2 May 2016

Dear INS Members, Colleagues and Friends,

This is my second INS President's Letter and I write to let you know that the Society's leadership has been busy over the past 3 months. Very busy. Here is a snapshot: 

We revitalized the Executive Committee and, together with the Board of Directors, generated a first-ever strategic plan for the INS. Through this exercise, we reflected on the identity of the Society, our successes and gaps of the past, and our aspirations for the future. We identified four priorities and the practical steps needed to achieve them. The strategic plan is a living document, intended to be as dynamic as the dynamic Society itself. Please have a look and send your comments to president@neuroethicssociety.org. I will present the plan and your feedback for open discussion at the business meeting of our annual conference on Nov. 11, 2016, in San Diego, CA. 

Indeed, the annual meeting is always a focus, and November 2016 is particularly special because it will be our 10th anniversary. This year's Program Chairs and Committee carefully reviewed the programs and feedback from past years, and shaped a program that is fresh and engaging.  We added a half-day that begins with a plenary address from our first President, Dr. Steve Hyman, who will discuss the exciting recognition of support for neuroethics in the global brain projects. We created new opportunities for member-led presentations and sessions, and we are vigorously raising funds for travel support and prizes for neuroethics scholarship. We have partnered with UCSD on a public program on the impact of immersive and interactive technology on brain plasticity, development, health, and function across the lifespan. We are working on other major features too, including an Ambassadors session with presenters from different INS membership countries. As part of the business meeting, the Society's attorney Mr. Fred Dorey, Esq. plans to present on the Society's legal structure and answer our questions. The Call for Abstracts and the Essay Contest are both live – deadline: June 1 and June 15, 2016, respectively. This meeting not only marks a milestone for neuroethics, it will be a launch pad that helps determine the next 20 years of our discipline.  Don’t miss it!

In addition, we created an International Task Force that is charged to discover how the Society can better serve the needs and interest of our international community. I will report on this at the annual meeting. We are working on a Response Action Task Force that will enable us to respond to pressing neuroethics issues as they arise. For example, with the changes coming in both California and Canada, medically-assisted suicide for people suffering from diseases of the CNS is on the mind of many. 

We are reaching out to other international organizations that have both a neurological sciences focus (165) and an ethics committee (there are 30 of these) to discuss opportunities for partnership. We thank the Ethics, Law and Humanities Committee of the American Academy of Neurology, the American Neuropsychiatric Association, and the Association of Black Psychologists for engaging enthusiastically with us to date.

We reviewed and refreshed our governance and staff structures to better serve our membership in a professional manner, and to earn the trust and increasing sponsorship of those who support us worldwide. Our Student/Postdoc Committee continues to do great, energetic work.

We rejigged the INS Newsletter to provide you with news faster and better.

So, where do you fit in this frenzy of activity today if you haven’t already been involved?

We will be changing the face of the INS. You will be changing the face of the INS. Watch your email queue for the launch of the INS logo contest. Be the creator of our new look. Win $500!

We are creating an Experts Bureau. Pay attention to the news feed to sign up.

We continue our efforts to raise funds to support the Society and ensure a sustainable financial infrastructure. U.S.  tax code also requires that we achieve a far more diverse funding base than we have now. We are a quarter into the new year. Please donate if you can. Memberships and conference registrations count. Small and large donations are essential. We will acknowledge you and your programs.

Comment. Feed back. Offer to help. All welcome.

I extend my deepest thanks to all who have risen to the task in undertaking the enormous load of the past few months. INS Leadership, INS Program Committee, INS Members – amazing. 

Onward.

Judy Illes
INS President