2023 US DOHaD Meeting Summary

We had a successful 7th Annual Society Meeting, which took place on September 17-19, 2023.  This year the meeting was held at the Children’s Mercy Research Institute (CMRI) in Kansas City, Missouri.  The venue was a new and beautifully built facility that was generously made available by Children’s Mercy Pediatrician-in-Chief, Dr. Robert H. Lane, an active Society member and past Society President, and Dr. Thomas Curran, the Executive Director and CSO of the CMRI.  We had 86 registered attendees, including representatives from the National Institute of Aging (Dr. Emily Hooker) and the National Institute of Environmental Health and Science (Dr. Thad Schug).  Both Drs. Hooker and Schug shared with us opportunities for DOHaD research at their respective institutes.  In addition, we had a representative from the Latin America DOHaD Society, Dr. Michele Monroy-Valle (Guatemala Delegate), who joined us as a part of our new collaboration that aims to foster scientific exchanges between the US and LA DOHaD Regional Societies.

This year scientific program was excellent and well organized (Many thanks to the heroic efforts of Dr. Kaela Varberg (Treasurer) and Dr. Danielle Christifano (Vice-President)).  We kicked off the meeting with a poster session accompanied by heavy Hors d’oeuvres in the evening of the Trainee Day.  This was a most engaging poster session with excellent competition for the top prize.  The oral presentations on the subsequent days were received with great enthusiasm, as evidenced by the robust discussion following each presentation.  Of the 29 talks, 22 were presented by female colleagues, representing the most ever in the history of our annual meeting.  A few highlights from the keynote speakers included Dr. Emily Oken (Harvard Medical Center), who discussed opportunities and challenges in longitudinal DOHaD research, and Dr. Sharla Smith (University of Kansas Medical Center), who discussed healthcare inequities among the marginalized communities in Kansas and Missouri with a talk titled “Birthing while black: The maternal health experiences in Kansas and Missouri”.  We congratulate and celebrate with Dr. Smith on the success of her community-based initiatives to improve health outcomes for women during pregnancy and after delivery in these communities.  Importantly, Dr. Smith’s program has a potential to serve as a blueprint for other underserved and marginalized communities across the nation.

The success of our 7th Annual Society Meeting was made possible by the tireless efforts of our Trainee Representatives (Dr. Megan Knuth and Dr. Carmen Marable), ECHO representative (Dr. Linda Adair), Faculty Council member (Dr. Elizabeth Martin), and our Executive Committee (Drs. Christifano, Varberg, and Tran).  Importantly, we are grateful and acknowledge the NIEHS R13/U13 (1R13ES034643) award, financial support from Dr. Jerrold Heindel and the Healthy Environment and Endocrine Disruptors (HEEDS) organization for Trainee Day programming, the University of Kansas Medical Center for providing shuttle services, and Dr. Robert H. Lane for his continuous and unwavering support of the Society, including the beautiful meeting venue.  We thank our members, who served as poster judges and engaged in the research presented by our trainees and Jr faculty.  We extend a special thanks to Jane Almond (Children’s Mercy) and Lara Bennett (Dr. Christifano’s lab member) for their generous support in event coordination and administration as well as to the numerous Children’s Mercy staff members who supported the registration table throughout the meeting.

Finally, this year we recognized Dr. Robert H. Lane as a recipient of the US DOHaD Special Recognition award and Dr. Michael Ross as the founding Society President for their service and contribution to the Society.  We started a new tradition at last year’s meeting with a collar pin, which was continued at this year’s meeting with a new design, reflective of our 2022 re-branding efforts.  In addition, we started a new tradition at this year’s meeting with a group photo (attached).  We look forward to seeing you at our next 8th Annual Meeting in October 14-16, 2024 at the Rizzo Center in Chapel Hill, NC.  Lastly, please continue to engage in our DOHaD community by registering as a Society member and by applying to serve on the leadership council. You can nominate yourself or colleagues for various council and executive member positions in the upcoming election taking place December 2023.

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