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Society Expands International Leadership Role

December 04, 2023

Creating Global Endocrine Leadership Coalition (GELC) and Attending More International Meetings Are Among Society’s Increased Global Activities

By Staff 

Although headquartered in the United States, the Endocrine Society is widely regarded as an international organization, drawing roughly 35% of its membership from more than 120 countries on six continents. The Society takes pride in its global leadership position, and recently has redoubled its commitment to serving endocrine research and clinical communities around the world.  

This commitment can be seen in our increased presence at international meetings, and the creation of a coalition of international endocrine organizations to address common challenges. 

Our Society is uniquely positioned to be a global leader, says Chief Medical Officer Robert Lash, MD.  

“There’s no other group that has the depth and breadth of global membership and the commitment to supporting endocrine clinicians and scientists around the world,” says Lash, who has spearheaded some of the Society’s recent international initiatives. 

“I like to think of the Society as a convener, with a mission to bring together endocrinologists and the groups to which they belong in support of our field,” he adds. “Part of this is learning how endocrinology is practiced around the world, and that’s the biggest value of attending international meetings.”  

Indeed, over the past year, more and more Society staff members and volunteer leaders have represented the organization at a growing number of international forums (see reflections below).  

Formation of GELC 

Another part of the Society’s international mission is its commitment to convening diverse voices and addressing common challenges. 

On this point, the Society in 2022 launched the Global Endocrine Leadership Coalition (GELC). The coalition’s inaugural in-person meeting at ENDO 2023 was attended by 50 leaders representing 22 international societies.  

The goal of GELC is to unite the global endocrine community and facilitate the exchange of ideas, Lash notes. Together, the groups collaboratively address emerging areas in hormone health.  

“Endocrinology is a small field that’s addressing some of society’s biggest health challenges, like diabetes, obesity, and endocrine-disrupting chemicals,” says Lash. “We can only succeed if we harness the creativity and expertise of experts from around the world.”  

Addressing Global Challenges 

One goal behind GELC is to identify challenges facing the global endocrinology community and develop solutions that are relevant to each of its members. GELC’s current focus area is on the endocrinology workforce pipeline, an area in which countries around the world are facing challenges and shortages. 

As it addresses this and other challenges, the coalition will issue findings, white papers, and recommendations that can be adopted by GELC organizations and their members. Such activities also could lead to new Society programs, publications, and initiatives. 

Building Global Leadership 

Another key element of GLEC’s mission is to foster training and networking opportunities for emerging endocrine leaders from GELC-member countries.  

In the past, the Society has supported such activities through its Global Leadership Academy (GLA), an ENDO program where early to mid-career professionals are sponsored to attend the annual meeting, network with colleagues from around the world, and take part in professional development activities.  

Since 2019, 111 global participants have attended GLA.  

As GELC continues to evolve, emerging leaders from GELC countries also will be welcome to attend the Society’s Early Career Forum (ECF), where they will join rising U.S.-based physicians and basic scientists for networking and professional development opportunities prior to ENDO.  

The Society has big plans for GLEC. The group currently is made up of roughly 30 member countries from six continents. Plans are to significantly grow GELC in size, scope, and impact, according to Steve Meyers, PhD, the Society’s Chief Strategy Officer, and Olivia Duggan, Manager of Partnerships, who both oversee the coalition. 

“The Endocrine Society is an inclusive and global society where all members, regardless of seniority or country of origin, are welcomed to play key roles in advancing endocrine science, care, and research,” says Meyers. 

Duggan adds, “By engaging diverse voices from all sides of the globe to jointly identify and tackle challenges facing the endocrine community, GELC helps all coalition members achieve our global missions.”  

The Society welcomes new global society groups to GELC. Please reach out to [email protected].  

Reports from the Field  

In addition to launching GELC, Society staff members have become a familiar presence at more and more international meetings. In the past year, the Society has participated in meetings in Turkey, Korea, Germany, Mexico, Kenya, India, and Canada. This activity helps endocrinology researchers and clinicians from other countries learn about the Society and its offerings.  

