BEMS Winter Board Meeting held in Lyon, France

As the President’s Letter notes, February brought a number of familiar faces together in Lyon, France for a series of meetings that will help decide the future of The Bioelectromagnetics Society (BEMS). 


Back: Koichi Ito, Andrew Wood, Jonna Wilen, Meike Mevissen, Phil Chadwick, EBEA President Luis Mir; Middle: James Lin, Marie Christine Gosselin, Joe Wiart, Tom Vernier, Vijay; Front: Janie Page, David Black, Joachim Schuz, Jeff Carson, Christine Pullar

Although the Board members work hard to keep BEMS going, in coming years it will be even more essential that all members take a more active role in helping keep BEMS going.


As readers are aware, BEMS faced a difficult choice late last year when it had to terminate the contract of ASI, Inc., the firm that had previously provided much of the management of The Society.  In the aftermath of that decision, the Board of Directors gathered to hear recommendations of the Management Committee and to discuss the best options for maintaining and growing The Society.


While any transition is difficult, BEMS is in a reasonably good position, with a well-respected peer-reviewed journal (Bioelectromagnetics) and an improving relation with its sister organization, the European Biolelectromagnetics Society (EBEA).  The BEMS Board of Directors approved the concept of holding joint meetings with EBEA (although the concept was developed in conjunction with EBEA leadership, EBEA’s Council had not yet officially voted to confirm this proposal at the time of this newsletter) beginning in 2014, with a goal to maintain geographical balance: Rather than setting a fixed region for each year’s meeting, the goal is to cover each of the three major regions (Europe, North America, and the Pacific Rim) within a five year period while finding the most financially appropriate setting each year.  Each year, the meeting location would be put out for a bid, so the flexible geographic rules will allow some room to explore more financially appropriate locations.


The Board wants to encourage more participation by members at the upcoming meeting in Brisbane, Australia, so they have voted to maintain registration fees at what is expected to be a breakeven level.  Be sure to register soon to benefit from early registration fees.


Immediately after the 2011 BEMS Annual Meeting in Halifax, student member Marie Christine Gosselin surveyed other student members to ascertain what was useful and what could be improved.  She provided a report on that effort to the Board during its meeting.  Perhaps the most surprising result is that the majority of those students who responded felt that there was little reason to join BEMS other than a reduced fee for attending the meetings.  Members of the Board responded favorably to the report, noting that there needs to be more for students, perhaps a clearer transition mechanism to translate a Student Membership into a Full Membership once a student has completed academic work at the Ph.D. level.  This remains to be resolved, but is one of many ideas the Board will be considering over the next few months. 


The Board will be presenting a number of ideas for changes in the Constitution and By-Laws to the general membership (see article in this newsletter) for consideration and discussion at the upcoming Brisbane meeting in June. 


You don’t have to be a member of the Board to help create the BEMS of the future. The Management Committee (President Joachim Schuz, Vice President David Black, Past President Jeff Carson, Treasurer Phil Chadwick, Secretary Jonna Wilen, and Technical Program Chair Andrew Wood) will be offering their suggestions for future directions to be discussed at the Annual Members’ Meeting in Brisbane.  Contact them, or any Board member, to offer your own insights or to find out what interesting volunteer options are available to you to help keep BEMS relevant and growing into the future.