 Compensation and Benefits Survey, with an executive summary available on MLANET; and the Value of Information Study that was reported at the annual meeting (see the meeting handout [PDF, 436KB]) and in the July JMLA. Our Benchmarking Network, our Hay Group study comparing salaries of IT workers and librarians, and the public relations work that PCI is pursuing, including our inclusion in the Pew Internet and American Life Study and attempts at placing stories in the journals and newsletters that our administrators read, are all meant as tools to help you better position yourselves in your institutions. We're working on updating our MLA Librarian's Survival Kit to incorporate these new resources.
Speaking of publicity, on July 22nd, National Public Radio's (NPR) Morning Edition had a story reported by Joe Palca, "Keeping Up with Medical Research a Challenge for Doctors" (RealPlayer audio file, approx 4 1/2 minutes), about the inability of physicians to keep up-to-date with new medical information. The fact that this issue continues to receive national attention is a good thing for us; our task is to determine how best to ensure that health sciences librarians are routinely seen as part of the solution. Carla, PCI and I crafted a response back to NPR (PDF, 71KB) that was sent July 24th.
Early this month, our draft strategic thinking document entitled MLA's Future: Issues, Challenges and Choices was posted on MLANET with a Web-based comment area. Please take advantage of this opportunity to help us clarify our priorities and our pathway toward a desired future.
On July 15, Carla and I attended the NLM/MLA Leiter Lecture given by Francis Collins, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, NIH. I hope you took advantage of the webcast of his fascinating talk, "Genomics, Medicine, and Society". You can find the archived version by searching at http://videocast.nih.gov/PastEvents.asp?c=4, or link directly to the hour and 26 minute lecture at http://videocast.nih.gov/ram/nhgri071502.ram (RealPlayer required to view). Carla and I also took the opportunity to meet with Don Lindberg, Kent Smith and Betsy Humphreys about mutual interests and future plans.
Finally, my library has been engaged in strategic planning this month, and at the urging of our new Vice President and Dean, we were encouraged to be innovative and risk-taking. One of my faculty found the following quotation, which applies equally well to my vision of how MLA and our profession needs to think:
"Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary." --- Sir Cecil Beaton, British costume designer
Seeking Our Edge: June 2002
In my inaugural speech, I said that we share the leadership responsibility for our profession. The success of our Association's work depends on the personal skills, talents and energies of all of you, the members, and the wisdom and hard work of the Board, Committees, Task Forces, Sections, Chapters and Headquarters staff as we harness good ideas and turn them into effective programs and services. We are currently exploring a number of important topics. To help you track them, we are adding a new feature on MLANET - a page that identifies areas of current and emerging interest, and provides ways for you to participate in the deliberations. And of course, you can always contact Headquarters staff or me directly with ideas, questions, or concerns.
Earlier this month, Executive Director Carla Funk, President-Elect Pat Thibodeau and I had an opportunity to work together at a symposium sponsored by the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE). Over the past several years, the Board of Directors has begun to use a process for strategic thinking that is taught at this symposium. We've worked to assess the challenges and opportunities in our environment, envision our preferred future, and set out some possible directions to get us there. The draft document will be posted on MLANET in July, ready for your review and feedback. Look for the announcement and the link on MLA-Focus.
Thank you for electing me your President. It is an honor and a privilege. I'll do my best to represent you well.
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