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MINUTES OF THE
HUNGARIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA
BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING – 8:00 PM, OCTOBER 27TH, 2008
HELMSLEY’S SANDCASTLE HOTEL, SARASOTA, FLORIDA
Voting BOD members present: total votes 10 (plus Presidential tie-breaker)
L. Mechtler, I. Harangozo, T. Peredy , Z. Garami, G. Baffy , G. Acs, I. Stadler, A. Varga
Advisory Board President: G. Haas (one vote)
I. Krisztinicz, P. Forbath, I. Frater, P. Petrusz, K. Kismartoni
Alternates: P. Leidl (voting for T. Krisztinicz), I. Pirko (voting for A. Mogyorosi), E.
Bodnar, G. Kovacs, L. Csathy
Also present: I. Somkuti, S. Mechtler, I. Halasz (Chair of Auxiliary), A. Stadler,
I. Approval of Minutes
The minutes of the April 5th, 2008 BOD meeting was approved.
II. Presidential Address (L. Mechtler)
Dr. Mechtler summarized the accomplishments achieved and the challenges facing the
organization during his tenure as President of the HMAA. The accomplishments
1) Regarding the student exchange program, an agreement was signed between
Roswell Park Cancer Institute and the four Hungarian medical universities. The
agreement was also signed the President of the HMAA as a liaison between
Roswell Park and the Hungarian universities. A student exchange program with
Boston University was also established; the agreement was signed by Dr.
Matolcsy. Dr. Mechtler brought the Board’s attention to the fact the Hungarian
students can apply for fellowships from the Hungarian American Enterprise
Scholarship Fund (HAESF) to support their participation in the exchange
program. The program can also support physiacians for fellowships in the US and
can support research by medical students. The rotation of American students in
Hungary (SOTE) was also successful.
2) The health care advocacy initiative in Hungary. A very successful scientific was
organized by the HMAA in Hungary on the topic of the health risks of smoking
and smoking cessation. The meeting had great media coverage in Hungary,
featured in radio interviews and 24 news articles. Although the Advisory Board
had concerns previously that the HMAA may be used politically in Hungary in
connection with this meeting, this did not occur. A mutual statement between the
HMAA and the Hungarian universities was signed and presented to the media.
The meeting was a great marketing success for the HMAA and provided
opportunities for Hungarian physicians to learn about the organization.2
3) A Scientific symposium was organized in Budapest including presentations by
Hungarian medical students followed by lectures given by experts from the
United States, Canada and Hungary. Sponsorship for the meeting was received
4) A Student Alumni Club was established in Hungary. Prior concerns regarding the
intentions of some of the leaders of the Alumni Club to be independent from the
HMAA were resolved and currently there is a good working relationship between
the HMAA and the Alumni Club.
5) The establishment of a Hungarian Chapter is being planned.
6) We were fortunate to welcome very prominent keynote speakers for the Annual
meetings in the last two years, especially the attendance of this year’s meeting by
George Pataki is a notable achievement.
7) We have welcomed new board members in the past two years, whose enthusiastic
contributions to our work were recognized.
8) The HMAA received several awards (from SOTE in 2008 and from the MET to
be presented at the current meeting).
9) A new apartment was rented for the students in Buffalo.
10) A Hungarian field club was established in Buffalo.
11) There is an advocacy program for medical students in North America to study at
Hungarian universities. The students are interviewed by Julia Batra in Toronto,
who would like to establish a relationship with the HMAA.
12) A new secretary (Dr. Acs) was elected.
13) A new letterhead was created and the HMAA has a new PO Box address.
Despite the many achievements mentioned above, the HMAA is also facing several
challenges, including the stable or even declining number of active members, the need to
make difficult decisions in difficult times, streamlining of the BOD meetings, securing
outside funding for the organization. There is also a need to include the Advisory Board
in decision making.
Adam Tarnoki briefed the Board about the Alumni Club and Budapest Symposium. He
noted that some of the prior leaders of the Alumni Club wanted the Club to be separate
from the HMAA. However, following the receipt of Dr. Mechtler’s letter, these
individuals left the Club and the remaining members decided to function as part of the
HMAA. The Club has approximately 50-60 members currently. Many Hungarian medical
students were interested in and presented at the Symposium held in Budapest. The three
best presentations by students received awards from the HMAA (the HMAA Student
A discussion was held regarding the establishment of a Hungarian Chapter of the HMAA.
Dr. Peredy suggested that the Student Alumni Club should function within the confines
of the Hungarian Chapter and that the leadership of the Club should report to the
leadership of the Hungarian Chapter. The leadership of the Hungarian Chapter will report
to the Board. The question was raised whether a modification of the by-laws was
necessary to allow the establishment of the Hungarian Chapter and a discussion was held
about the necessary procedures. Dr. Bodnar emphasized that the membership in Hungary3
is growing and that the establishment of the Chapter is timely and important. It was
recommended that Drs. Bodnar and Csathy should write an official letter to the board
announcing the intent of the Hungarian members to establish a Chapter, including the
guidelines for membership, dues collection, reporting structure and their election
procedures. In general, the rules applying to the New England Chapter will be followed.