Below are some staff observations from recent international meetings: 

Ryan Kerr, Director of Marketing Communications, attended the European Society of Endocrinology’s Annual Meeting, the European Congress of Endocrinology (ECE) 2023, in Istanbul, Turkey. 

The Society exhibited a wide range of membership products, resources, and services at the event. Other Society staff attended, including the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Strategy Officer. Society members in attendance included former Society President Ursula Kaiser, who had a speaking engagement during the meeting. 

From Ryan: 

“It was an opportunity to connect with existing members but also to introduce ourselves to European hormone professionals that were not aware of our Society. We made several new contacts in the Middle East, including a contingent of Iraqi gentlemen who were very excited to become new members.” 

“Istanbul was a beautiful place, and we look forward to exhibiting at ECE next year in Stockholm!” 

Zerihun Haile-Selassie, Chief Financial Officer, attended EndoBridge 2023 Annual Meeting in Antalya, Turkey.  

EndoBridge 2023 was a three-day scientific program in October co-hosted by the Endocrine Society.  

From Zerihun: 

“I had the privilege of attending with Endocrine’s Immediate Past-President and President-Elect, who provided valuable insights into the latest advancements in the field. The scientific presentations and discussions were informative and engaging, making it a memorable and enlightening experience overall." 

“The meeting presented numerous opportunities to expand our reach to prospective members from various parts of the world, including Middle Eastern countries and Asia. It was an honor to meet with the founder, Bulent Yildiz, MD, and to co-host the EndoBridge annual meeting, where we interacted with attendees from across the globe. As part of my responsibilities, I managed the Endocrine Society Booth, where we showcased our products and services, including membership, publications, and events such as ENDO 2024, CEU, and EBR. Overall, it was a great experience to present our offerings to a diverse and engaged audience." 

“Attendees expressed keen interest in the Society's educational programs and were eager to engage further with its leadership as a global leader in the field. The event provided an excellent opportunity for physicians and scientists from around the world to interact, share their experiences and perspectives, and participate in discussions with leaders in the endocrinology community. We were proud to be co-hosts of the event, and we received a lot of positive engagement on social media and in person." 

“The EndoBridge event turned out to be a great opportunity for us as we received an overwhelming response from the attendees, who showed great interest in engaging more with our organization. The event provided a platform for physicians and scientists to learn about the latest resources available in endocrinology. We were happy to interact with people face to face and answer all of their queries. The event was an eye opener for non-members who were looking to become a part of the Endocrine Society. It was a great feeling to witness the enthusiasm of attendees towards our organization.” 

Brandon Roccio, Manager of Program Development, attended the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) in Hamburg, Germany 

The Society provided onsite logistics for the satellite symposium, “Expert Updates on the Latest Advances in the Development of Weekly Insulin Formulations.” This symposium originally was developed as a program at ENDO 2023 and was provided additional funding by Lilly to be presented at EASD to extend content to a broader global audience. It was developed in partnership with Clinical Care Options. 

From Brandon: 

“The Society is perceived as a preeminent leader in the endocrine space and continually develops programs with leading experts on relevant topics of interest and importance. As the Endocrine Society explores new opportunities to engage its current and expanding global audience, it continues its commitment to providing premier educational programs to the endocrine community around the world.”  

“In a recent member survey, the Society’s continuing medical education was ranked as one of the top five resources, in both importance and satisfaction. This is the second year in a row the Society has had a presence at EASD and demonstrates the strength of the Society’s global presence. It also serves as an important benchmark for future international educational initiatives in other regions.” 

Several staff members attended ASBMR 2023 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada: 

  • Sarah Beidleman, Manager of Marketing, 
  • Ben Wokas, Senior Manager of Member Engagement & Experience, and  
  • Rachel Kelley, Manager of Grants and Reporting. 

