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MINUTES OF THE
HUNGARIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA
BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING – 8:00 PM, OCTOBER 26TH, 2009
HELMSLEY’S SANDCASTLE HOTEL, SARASOTA, FLORIDA
Voting BOD members present: total votes 9 (plus Presidential tie-breaker)
G. Acs, I. Somkuti, G. Baffy, P. Leidl, I. Pirko, Z, Garami, A. Varga
Advisory Board President: P. Forbath (one vote in the absence of L. Mechtler)
I. Krisztinicz, K. Kismartoni, A. Matolcsy, P. Petrusz, J. Ertl
Alternates: Z. Gombos, G. Kovacs (voting for Dr. Krisztinicz), A. Tarnoki, L. Csathy
Also present: I. Stadler, A. Stadler, S. Mechtler, I. Halasz
I. Approval of Minutes
Quorum was established with 9 voting members present. The Minutes of the April 18,
2009 BOD meeting were approved.
II. Presidential Address (Peredy)
Dr. Peredy thanked members for attending and participating at the meeting, especially
those making a long trip from abroad and also recognized long time members for their
dedication to the organization.
Dr. Peredy talked about the activities of the Association during the past year and
summarized our successes as well as difficulties. Among the successes he mentioned 1)
the student exchange program in Buffalo. He thanked Dr. Mechtler and other members in
Buffalo for making this program a success. 2) The HMAA participated in a summer
conference for students held in Baltonfured. Drs. Peredy and Csathy served as judges
during this conference. Dr Peredy’s hope is that we can participate in these conferences
in the future to strengthen our relationship with the Hungarian students and their
universities. He suggested that we establish a special award for the winner on this
conference. Since the timing of this student conference is flexible, we may also be able to
combine it with the conference of the MET. The MET leadership has asked the HMAA
for strong participation in their conference this year. 3) Dr. Peredy also attended the
organizing meeting of the Hungary Chapter. The associate members in Hungary provided
a letter to Dr. Peredy formally stating that they would like to form a chapter, as
previously requested by the Board. At this point we need to modify the bylaws for them
to be able to become a Chapter. He thanked the Bylaws Committee for working on the
modifications which will be presented to the membership for approval on Wednesday’s
Dr Peredy mentioned that we also had a few difficulties during the year, including the
transitioning of the HMAA website. The old company (Webassist) charged us $1,000 per
year and it was no longer a worthwhile relationship. Dr. Peredy reported that the website
was transferred to a company called Interware kft. The new company charges us $200 per
year for maintenance.
Dr. Garami noted that he asked Board members to comment on the contents and format
of the website before it went live, however, he received very few comments. He further
elaborated on the planned contents of the website. He noted that since April, our website
had 4100 hits, mostly involving the bylaws, the Archives, the history of the Association,
the officers and the annual meeting. Dr. Garami thanked the Tarnoki twins and Tamas
Korosi for their help in transitioning the website to the new provider, which was a
difficult process. With the new provider the contents and accuracy of the website is very
easy to manage. Members will have secure access to the members only area of the
website to manage their own contact information. The ultimate goal is to have individual
passwords, hmaa.org email addresses and online registration. Dr. Somkuti thanked Dr.
Garami for his work. He asked whether we can increase the size of the website to
accommodate future needs and how much would it cost. According to Dr. Garami we are
currently running at one fifth of capacity, so we have not explored that possibility yet.
The question was raised whether we can have email addresses provided with the domain
Other challenges include difficulties with timely submission of abstracts for the meeting
and the decreasing number of our members. Abstract submission could also be set up on
the new website. Dr. Garami requested BOD members to email him all comments
regarding the website so that he can make changes to it accordingly.
Dr. Tarnoki talked about the summer student conference in more detail. The conference
was a success and from the financial point of view the conference closed with a close to
zero balance. The main value of the conference for the HMAA was the fact that many
new members had signed up, in addition to the publicity it provided for the organization.
It also provides us an opportunity to follow-up on the exchange students. Dr. Peredy
asked whether we would like to support this student meeting with an HMAA prize to
bring the winner to present his/her work in Sarasota on our Annual Meeting. Dr. Garami
voiced his concerns that the lectures are in Hungarian and suggested that the lectures
should be in English. The importance of being able to present at the meeting in English
by the winner was acknowledged by the Board, and it was also noted that most medical
students in Hungary can speak English (as it is part of the requirements for graduation).
Dr. Halasz inquired how many of the exchange students attended the conference, because
it is important for us to keep in contact with those students. It was agreed on that if we are
co-sponsoring this meeting and the students want to be eligible for the award, the
language of the presentations should be in English.
Dr. Peredy made a motion that with the help of a committee consisting of Drs. Tarnoki,
Peredy and others, the HMAA will sponsor a Hungarian student meeting in August of3
2010, where the first prize provided by the HMAA for an English speaking presentation
will be a trip to the Annual Meeting in Sarasota to present the work of the winner. The
price will be capped at $1,500. With the stipulation that the winner will join or already is
a member of the HMAA, the proposal was unanimously supported. Finances may be
supported in part from the membership dues in Hungary.
Dr. Matolcsy raised the question how the eight American students liked their rotations in
Hungary. He emphasized that we should have follow-up from these students, because it is
important for us to know what their experience was like.
III. Secretary's report (Acs)
In his absence, Dr. Acs talked about Dr. Paragh's proposal to establish an HMAA award
for a physician and/or medical scientist in training. Dr. Paragh believes that it is in the
interest of the HMAA to attract the youngest generation of Hungarian physicians and
medical researchers living in the United States, as most of these talented young people
will start and continue their careers on the new continent. In order to attract them, we
need to offer something important for them that advances their career and also brings
them closer to us. Therefore Dr. Paragh proposed the establishment of an HMAA Young
Investigator Award for young Hungarian researchers are physiacians in training. He
emphasized that it is immensely important in the scientific and medical community to
have proof of one's successes. He proposed that the 8-10 applicants selected to participate
should be waived the registration fees and that we should further tie them to the
organization by providing them free membership for 1-2 years if they successfully apply
to participate in this competition. Furthermore, the winner should receive an award
supporting his/her trip to one of our subsequent conferences. While the material value of
this award may be small, simply its existence may justify for principal inverstigators to
allow their trainees to present on our Annual Meeting. Dr. Paragh also suggested that in
case this prize is successful, we should seek for an individual donor to provide a name
and an endowment for this award, which would elevate this award to a higher level of
Dr. Stadler suggested that all abstract should be submitted to the program chair and a
committee should be formed to evaluate the presentations. Dr. Acs suggested that all
these presentations should be put in the same session and a committe will judge the
presentations and decide on the winner. Dr. Kismartoni supported the idea and noted that
we have to use any means to increase our membership.
The motion was to provide this prize for the best presentation and the award should
consist of vaiwer of registration and three days of accomodation on the Annual Meeting
succeding their award winning presentation. The award will be capped at $500. The
motion unanimously carried.4
IV. Treasurer’s Report (Harangozo)
Although he could not attend the meeting, Dr. Harangozo provided a written report for
the Board. The current balance of the Treasury as of October 14, 2009 is $53,556,
compared to $58,200 in October 25, 2008. It was noted that due to the current economic
situation, we have lost funds on the stock market. Dr. Peredy has talked to Dr.
Harangozo, who sent his regrets for not being able to attend, but noted that he is available
by telephone in necessary. The Treasury items for discussion included our 501c tax
exempt status. This status was granted to the HMAA following the establishment and
incorporation of the Association. In 1985 the HMAA received a request from the IRS to
submit tax records for the previous 5 years which according to the IRS the HMAA
ignored. Thus, in 1990, the HMAA was put on an "inactive" list. This became obvious
about 2 years ago when multiple requests from various organizations to verify our tax
exempt status prompted contact with the IRS. The IRS refused to provide proof of our
tax-exempt status and we did not appear on their web directory. At the April 2009
meeting it was decided that we are going to remedy this situation. In June of 2009 Dr.
Peredy has sent a formal letter to the IRS stating that we would like to have or 501c status
activated, to which the IRS responded that there are two possibilities: either we re-apply
for tax-exempt status or provide 5 years of tax records by November 15 2009. We were
fortunate to receive this extension and second chance because the IRS had expunged their
records from as far back as 1985. Dr. I. Krisztinicz suggested that we need an accountant
to help with this process. Dr. Peredy had talked to Dr. Harangozo who stated that he has
all the information needed and can take care of this issue by November 15. According to
Dr. Peredy, when he contacted the IRS in July of 2009, he was told by the IRS that
nobody had contacted them regarding this issue. Dr. Somkuti noted that on the April
2009 BOD meeting we agreed that our tax exempt status needs to be re-activated. Dr.
Peredy was under the impression that this issue will be taken care of soon after the April
2009 meeting, however, no progress was made by July. At the present time, we need to
follow-up with Dr. Harangozo regarding the status of this process. Once we have the
exempt status we can deduct from our taxes membership dues and other expenses related
to our activities in the Association. Drs. Halasz and Kismartoni suggested that we need to
clarify our tax exempt status, including our status in the state of Florida, with the hotel
and the banquet site. Dr. Peredy will talk to Carl from the hotel and Dr. Varga needs to
talk to the banquet site to clarify the issue. A discussion was held about Dr. Garami’s and
Dr. Matolcsy’s suggestion that we should use an accountant and/or an attorney to
expedite the process and it was suggested that we find a lawyer in Sarasota this week to
do this as we also need a Florida tax exempt status, as well. Dr. Somkuti suggested that
in order to avoid similar situations in the future, a report on our tax exempt status should
be part of the Treasurer’s Report every year. It was decided that we should contact Dr.
Harangozo the next day and move forward with a Sarasota based accountant and/or
A second item on the Treasury Report is a $6,000 expense involving awards, which
deserves discussion. This item was tabled until the Awards Committee Report.5
V. Auxiliary Report (Halasz)
Dr. Halasz reported that although participants like the social events, unfortunately very
few people are willing to participate in the organization of the various activities. We have
a wonderful social program this year thanks to the efforts of 5-6 Auxiliary members. She
encouraged everybody to participate in the activities, including the sport events. A
fundraiser event will be held tomorrow with the participation of the Kossuth Club,
featuring Judit Havas and a movie night is also planned for the week. We are going to
continue the “Ask the Doctor” program as well.
The Auxiliary will have its membership meeting tomorrow and will hold elections,
including the election of a new President. Regarding the finances, Dr. Halasz reported
that the Auxiliary is approximately in the same situation as it was last year. They have 18
members who paid their dues and their balance as of yesterday was $10,647.
Dr. Garami suggested that with the exception of the banquet, all social programs should
be more family friendly to include the children as well. He proposed to make next year’s
opening reception a family event, so children can also participate. This change would
also increase attendance on the events. The Board supported the proposition to make the
Opening Reception a family event.
Dr. Halasz emphasized the need to make the registration an online process, which also
would be cheaper. A. Stadler pointed out that knowing the list of participants ahead of
time would also make the production of the badges more simple and effective. All events
we are charging the participants for should be on the registration form as well. In order to
do this, we should have the detailed social program well ahead of time. Dr. Stadler
suggested that we establish the social program on the April Board meeting.
Dr. Halasz requested that the Board should appoint one of its members to serve as a
contact person to the Auxiliary and participate on their meetings. Dr. Peredy raised the
question whether we should rethink the role of the Auxiliary. He suggested that Board
members be responsible for particular events and be in charge of the organization of that
event. The social and cultural programs are a very important part of our meetings,
however, he is not sure whether we need a separate Auxiliary to organize these events.
Dr. Varga commented on her experience as Auxiliary President. Dr. Peredy proposed that
by the next Board meeting we create a list of all the activities that the Auxiliary usually
takes care of and Board members can take responsibility for all those functions. If we can
achieve this, his proposal would be to terminate the Auxiliary. The question was raised
whether we need a bylaws change to do this. Dr. Stadler suggested that we establish a
social functions committee to organize the events and perform fundraising functions as
well. Dr. Kismartoni noted that in fact the original function of the Auxiliary was
fundraising, recruitment of new members and public relations, but later it somehow
shifted to the organization of the social programs. Dr. Baffy cautioned that the Auxiliary
has many important functions which cannot be taken over easily. It was agreed that it is
premature to make a decision in this matter. Dr. Garami proposed the establishment of an6
ad hoc committee consisting of the President, Dr. Somkuti, Dr. Halasz and others to
discuss the future of the Auxiliary and report back to the Board on Friday. A discussion
was held about finding ways to reach out to the local Hungarian community.
VI. Program Report (I. Stadler)
Dr. Stadler reported that we are having 48 lectures on the current 41st Annual Meeting.
He noted that he had difficulties in organizing the program due to the lack of timely
abstract submission, which also caused difficulties in securing CME credit for the
program. To facilitate this latter process, Dr. Stadler has invited the Assisstant Dean
responsible for CME accreditation at the University of Buffalo to participate on and
observe the meeting. He raised the issue that many more people sign-in in the mornings
at the lectures compared to the number of people in the audience actually present.
Dr. Stadler asked the Board for suggestions for title and topics for the next Annual
Meeting and also called for improved communication between Board members. Dr.
Peredy thanked Dr. Stadler for his hard work and a great job organizing the scientific
VII. Membership Report (S. Mechtler)
Dr. S. Mechtler reported that as of this year we have 153 active members. He has sent out
the invoices in early April and second invoices were mailed to those who have not
responded. As of October 26th, 2009 79 members have paid their dues and 7 more
members paid here in Sarasota. Dr. S. Mechtler has sent an email to all Board members a
few months ago with a list of those members who have not paid their dues with the hope
that Board members will help contact these people. He noted that historically many
members pay their dues here at the Annual Meeting which makes his job more difficult
as he has to take the dues back to Buffalo and document all the information in his
computer. He provided a list of the number of paying members for the past few years as
follows: 86 in 2009, 110 in 2008, 100 in 2007 and 104 in 2006. He urged all members to
pay their dues promptly when they receive the invoice.
Dr. Peredy asked that all existing membership and mailing lists including the registration
lists be combined and updated in order to have an up to date membership list. A. Stadler
was asked to update the extensive mailing list composed of more than 700 names and
email it to the Secretary. The goal is to distribute this updated list among Board members
and contact potential new members to try to bring them into the Association. Dr. Garami
suggested that we should consider using the membership cards as our badges on the
Annual Meeting. A discussion was held, however, no decision was made.
VIII. Student Exchange Program (L. Mechtler)7
Dr. L. Mechtler has sent a written report to the Board, the summary of which was
presented to the Board by Dr. Peredy. This year there have been eleven students who
have been accepted to the exchange program and all of them had their rotations in
Western New York. The students were approved by the review committee in Budapest
and were accepted based on their qualifications. He was pleased to report that the
students were of high quality with excellent language skills. The feedback he has
received from the supervising physicians has been quite good to excellent.
The only major issue with regard to the student exchange program is a change in the New
York State ruling, which is the implementation of a 1984 ruling that has not been
enforced so far. This ruling states that for a three-month rotation, students need to receive
approval from Albany which entails a $30 per hospital application fee. Unfortunately the
Hungarian medical schools are not on the list of medical schools that can send their
students to New York State without this strict regulation. Thus each student needs to be
approved, which process adds cost to their rotation and to the work load of Eva Tamoga,
who was instrumental in helping Dr. Mechtler with the implementation of this program.
Fortunately, 80% of the students who have attended have received stipends from HAESF.
The housing has been stable, however there continues to be an issue with the bicycles
being stolen from the students. Dr. Mechtler asked that if Board members have any ideas
about acquiring bikes or would consider donating one, he/she should contact him.
Overall, Dr. Mechtler recommends the continuation of the program. He believes that the
student exchange program is strong and healthy and continues to benefit the students
despite some bureaucratic issues. Dr. I. Krisztinicz noted that three American students
had a one month rotation in Pathology in Budapest, and enjoyed it immensely.
