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MINUTES OF THE
HUNGARIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA
BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING – 12:00 PM, APRIL 14TH, 2012
HELMSLEY’S SANDCASTLE HOTEL, SARASOTA, FLORIDA
Voting BOD members present: total votes 10 (plus Presidential tie-breaker)
I. Somkuti, G. Baffy, G. Acs, A. Varga, T. Lajos, Z. Garami, P. Leidl, T. Krisztinicz
Advisory Board President: T. Peredy
K. Kismartoni, I. Krisztinicz, P. Petrusz, P. Forbath, L. Mechtler (via Skype)
Alternates: L. Toth (voting), A. Khoor (voting), L. Csathy (via Skype)
Also present: I. Stadler, A. Stadler, S. Mechtler (via Skype)
I. Approval of Minutes
Quorum was established with 10 voting members present. The Minutes of the
October 2011 BOD meetings were approved.
II. Presidential Address
Dr. Somkuti thanked members of the BOD for their work. He also thanked Drs.
A. and D. Tarnoki and Dr. Csathy for their work in Hungary, and Drs. Garami, Baffy and
Peredy along with Adam Kornafeld, for their work on the website. He noted that the
website is now updated with many new features. He further thanked Dr. Varga for
organizing the social programs, and Anna Sandor for her continued support.
Dr. Somkuti announced that the HMAA has received another $20,000 grant from
the Philadelphia Hungarian Women’s Auxiliary to support the activities of the
Association. Their only request is that we send them correspondence acknowledging
receipt of this grant and stating our intentions for the use of these funds.
Dr. Somkuti has received the preliminary announcement for the Balatonfured
student conference from Dr. Tarnoki and asked if members of the BOD are planning to
attend. He announced that Dr. Csathy has taken over from Dr. Bodnar as liaison in
Hungary and President of the Hungary Chapter. Dr. Csathy wrote a letter to the
Hungarian Undersecretary of Health, Dr. Szocska, inviting him to the Balatonfured
meeting. He noted that Marcel Pop has been replaced by Julia Ferkis as the student
exchange international relations director at SOTE. Dr. Matolcsy will meet with her in the
upcoming days. The MET meeting will be held in September in Nagyvarad. Dr. Somkuti2
has received no correspondence from the MET regarding the meeting. He reminded the
Board that Dr. T. Krisztinicz is our representative to the MET.
Dr. Somkuti noted that Dr. Gergacz has recently relocated to Sarasota and was
approved to be the honorary consul for the Hungarian government in Sarasota.
A discussion was held about attendance on the BOD meetings and voting rights
via Skype in view of rising costs of travel. He reminded the Board that we have
previously decided on this issue. Dr. Baffy suggested that we should have the spring
BOD meeting a few weeks later, maybe even in early May, when spring break season is
over and travel costs are lower. There was no objection to this suggestion. The exact date
of the next spring BOD meeting will be set in October.
Dr. Somkuti announced that after a long time, a spring issue of the Archives was
published and it will be published on the website as well. He announced that Dr. Gombos
has established a fund for Hungarian medical students studying in Slovakia or the Czech
Republic to attend our Annual Scientific Meeting.
Dr. Somkuti thanked Dr Baffy for visiting and presenting the Lifetime Award to
Dr. Frater, which he was unable to receive in person in October 2011.
With regards to the archiving of interesting and valuable society materials, Dr.
Somkuti suggested that we purchase a scanner, so that we could scan in and upload these
materials on the website. He asked all members to sort through the documents in their
possession by June 1, 2012 and mail the important ones to Dr. Garami to be scanned in.
Dr. Forbath noted that some of this material may have museal value and the Hungarian
National Archives would likely be interested in these. It was decided that such material
should be marked during the selection process and will be treated separately.
III. Secretary's report
Dr. Acs noted that there are several follow-up items from the last BOD meeting
that he wanted to remind the Board of. These items include the HMAA history book
suggestion and he noted that moving forward with the scanning of the archival
documents is a good start in this regard. He noted that we should have a mechanism to
provide letters of thanks for donations to the Association for tax purposes. He suggested
that we could create a template on the website to expedite this process. Dr. Baffy noted
that we can have template letters for several purposes on the website for the use of the
Dr. Acs reminded the BOD that last year the Philadelphia Women’s Auxiliary
requested that we match their donation to the Association in order to receive it. Although
they have donated to grant to the Association even without contributions from us, he
suggested that we should also step up and discuss such matching donations.3
Dr. Acs reminded members of the BOD to update their contact informations on
the website. He further reminded the BOD that there will be elections this year and there
are three Board members whose terms expire this year. We will also need nomination for
Dr. Acs reminded the BOD that we have previously discussed whether we should
include the fee for the Banquet in the registration fee in order to cover our costs. Dr.
Somkuti noted the we want to be inclusionary and accommodate all members who wish
to attend the banquet but could not for various reasons. Clearly, this would increase the
registration fee, but it was noted that this is general practice on other meetings. A. Stadler
noted that last year we lost $2,256 on the banquet, mostly due to the number of invited
guests. The Board agreed that inclusion of the costs in the registration would be a good
way to offset these expenses and simplify registration. On the other hand, it was noted
that this may not be fair to members who attend the meeting but cannot stay for the
banquet and the increased registration fee may result in decreased attendance at the
meeting. Following a discussion, the BOD decided not to implement any changes at this
IV. Treasurer’s Report
Dr. Harangozo provided a written report for the Board. A. Stadler noted that the
funds for the Student Travel Award ($2,000 per year) and the Gombos fund should be
listed separately on the report. A. Stadler presented the 2011 Annual Meeting finance
report and also provided a written report to the Board. Dr. Somkuti noted that the income
side does not include the $2,500 grant he had obtained from Fering. A. Stadler noted that
the working relationship with Mr. Margetta, our accountant, is very good. Since the
Auxiliary is dormant at this time, it was noted that we should have documentation for the
moving of money from the Auxiliary account to the general HMAA funds.
With regard to the student exchange program A. Stadler reported that the rent for
the accommodation has increased. Although the BOD decided that the contribution from
the students should be increased to $250.00 per month (provided they receive grants from
the HAESF), currently they only pay $150.00 per month. The BOD agreed that our
liaisons in Hungary should communicate the expectations to the students. Dr. Csathy is
aware of these responsibilities.
V. Program Report
Dr. Stadler has submitted a written report summarizing the evaluation of the 2011
Annual Scientific Meeting. We had 112 registered participants and 60 lectures. He noted
that the lectures were generally well received with evaluation scores for the lectures of
4.7 – 4.9 (on a scale of 1 -5). We have lost some hours of CME credit because some
presenters have not filled out the conflict of interest forms in time. He emphasized that
for the future meetings, he will need these forms two months in advance to obtain CME4
credits for the lectures. He also noted, that approximately 90% of participants submitted
requests for CME.
With regards to the upcoming meeting Dr. Stadler reported that 400 preliminary
announcements were mailed out, but he received very few answers. A discussion was
held about the usefulness of responding to the preliminary announcements with our intent
to participate. It was noted that this process does not yield useful information and that the
main goal for the spring BOD meeting is to present a program proposal with main topics
and sections to be organized for the upcoming Scientific Meeting. Dr. Garami suggested
that we organize the program so that all student presentations are in one session,
officially supported by the Philadelphia Hungarian Women’s Auxiliary and Student
Award funds, which will be reflected in the Program Book. The BOD agreed.
Dr. Stadler reminded the Board that we had decided to organize a Dr. Alker
memorial imaging session on the upcoming meeting. Dr. I. Krisztinicz noted that she has
invited several potential speakers, some of whom have conflicts with other commitments,
but she is still working on organizing the session. Dr. Stadler further reported that Dr.
Falus has proposed a session to be organized on the topic of “Lifestyle, epigenetics and
system medicine” and contacted some potential speakers. Further, Dr. Lajos
recommended that we should invite Dr. Bodis, the dean of the medical school in Pecs.
Although Dr. Somkuti has already sent an invitation to him, we have not received a
Dr. Stadler further reported that he had been contacted by the Phoenix Group with
regard to a presentation on H. pylori on the Annual Scientific Meeting. The BOD noted
that our Association does not qualify to be an appropriate target population based on their
criteria for their proposed lecture. The BOD decided against extending an invitation to
this group to give a presentation on the Annual Meeting.
With regard to the Conflict of Interest forms, Dr. Stadler has again emphasized
that they need to be signed in advance, not at the Scientific Meeting as Adam Kornafeld
previously suggested. The BOD agreed that the forms can be signed electronically at the
time of the abstract submissions via the website.
VI. Social Program Planning Committee Report
With regards to the planning of the social program, Dr. Varga reported that the
October Hungarian festival will be held again, altough she does not know the exact date
yet. She emphasized that this festival is a great opportunity to present our Association to
the community. She noted that six local physicians have already expressed interest in
attending our meeting.
Dr. Varga reported that Julia Bika is on the Board of the Kossuth Club, and they
have expressed their interest in organizing a program together with us.5
With regard to the social program for the upcoming meeting, she reported that the
Opening Reception will be held on Sunday. On Monday evening, we will have the first
BOD meeting. Ms. Bika has offered to provide a movie for a movie night. Tuesday night
was traditionally a night for dinner at Anna Sandor’s home, however she is moving back
to Hungary and will not be here for the meeting. Dr. and Mrs. Kismartoni have offered to
host a dinner in their new home in Sarasota Tuesday evening. October 31, 2011 will be
Halloween and Dr. Varga suggested that we organize a costume party. It was suggested
that this should be combined with a wine tastig event. The water polo game will also be
held on Wednesday afternoon along with the palacsinta/langos poolside party. The
Banquet will be held on Thursday at the Sarasota Yacht Club. We do not have a keynote
speaker yet for the Banquet. Although it was suggested that Mr. Matolcsy, the Finance
Minister of Hungary may be invited to the Banquet, the BOD decided that such a
presentation as keynote speaker would be too political. It was suggested that we should
invite Dr. Alan List, the great grandson of Ferenc Liszt, who is currently the CEO of the
Moffitt Cancer Center and a practicing hematologist, as keynote speaker. Dr. Acs will
extend an invitation to Dr. List and will report back to the BOD. The Kocsma party will
be organized on Friday night in the Hotel. Dr. Acs requested that Dr. Varga should send
out the final social program to the BOD, which should also be uploaded onto the website,
so that members can plan ahead.
VII. Membership Report
Dr. S. Mechtler provided a written report to the Board. He reported that we have
170 active members. Last year he had sent out 160 invoices and we had 118 paying
members, which was the highest in many years. He noted that he would prefer if
members would pay their dues as soon as possible and not wait until the Annual Meeting.
Dr. Peredy suggested that the membership fee should be higher by $25.00 if one pays on
site at the time of Annual Meeting.
Dr. S. Mechtler reported that three of our members, Drs. Elemer Zsigmond, Istvan
Nyirjesy and Stephen Luczek had died this past year.
Dr. Baffy noted that Adam Kornafeld will need the membership numbers of all
members and the expiration date of their membership in order to set up the online
membership dues payment. Dr. Acs noted that the membership dues cover membership
from January 1 to December 31 in each year. Dr. S. Mechtler was asked to provide
membership numbers and updated membership information to Adam Kornafeld. When
membership is set up on the website, members will be responsible for updating their
contact information and membership status on-line.
VIII. Student Exchange Program
Dr. L. Mechtler has submitted a written report to the Board. He reported that for
the 2012/2013 academic year, we have a total of 15 exchange students, 3 from SOTE, 46
from DOTE, 1 from POTE and 7 from SZOTE. One of the challenges they face is that
one of the major hospitals (Millard Fillmore Hospital) where the students used to have
their rotations was closed as they consolidated the hospital system in Buffalo. This
change has made it more difficult to obtain rotations for the students. Buffalo General
Hospital and Roswell Park Cancer Institute are the two facilities where students have
most of their rotations. He noted that Roswell Park is very supportive of the program and
the rotations there are of high quality.
Dr. L. Mechtler further reported that, despite her health problems, Eva Tamoga
still handles the logistics and needs of the exchange program and urged the BOD to
acknowledge Ms. Tamoga in every way possible.
Dr. L. Mechtler noted that Gyorgy Makadi, Drs. A. and D. Tarnoki and Dr.
Csathy are the key individuals in Hungary and play an important role in the exchange
program. He noted that Dr. Bodnar has recently stepped down from her leadership
position in Hungary and suggested that the BOD acknowledges her for her work in the
exchange program for many years. Dr Somkuti reported that he had written a letter of
thanks to Dr. Bodnar.
Dr. L. Mechtler further reported that the feedback from the students is generally
still good. Many of the students attended the HMAA Annual Meeting in October 2011.
He reminded the BOD that the Balatonfured meeting is scheduled to be held on August
18-19, 2012 and encouraged members to attend. He noted that the students are
interviewed by two committees in Hungary, the HMAA and the HAESF. The students
are made aware of this program by word of mouth and also by email notifications from
the Hungarian universities. He noted that SOTE is under-represented this year. The
students were interviewed by the HMAA committee (Drs. Csathy, Bodnar and Tarnoki
and an HAESF representative). The interviews are 10 minutes long and are held in
English. The HAESF interviews occur twice a year and the committee consists of their
representatives. He noted that this year only one in four students received scholarship
from the HAESF. He suggested that the President or his representative should meet with
the representatives of the HAESF to find out more about their potential concerns as a
much higher percentage of students used to receive support from them in past years.
Dr. I. Krisztinicz expressed her concerns that although the number of students
participating in the program remains stable, the number of applicants has dropped
significantly compared to last year. (Subsequent information obtained from Dr. Tarnoki
indicates that the number of applicants last year was unusually high and there is really no
significant change compared to past years’ numbers.) Dr. Baffy noted that SOTE
apparently will not credit any rotations outside of the European Union, which could have
an effect on the number of applicants from SOTE. Dr. Garami noted that since many
Hungarian medical students plan to obtain jobs in European countries, their interest in
American programs may be decreased.
IX. Publications Committee7
Dr. Somkuti reported that the spring issue of the Archives was published.
Answering a question from the BOD, A. Stadler noted that printing and mailing of the
archives cost $700.00 and $300.00, respectively. Dr. Baffy suggested that, in order to
reduce expenses, the Archives should be published on-line. Since Dr. Matolcsy will
likely need hard copies to hand out when meeting with contacts in Hungary, it was
suggested that a limited number of hard copies should be printed and mailed to Dr.
X. