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MINUTES OF THE
HUNGARIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA
BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING – 8:00 PM, OCTOBER 24TH, 2011
HELMSLEY’S SANDCASTLE HOTEL, SARASOTA, FLORIDA
Voting BOD members present: total votes 10 (plus Presidential tie-breaker)
I. Somkuti, G. Baffy, G. Acs, I. Pirko, Z. Garami, A. Varga, P. Leidl (by Skype), I.
K. Kismartoni, A. Matolcsy, I. Krisztinicz, P. Petrusz, P. Forbath
Alternates: L. Toth (voting), A. Khoor (voting), A. Tarnoki (voting), L. Csathy
Also present: I. Stadler, A. Stadler, I. Mechtler
I. Approval of Minutes
Quorum was established with 10 voting members present. The Minutes of the April 2011
BOD meetings were approved.
II. Presidential Address
Dr. Somkuti raised the question whether personal presence at the BOD meeting should be
mandatory by Board members or attending by Skype is an acceptable substitute.
Following a discussion the Board decided that members may attend via Skype, however,
only BOD members physically present will be able to vote. It was felt that there is no
need to change the bylaws with regards to this issue. In the case when there is no quorum
at the BOD meeting by members physically present, the BOD and the President can make
a decision with regards to that specific meeting at that time.
Dr. Somkuti thanked Board members for coming and supporting the society. He noted
that, thanks to the efforts of Dr. Pirko, the quality of the lectures on multiple sclerosis on
Monday was exceptional. It is a significant achievement of the society to be able to have
such outstanding lecturers who are well known international leaders in their field on the
meeting. He encouraged members to try invite such quality speakers from their own
institutions since the quality of the lectures in a major factor in bringing attendees back to
our scientific meetings.
Dr. Somkuti thanked Dr. Varga for her efforts in putting the social program together
Dr. Somkuti raised the issue of online registration, which the BOD has discussed on
numerous occasions. He noted that the creation of online registration and payment was
promised for this meeting but it did not occur. However, Adam Kornfeld, who can
potentially make this happen, is here at the meeting. Dr. Baffy reported that Mr. Kornfeld
did build up an alternate website, he is helping with the registration and things are in
motion. He further noted that the Board has to decide with regard to the website, whether
we want Mr. Kornfeld to run it and organize the other features including online
registration, abstract submission and payment. Dr. Garami noted that hosting the website
in Hungary costs us $100.00 per year, this change will cost $60.00 per month. He further
noted that our previous understanding was to ask Mr. Kornfeld to create online
registration and payment on our original website and questioned whether we really need a
new website. The question was raised whether we can negotiate the price of creating and
managing the website with Mr. Kornfeld. Dr. Harangozo noted that there is a website
committee, which should deal with this issue. The Board agreed that this is a critical issue
for the future of our Society. Dr. Somkuti emphasized the need to have someone to be
responsible for taking care of the website in a financially responsible manner and charged
Drs. Garami and Peredy to work on this with Mr. Kornfeld.
Dr. Somkuti emphasized the importance of adherence to the maximum of $7-8,000 limit
to support foreign travel and registration waivers. Dr. Stadler noted that while we try our
best to adhere to it, this year we may be a little over the limit due to the number of invited
speakers. He further noted that Drs. Forbath and Denes have offered their condos to be
used as accommodation for the students. Dr. Somkuti reminded the Board that Dr. Stadler
is the gatekeeper who makes the decision regarding invited speakers and all invitations
should be approved by him.
With regards to finances and fundraising, Dr. Somkuti reported that we had a great year
thanks to Dr. Baffy ($4,000.00 from a drug company), Dr. Hatchigian ($1,000.00
donation), Ms. Ventila ($1,000.00 donation) and, importantly, the Philadelphia Women’s
Society ($20,000.00 donation). Dr. Somkuti will make an official presentation of these
donations on the banquet. He also noted that there is a possibility that the Philadelphia
Women’s Society will make an additional donation to our Association. One of their
stipulations for additional funds is that they challenge our Board to match their
contribution. Dr. Matolcsy supported the proposal and further discussions will be held on
With regards to the Balatonfured student conference Dr. Somkuti thanked Drs. A. and D.
Tarnoki, Csathy and Veress for their time and effort to organize the meeting.
Dr. Somkuti reported that this year Drs. Forbath, Krisztinicz, Leidl and himself were
planning on attending the MET meeting in Marosvasarhely. Although Drs. Leidl and
Somkuti could not attend, he noted that there will be future opportunities to participate on
MET meetings. He further reported that he had discussions regarding our collaboration
with the MET with Dr. Kellermayer, their new President. Dr. Somkuti noted that he met
with Miklos Szocska, the Hungarian Deputy Secretary for Health, who promised to3
attend out meeting and introduce Dr. Somkuti to the consul in New York. Unfortunately,
he did not contact Dr. Somkuti subsequently despite several emails and telephone calls.
Dr. Somkuti noted that at the request of Drs. A. and D. Tarnoki, we also invited Dr.
Marcel Papp, who is the liaison with our student exchange, but unfortunately he had a
conflict and was unable to attend our Meeting.
With regards to promotional material, Dr. Somkuti noted the importance of the quality of
the material we have to present to people. He reported that he specifically put together the
Archives with this purpose in mind, including social agendas and a snapshot of the
activities of the Society. Dr. Somkuti noted that he had a discussion with Dr. G. Acs, Sr.,
who suggested the idea to put together the history of the Society in a nice book including
interviews with old members from the early days of the HMAA. Dr. Matolcsy noted that
he has many old HMAA records and we have to decide what to do with them. Dr.
Somkuti suggested that Dr. Matolcsy should select these records and send the selected
ones to him for future use. The Board agreed that Drs. Matolcsy and I. Krisztinicz will
work on this issue. Dr. Forbath noted that he also knows about many other archival
documents that we can use. Dr. Stadler suggested that we establish a committee to take
care of this. It was suggested that we should have all this material scanned in into one
place on our website. Dr. Somkuti noted the importance of taking concrete steps to
achieve this goal and the Board agreed that we should follow through with this.
III. Secretary's report
Dr. Acs reported that in an effort to increase membership, he had sent out letters of
invitations to a large number of Hungarian pathologists living in the US. Unfortunately,
he has received no responses. He also reported that he and Dr. Khoor particiated at the
Annual meeting of the Hungarian Society of Pathologists in Siofok, together with several
other Hungarian American Pathologist. They invited these pathologists to our Scientific
Meeting and plan on organizing a session with their participation. Dr. Baffy noted that he
has sent out invitations to potential members as well, unfortunately with similar results.
In an effort to produce the minutes in a timely fashion, Dr. Acs asked that all reports by
officers and BOD members be submitetd to him in electronic format before the meetings.
IV. Treasurer’s Report
Dr. Harangozo provided a written report for the Board. He reported that we had liability
in attorney fees of $5,000.00 to reinstate and transfer the Association from Ohio to
Florida, which is included in the balance. The issue of the cost of the student exchange
program was raised and it was noted that less students receive funds from the HAESF.
Dr. Acs reminded the BOD that a decision was made before that even if they do not get
funds the students should contribute to the costs of the stay in Buffalo. Dr. I. Krisztinicz
has raised the issue whether the funds in the Auxiliary bank accounts should be
transferred into HMAA account for tax liability purposes. Dr. Harangozo made the point
that since the Auxiliary is part of the HMAA, the funds in that account is accountable for4
under HMAA funds. Dr. Acs reminded the BOD that this issue was discussed before and
the decision was made to leave the decision of moving funds between the various
accounts to the Treasurer.