Dr. Bodnar announced to the Board the intention of the Hungarian members to establish a
Chapter in Hungary and noted that an official letter to the Board will follow. Dr.
Harangozo made a motion that the Board accepts the intent of the Hungarian members to
establish a Chapter. The motion was seconded and unanimously approved by the Board.
The proposal for the establishment a Hungarian Chapter will be presented to the
membership on this year’s membership meeting.
III. Secretary report (Peredy)
Dr. Peredy summarized the current state of the website and noted we do not have direct
control over it. He presented a new design for the HMAA bi-lingual website, including a
members only area, designed by a company in Hungary. He noted that there are two
possibilities for the maintenance of the new website: 1) the company that has designed it
would maintain the website for an annual fee of $700.00 and they would allow us direct
control over the website, or 2) we could maintain it ourselves, which would cost $10.00
per month, however, we have no expertise in website maintenance. Although some minor
changes were suggested, the Board accepted the new design. Discussion was held about
maintenance and security. It was concluded the speed was not an issue if the server is
located in Hungary. It is important however to keep the current web address
(www.hmaa.org). As long as security is guaranteed the Board had no concerns about the
server being in Hungary. A motion to accept Dr. Peredy’s proposal regarding the design
and maintenance of the new website in Hungary was made and accepted by the Board.
Dr. Halasz noted that currently the content of the website is not up to date and asked who
will be responsible to keep the contents of the new website current. A decision was made
to form a Website Committee to be chaired by Dr. Garami. Although the Cair of the
Committee will decide the logistics regarding the website, all decisions and changes will
be cc-d to the President and the Secretary.
Dr. Peredy emphasized that we should utilize better the resources offered by the HAESF.
He also noted that the applications submitted to HAESF should state that the applicant is
coming to the US to gain knowledge not available in Hungary and plans to take that
knowledge back to Hungary.
As elections are coming up, Dr. Peredy summarized the current state of HMAA
leadership. He noted the change in the position of the Secretary, while the Treasurer (Dr.
Harangzo) and Committee Chairs (Scientific Program, Membership) remain in their
positions. Among current Board members, Dr. Stadler’s second term is over this year and
he will be rotating off the Board. After finishing his first term, Dr. T. Krisztinicz is up for
re-election. Dr. Mogyorosi is stepping off the Board (re-location to Hungary). All4
alternate members need to be re-elected. Among members of the Advisory Board, Dr.
Haas is the first who is not a lifetime member, and he is also up for re-election. Dr.
Peredy asked the Advisory Board to submit recommendations for four board members
and an appropriate number of alternate board members.
IV. Treasurer’s Report (Harangozo)
Dr. Harangozo provided a written report including a net worth summary as of October
Dr. Harangozo expressed his concern that speakers who receive honoraria in the name of
the HMAA should not be reimburse for the amount of the educational grant but rather a
predetermined speaker’s fee.
V. Auxiliary Report (Halasz)
Dr. Halasz expressed serious concerns regarding the future of the Auxiliary and noted the
great difficulties they are facing in recruiting new members. She asked the Board
members to encourage their relatives to be involved in the Auxiliary. Despite the
difficulties, the Auxiliary managed to organize an excellent social program for this year’s
meeting. Dr. Halasz emphasized the important role the social functions play in our annual
meetings. She expressed a need for better communication between the Board and the
Dr. L. Mechtler expressed the Board’s appreciation for all the hard work of the Auxiliary.
The goal of the Board is to help and strengthen the Auxiliary.
VI. Program Report (I. Stadler)
Dr. Stadler expressed regrets that abstracts and program were published late this year.
This was mainly due to poor response to the call for abstracts from the membership in the
beginning. He received most of the abstracts at the end of August. There are 53 abstracts
total to be presented at this year’s meeting. He emphasized that everybody participating
in the program need to fill out the CME credit form, and noted that some disclosure
forms were missing this year and he had to ask for them in the last minute to ensure
appropriate CME credit. He asked the Board for suggestions for topics for next year’s
VII. Membership Report (S. Mechtler)
Dr. Mechtler stated that he had sent out 138 invoices this year: 38 members have paid
their dues, 2 resigned and 18 letters were returned due to wrong address. Eighty-three
active members have not yet paid their dues.
Dr. Harangozo noted that there may be individuals who pay the HMAA rate for hotel
rooms but do not register for the meeting and suggested that we should cross reference5
the registration data with the hotel records. It was suggested that members who attend the
meeting should pay their membership dues at the time of registration and an invoice to be
sent to those members who do not attend the meeting. Dr. Somkuti suggested to
discontinue to offer one-day registrations.
Dr. L. Mechtler raised the question whether we can do anything to increase our
membership. He proposed several means to achieve this goal, including improved
marketing (articles about the 40th meeting), making the meeting more family friendly,
adapting the meeting to the lifestyles of active physicians, increased involvement of
students and residents. He called for establishing realistic goals and suggested to provide
members with a membership certificate. Dr. Varga suggested that we should have a
master member list and she emphasized that we need to make our members aware where
their membership and registration fees go and used for. Dr. Peredy recommended that the
invoiced should be mailed out in the first quarter of the year. Dr. Somkuti suggested that
a list of inactive members should be made available to Board members who can then
personally contact the inactive members.
