Several years ago, the Board of Directors of IAMSE accepted an invitation from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) to consider applying for membership in the Council of Academic Societies (CAS), and in 2002 we were admitted as a member society (one of only 18 societies in Basic Science). The CAS meets formally each spring for 2-3 days and also gathers for a business meeting luncheon at the annual AAMC meeting each November. President Giulia Bonaminio and I serve as IAMSE’s representatives to CAS, and I have had the honor of attending each CAS meeting since IAMSE became a member.
What exactly is CAS and what does it do? The CAS is one of three governing councils of the AAMC, along with the Council of Deans (COD), and the Council of Teaching Hospitals (COTH). CAS is composed of faculty leaders of U.S. medical schools and teaching hospitals through representation from 94 member professional organizations. The mission of the CAS is to help faculty members at academic medical centers meet their responsibilities of education, research and patient care, with the ultimate objective of improving the health of all Americans.
To accomplish its mission, the CAS is committed to the following goals (see the CAS website for full summary http://www.aamc.org/members/cas/about.htm):
- To analyze information pertinent to the core values of faculties and constituent societies and support their efforts to advance those values;
- To articulate the role of medical school faculty to academic medicine and to the public;
- To foster networking among scholars;
- To ensure that the CAS represents the broad interests of academic faculty and that constituent societies play an actual role in the CAS.
By participating in CAS activities, IAMSE’s representatives can bring our members perspectives to the issues discussed at CAS and help insure that our voice helps shape the future direction of academic medicine.
There are a number of CAS Task Forces and projects underway that may interest IAMSE members. The CAS Task Force on the Impact of Dual-Degree Programs, Students and Faculty explored the impact of dual degree programs on the medical school enterprise. The final report discusses the Task Force’s observations about the data it reviewed, and makes recommendations to AAMC staff and governance. A copy of the report is available from the AAMC website.
The CAS Scholarship Dissemination Project seeks “to provide faculty, staff and students in AAMC member schools, as well as members of CAS Societies, with a clearer picture of the significant changes that are taking place in the medical and biological sciences as scholarly communication moves from predominantly print to online electronic journals.” Gary Byrd, Ph.D. and Shelley Bader, Ph.D., are leading the project. A database with basic bibliographic, pricing and subscription data for the 101 print and/or electronic journal titles currently published or sponsored by CAS member societies has been completed, and a follow-up survey of society executives and journal editors is in progress.
The Basic Science Chairs Leadership Forum was established to provide a voice to the basic science chair societies. The forum organized the 2002 national meeting of basic science chairs, and is now scheduling the next national meeting to be held in October 2005 in Salt Lake City, UT.
Lastly, a new set of Web-based tools has been created for CAS member societies. New resources for chairs, program directors and clerkship directors are now available on the CAS’s password-protected site. We are looking for ways to make those resources available to IAMSE members.