V. Program Report:
Dr. Stadler thanked all contributors, organizers and moderators for a so far successful
meeting. He reported that although originally there were 67 lectures submitted, we had
some cancellation and some addition. We in fact have 63 lectures to be presented at the
meeting. He further reported that he had some problems with adherence to the deadlines
and emphasized the need for online submission of the abstracts. Dr. Stadler noted that he
had some problems with obtaining CME credit for the meeting and reported that we lost
3 hours of credit due to the fact that some presenters did not submit the disclosure forms.
There was agreement in the Board that online registration will solve these problems.
Dr. Stadler reported that the date for next year’s meeting is October 28-November 2. We
will keep the same title and he asked for suggestions for potential topics for the meeting.
Dr. Baffy reported that he has received a proposal from Dr. Andras Falus about
“Lifestyle, healthy aging, nutrition and epigenetics” with an international panel. Dr. I.
Krisztinicz suggested a Dr. Alker memorial imaging session and that she is looking for
potential speakers to invite. Dr. Matolcsy suggested that we should invite a guest speaker
from Buffalo to give a memorial lecture. The Board will revisit the program for the next
meeting on the next meeting and additional suggestions will be welcomed at that time.
Dr. Pirko noted that he will take a more active role in the organization of the scientific
program in the upcoming year.
VI. Social Program Planning Committee Report
Dr. Varga thanked the BOD for the opportunity for organizing the social program for the
meeting. She reported that together with Dr. Kismartoni, they participated on the very
successful Hungarian Festival in Sarasote representing the HMAA. The Sarasota Hospital
has also supported them with gift items to give out to visitors. Dr. Varga reported that she
has recruited a number of local Hungarian physicians and Szilvia Fedor, a local lady to
help her with the organization of the social program and registration. Dr. Varga noted that
the social program is available as a Powerpoint presentation which is shown in between
the scientific sessions. The Board agreed that Dr. Varga’s presence in Sarasota can open
up new avenues of collaboration with local Hungariands and the local medical
community. Dr. Somkuti noted that he had some promotional material made and that he
donated these items to the Society. There was agreement that we should have continued
exposure at the Hungarian Festival in Sarasota and that we should make further efforts to
have promotional material and copies of the Archives to distribute at the festival.
Dr. Varga noted that there are some changes in the times for various events this year,
such as the water polo game, Banquet and Kocsma Party, where Frankie Holiday will5
provide the music. The Liszt piano night will be organized together with the Kossuth
Club followed by a dinner at a local restaurant. We also have many sport and children
programs and Dr. Varga has also organized a tour of the Hospital for those interested.
From a financial point of view, Dr. Varga reported that the social functions are breaking
VII. Membership Report
Dr. S. Mechtler provided a written report for the Board. We have 165 active members on
our list which is the most we had in many years.
VIII. Student Exchange Program
Dr. L. Mechtler has not submitted a written report to the Board and thus the Student
Exchange program report was tabled until the next BOD meeting on Friday.
Dr. Garami reported that the HAESF supported two Hungarian students for a full year to
do research in Houston. He noted that these students have also listed the HMAA as their
supporting organization. Dr. Garami raised the question whether that we should talk to
the HAESF to see if they can support the housing of the students directly. He also noted
that part of the reason the students do not receive grants from the HEASF is that they
copy each other’s letters of intent in their applications. The Board agreed that we should
have more instructions for the students which should also be included on our website. We
should keep up and strengthen our relationship with the HAESF. The Board agreed that
Drs. Garami, Matolcsy and Peredy should have discussions with the HAESF in this
IX. Publications Committee
Dr. Somkuti reminded members to send in the abstracts on time. He asked Dr. Bodnar to
send a report but received no answer. Ultimately, at Dr. Bodnar;s request Drs. A. and D.
Tarnoki submitted a report from Hungary. Drs. A. Tarnoki and Matolcsy noted that Dr.
Bodnar is very busy with her work and that she expressed her intention to fully
participate in the activities of HMAA in the future. Dr. Kismartoni nted that the bylaws
state that if a BOD member does not attend the meeting twice in a row, he/she should
resign. It was clarified that this rule does not apply to alternate members. Dr. Somkuti
noted that communication is very important within the Board and responses are required
from members when contacted with regards to various issues involving the Association.