VIII. Publications Committee (Somkuti)
Dr. Somkuti expressed concerns that the abstracts this year were received at the last
minute. He emphasized the need to respect deadlines and to adhere to the rules and
templates for the submission of abstracts. He noted the deadline for articles to be
included in the spring issue of the Archives is March 1, 2009.
Dr. Somkuti expressed his intentions to include a historical perspective about the past 40
years of the HMAA in the Archives. He contacted all past presidents in order to include
their recollections regarding the history of the HMAA. Dr. Baffy will provide
photographs to be included in the article(s) about the history of the HMAA.
Dr. Somkuti brought the Board’s attention to the fact that this will be the last year Anna
Neni will host a dinner and suggested that the Board should recognize her contributions
at the banquet. Knowing her support of an orphanage in Erdely, it was recommended that
that Anna Neni will be presented at the banquet with a check for $1,000.00 which she can
donate to her charity.
IX. Awards Committee (Somkuti)
Dr. Acs noted that he has obtained a quote for the production of the books discussed at
the last Board meeting. Drs. Somkuti and Acs will discuss with Dr. Harangozo the cost
for the production of the books and determine the quantity to order.
X. By-law Committee (Kismartoni)
Nothing to report.
XI. Student Exchange Program (L. Mechtler)6
There are currently 3 students participating in the program in Buffalo; 4 students took
part in the program in the previous three month period. The quality of the students is
great and they have a good reputation. The agreement with Roswell Park will further
improve the exchange program. The students have a new apartment and bicycles were
also purchased for their use. Dr. Mechtler invited Eva Tamoga, who helps with the
exchange program, to attend the meeting. Unfortunately, she could not attend due to her
illness. Dr. Mechtler’s secretary has started to take over Ms. Tamoga’s functions and he
plans to invite her to the meeting next year. Dr. Mechtler asked that the minutes reflect
her dedication and help with the exchange program.
Dr. Harangozo suggested that if Eva Tamoga cannot attend the meeting, the Board should
give her some financial recognition in appreciation of her work. He suggested and
amount of $500.00.
XII. New England Chapter Report (Baffy)
The New England Chapter had 4 meeting a year with invited speakers. Two meetings
were sponsored by pharmaceutical companies and they had one cultural meeting. They
are keeping their membership, but Dr. Baffy noted that they cannot increase their
membership at the present time. Dr. Virga, their Secretary, could attend our meeting this
year, but she sends her regards.
XIII. Old Business
1. Report from Germany (Kovacs)
Dr. Kovacs mentioned three problems regarding members in Germany: The
insurance and medical reform in Germany made it difficult for members to
attend the meeting. Due to the current immigration situation, it is increasingly
difficult to visit the US. They are trying to recruit members to attend the
meeting, but despite promises made, most did not attend.
2. Report from Hungary (Bodnar)
The issues regarding the establishment of the Hungarian Chapter have already
been discussed. Dr. Bodnar thanked the Tarnoki twins for their effort in
organizing the Budapest Symposium. They have established a lecture series in
Hungary featuring members of the HMAA. The first lecture was given by Dr.
Pirko. She called for the Board members to let her know when they are in
Hungary and they are willing to give a lecture there. There are about 20
attendees from Hungary at this year’s meeting. She expressed hopes that with
the changing visa requirements the attendance of the meeting from Hungary
3. Report from Canada (Forbath)
The annual meeting was advertized in the Toronto papers, unfortunately with
little response. The difficulties the Canadian membership faces include the7
aging of their generation and lack of involvement of younger physicians. A
recurrent difficulty is that the Canadian heart Association has its meeting at
the same time when the HMAA meeting is held.
XIV. New Business
1. There is a need to change the time of the second Board meeting, which will be
held immediately following the Membership Meeting on Wednesday.
2. The Board will consider changing the format of the Annual Meeting - to be
discussed on the next Board meeting.
3. The “Panorama” magazine has contacted the HMAA and wanted to know
whether we are interested in advertizing the organization in this magazine.
The magazine is distributed among Hungarians living in North America. The
Board suggested that we need to find out more information about this
magazine and will revisit the question at a later time.
4. Dr. Peredy raised the question whether the HMAA has currently any contact
with the MET and MOK. Dr. L. Mechtler noted that the MET has a
representative (Dr. Galuska) attending this meeting and that he will present
the HMAA an award on the banquet on Thursday. He noted that Dr.
Mogyorosi was elected as a member of the board of the MET. He expressed
concerns that Dr. Mogyorosi should not represent the HMAA on the board of
the MET without the prior approval of the Board. Rather, it should be the
privilege of the Board to decide who will represent on membership in the
MET. The Board will need to discuss who will represent the HMAA Board in
the board of the MET. It was decided that this individual needs to be a Board
member and a member of the MET as well.
Dr. L. Mechtler thanked the members for their efforts in the advancement of the HMAA.
Dr. Harangozo congratulated Dr. Mechtler in the name of the Board for his work and for
rejuvenating the HMAA.
Geza Acs, MD, PhD