Dr. Peredy reported that, on the Hungarian side, he had met Gyula Sumegi, who is
responsible for the international exchange programs on SOTE. Mr. Sumegi emphasized
that they really like our program, among the many he is involved with. Mr. Sumegi raised
the question whether we could consider extending the exchange program to the medical
school in Marosvasarhely. Drs. Matolcsy and I. Krisztinicz noted that since our current
contract is with the Hungarian Universities only, the process of adding a University
outside of Hungary would open a totally new avenue and would include new
negotiations. Although supporting the students in general, the Board was divided on the
issue and it was noted that we also need to have a conversation with Dr. L. Mechtler to
find out about the various possibilities in more detail. Drs. S. Mechtler and Somkuti
emphasized their support for the inclusion of students from Marosvasarhely in the
IX. Publications Committee (Somkuti)
Dr. Somkuti reported that as of October 2nd, he was still putting in the last abstract in the
Archives, despite the fact that the abstract deadline was April 30. Not adhering to the
deadline makes his and Dr. Stadler’s work very difficult.8
X. Awards Committee (Somkuti)
Dr. Somkuti reported that the previously mentioned $6,000 expense item in our Treasury
is due to the award he and Dr. Acs was authorized by the Board to establish. He gave
credit to Dr. Acs for arranging the production of a replica reprint of the first Hungarian
general medicine textbook from the 16th century, which will serve as the Award of the
HMAA. The book also includes a description of the goals and functions of the HMAA.
Unfortunately, due to the changing exchange rate between the HUF and the USD, by the
time the books were finished, the cost of one book increased from $100 to $110. The
book is unique and of high quality. We currently have 50 copies of the book and he asked
the Board whether we would want to make it possible for the members to purchase the
book as well, in addition to giving it as an award. The Board decided that we will make
the book available for purchase at a price of $150 (compared to our cost of $110).
Dr. Peredy noted that Dr. Roveti has donated $1,000 to the Association again this year
and suggested that we award him with a book at the banquet.
Dr. Somkuti also reported that there is a possibility of ordering unique HMAA-related
gift items of high quality for sale for our members. These items can be ordered through
Denise Matolcsy, and we would get them at cost, even at low quantities. We could also
use some of these items as prizes or awards. The Board will revisit the issue on Friday.
XI. Public Relations (Matolcsy)
Dr. Matolcsy reported that in May 2009 he participated on the meeting regarding the
formation of the Hungary Chapter. The meeting was a great success with many people
participating. Dr. Matolcsy reported that he also had a meeting with Dr. Tulassai about
the exchange program between SOTE and Boston University and extended an invitation
to him for the Annual Meeting. With regard to our relationship with non-physician
Hungarians in Sarasota, he proposed that the Board should authorize those members
attending tomorrow’s meeting with them to make a statement about our interest in
developing close future relationships.
Dr. Matolcsy invited all members to attend the Kocsma party hosted and funded by Dr.
and Mrs. Matolcsy.
Dr. Peredy reported that we will have a joined conference with the MET in August 2010.
Dr. Ildiko Suveges, the president of the MET, who also attends out meeting, has sent us
an invitation letter to attend the MET meeting. A discussion was held about our interest
in collaborating with the MET and about holding joined conferences with them. No
concerns were raised with regard to our collaboration with the MET and it was decided
that members will try to participate and offer lectures/abstracts for their meetings.
Dr. Garami raised the issue that currently Dr. Mogyorosi serves as our representative to
the Board of the MET. Since Dr. Mogyorosi no longer resides in the US, we need to9
delegate someone else from our Board to the Board of the MET. Dr. Peredy will discuss
this issue with Dr. Suveges and report back to the Board on Friday.
XII. New England Chapter Report (Baffy)
Dr. Baffy reported that the New England Chapter is doing well. Despite a healthy level of
interest, recruitment of new members proves to be difficult. They have approximately 7
or 8 paid members.
XIII. Old Business
1. Report from Hungary (Bodnar)
Dr. Bodnar has sent a written report to the Board. The number of our Hungarian
members has been increasing in the last few years, counting 39 associate and 123
student members in 2009. This increase is primarily due to the increased activity
of HMAA associate members residing in Hungary. The 2008 anti-tobacco
meeting had great publicity and the 2009 Student Conference in Balatonfured was
also very successful with more than 100 participants. Regarding the Buffalo
exchange program, Dr. Bodnar reported that they had applicants from three of the
four Hungarian Universities, including Budapest, Debrecen and Szeged. She
noted that the number of applications from Debrecen was a surprise given the lack
of applications in prior years from this site. She believes that the introduction of
HAESF to the leaders of the University and giving more details about financing
the program made the difference. The Tarnoki twins also gave lectures about the
exchange program in April 2009 in Debrecen and Pecs.
As of October 1, 2009, their financial balance is HUF 560,041. As it is quite
complicated to view the balance or to identify members who paid their dues in the
current system, they initiated to establish their own non-profit account at CIB
Bank, as it was previously approved by the Board. Dr. Bodnar requested an
official letter from the President stating that she is entitled to handle that account
and another letter stating that the HMAA is an association in good standing.
Due to the increase in the number of associate members in Hungary and the
increase in the number of HMAA projects organized in Hungary, they have
previously proposed to the Board the establishment of a Hungary Chapter to
support the goals of the HMAA. The proposal was previously supported by the
Board. Dr. Bodnar reported that the associate members residing in Hungary have
gathered on May 27, 2009 in order to discuss the establishment of the Hungary
Chapter and ask the members of the HMAA to support this and to accept the
necessary bylaws modifications presented by the Bylaws Committee. The
associate members in Hungary propose the following Chapter positions and
officers: Eszter Bodnar as President, Vilmos Dani as Vice-President, Adam
Tarnoki as Secretary, David Tarnoki as Membership Chair and Treasurer, Laszlo10
Csathy as Liaison with the Medical Universities, Tibor Elekes as Fellowsip
Program Chair, Noemi Baffy and Annamaria Mechtler as Liaisons with the
English Courses at the Medical Universities, and Maria Lengyel and Tamas
Fenyvesi as Scientific Counselors. All these persons are associate members of the
HMAA with paid dues in 2009.
Dr. Bodnar emphasized that the growing number of associate and student
members, the large number of medical students interested in the Buffalo exchange
program and the successful conferences are the results of a team effort and the
enthusiasm of their members, including the Tarnoki twins, Laszlo Csathy and
Vilmos Dani, among others. She expressed her hope that by establishing the
Hungary Chapter, the associate members residing in Hungary can contribute even
more to the goals and successes of the HMAA.
Dr. Peredy noted that on the membership Meeting there will be a proposal to
change the bylaws to make it possible for the establishment of the Hungary
Chapter. If the membership approves of the changes, on Friday’s meeting the
Board can approve the establishment of the Hungary Chapter. Some questions
were raised whether there are some conflicts between our bylaws and the bylaws
of the Hungary Chapter they created. It was decided that the bylaws of the
Hungary Chapter needs to be re-reviewed to make certain that there are no
conflicts with the bylaws of the HMAA.
Dr. Garami expressed his opinion that as a chapter of our Association, the
Hungary Chapter should not have a separate website and should not use another
name, such as AMOSZ to identify themselves. Their website should be part of the
HMAA website. The Board agreed.
A discussion was held about the criteria to become a member of the Hungary
Chapter. As previously decided, it was emphasized that only members of the
HMAA (associate, regular or junior) may be members of any Chapter.
2. Report from Germany (Kovacs)
Dr. Kovacs reported that there are significant changes in healthcare in Germany.
Similar to the situation in Hungary, there is a significant emigration of doctors
from Germany. Unfortunately due to the situation in the economy and healthcare,
the motivation to come to this meeting is decreased. Physicians in Germany
cannot use the meeting for CME credits. Due to the cost of coming to the Annual
Meeting from overseas, Dr. Kovacs suggested that we should have two levels of
support for invited speakers. He noted that it is difficult to invite high quality
speakers to present at our meeting at the current level of support. A discussion
was held about finding ways to make the meeting more attractive for physicians
in Germany and in Europe in general.11
3. Report from Canada (Forbath)
Dr. Forbath had nothing to report to the Board. He noted that Canadian members
who traditionally came to our meeting in the past are getting to an age when it is
more difficult for them to travel. He estimates that there are only 10 Canadian
members of the HMAA at the present time.
XIV. New Business
Geza Acs, MD, PhD