Dr. Acs also noted that he receives very few responses for their email communications.
BOD members are encouraged to more actively participate in such communications.6
X. Awards Committee
Dr. Somkuti reported that we will be giving out two lifetime member awards to the
persons the Board has previously agreed on. In addition, there will be two student awards
as well, presented to Oravecz and Pipicz. He further noted that we are working on
certificates of membership for framing for all active members.
XI. Public Relations
Dr. Matolcsy reported that he talked to Andras Javor from the Hungarian government
who stated that he would be happy to attend our Meeting next year. He further noted that
the chair of family medicine from Semmelweis University is here and he suggested that
we invite him to address the board for a few minutes on the next meeting. He proposed
that the Hungarian Family Medicine Society may organize a meeting here immediately
following our meeting, which would help them get acquainted with our organization. It
was the Board’s opinion that their meeting should be separate from ours in any event.
Dr. Matolcsy has further reported that he had met with Dr. Marcel Pap, who is very
supportive of our Association. Dr. Pap has inquired about the possibility of collaborating
with us in nursing education in Hungary and whether it would be possible for nurses to
attend and present here at the meeting. The BOD noted that we have had nurses present
on our meeting before, so this is definitely is possibility.
Dr. Harngozo requested that on behalf of the Public Relations Committee, Dr. Matolcsy
should submit a written report so that members not so familiar with the personalities in
Hungarian politics can follow our interactions with the Hungarian organizations. The
Board agreed with the request.
XII. New England Chapter Report
Dr. Baffy reported that this year they only had two meetings. They have one new paying
member this year.
XIII. Report from Hungary
Dr. Csathy reported that Dr. Bodnar is very busy with her practice which has distracted
her form the daily HMAA activities recently. He reported that they have organized the
Balatonfured meeting. Dr. Tarnoki has submitted a written report to the Board about the
meeting. Dr. Csathy reported that have had some difficulty in the legal establishment of
the Chapter in Hungary as a legal organization and currently they are waiting on a
decision from the court, which will be necessary for them to provide invoices and to pay
bills on behalf of the Chapter. He further reported that currently they have 129 members,
but only 14 active physician members in the Hungary Chapter.7
Dr. Somkuti asked whether the members in Hungary see a strategy to convert the many
returning Buffalo students to HMAA membership. Dr. A. Tarnoki reported that less than
10 percent of the attendees at the Balatonfured Meeting are Buffalo alumni (that is from
over 300 alumni, 100 of which they have contact information for). Dr. Harangozo made a
motion that every student who comes to Buffalo must write a paragraph about their
rotation upon their departure in order to be able to get credit. Dr. Garami, while
supporting the motion, noted that there are testimonials from the students on our website.
The Board voted and unanimously agreed that it should be required of the students to
submit such an exit report and that it should be enforced by Dr. L. Mechtler, who
provides the certificates for the students. The Board further agreed that these testimonials
should be presented on our website.
Dr. Acs has raised a follow-up item with regards to the US Embassy’s efforts to establish
a US Alumni club and our participation in that effort. The BOD has tabled the issue until
the next meeting on Friday.
XIV. Report from Germany
Dr. Kovacs has not submitted a written report to the Board.
XV. Old Business
With regards to the website Dr. Acs suggested that Dr. Garami, together with the
committee of people he chooses, should submit specific recommendations in this regard
to the BOD on the Friday meeting for further discussions.
XVI. New Business
XVII. Items for Follow-Up
1. Online registration and dues payment (Drs. Baffy and Peredy).
2. HMAA history book (Drs. Matolcsy, I. Krisztinicz and Forbath)
3. Contributions by the BOD to match potential grant from the Philadelphia
Women’s Auxiliary (BOD).
4. Exit report from Buffalo students (Dr. L.Mechtler).
5. US Alumni Club (Drs. Peredy and Matolcsy).
Geza Acs, MD, PhD