The Society had a booth as part of their exhibit hall to share information about the newest Bone & Mineral Special Interest Group (SIG). This year was our first time exhibiting at ASBMR since 2015, and many of the more than 2,000 attendees and exhibitors were excited to see the Society back. The Society held a networking happy hour for our Bone & Mineral SIG at a local restaurant. Our event was attended by four SIG leaders and 29 SIG members, including Society member and ASBMR Past President Peter Ebeling, MBBS, MD. Society added 22 new Bone & Mineral SIG members since the meeting, boosting the group’s membership to roughly 400 members.  

From Sarah: 

“Attendees, exhibitors, and our members were excited to see us there. It was a nice way to make the connection between endocrinology and the bone and mineral field.”

“Our presence allowed us to expand our network with a new set of professionals in the field. We were able to talk face to face with attendees and make the connection between their focus and endocrinology. We were also able to share how the Society could help them in their career with publishing discounts, networking, educational resources, and so much more. Our members were very happy to see us becoming more active in the bone and mineral field. Overall, I think it was a great success to get out there and talk face to face.” 

From Ben: 

“Everyone who walked past our booth was excited to see us there. This was the first time in a while that we've had a presence at ASBMR, and the bone and mineral community seemed overjoyed that the Society is taking an interest in their corner of the field.” 

“The B&M SIG meetup was one of the first demonstrations of the shift in SIG focus to include not just educational programming, but networking, engagement, and community cultivation. More than 30 SIG members attended, including ASBMR’s immediate past president.” 

“People pay attention to much more than just how the Society can benefit them directly. The reception we got from everyone at the ASBMR annual meeting speaks to the pride they have in their field and in their community, and how much they want to see it grow. With the Society putting more intention and interest into international, basic scientist, and topic-specific communities, we are well poised to elevate not just these areas, but the field of endocrinology as a whole.” 

From Rachel: 

“I was there to have onsite meetings with current and potential Corporate Liaison Board (CLB) company members who have pipeline therapies related to osteoporosis or rare bone disease and are also committed to improving patient health outcomes in those areas.” 

“Members were ecstatic to see the Society at the ASBMR meeting and to learn about the new Bone & Mineral SIG. Because the scope of endocrinology is so broad and includes so many therapeutic areas, sometimes members and CLB members can feel like their area is not seen as a top priority. Endocrine Society’s commitment to attending ASBMR assured those folks that we share their conviction to address clinical care and research gaps related to metabolic and rare bone diseases.” 

“From a development perspective, our attendance at this international forum helped us to secure a new CLB member company (BridgeBio). Furthermore, a current CLB partner (Ascendis Pharma) saw our commitment to global exchange of ideas and updates related to rare bone disease, specifically hypoparathyroidism, and decided to increase their membership level on our CLB. Thus, ASBMR attendance expanded and strengthened our network of industry partners.” 

Joseph Laakso, Director of Science Policy, attended the third meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) on Plastic Pollution in Nairobi, Kenya.

The meeting is part of a process under the United Nations Environment Programme to develop an internationally legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment. The Society’s role was to inform delegates about how certain chemical additives in plastic, such as bisphenols and phthalates, act as endocrine-disrupting chemicals and cause adverse effects on humans and the environment. Our messages have consistently been:

  • There should be no hazardous endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) in plastic.
  • We need production limits on plastic to reduce exposure to these chemicals.
  • Biomonitoring studies should be employed to evaluate the effectiveness of the treaty on a human health level. 

From Joseph:

“The Society was welcomed at the meeting. Our delegate Marina Fernandez, PhD, had positive discussions with members of the Group of Latin American and Caribbean Countries (GRULAC), and our messages were reinforced by the Scientists’ Coalition for an Effective Plastics Treaty.  We also had insightful discussions with members of the Women’s Major Group and Children and Youth Major Group about the scientific evidence linking EDCs in plastic to human health harms and how we can work together to advance human health through the plastic treaty process.” 

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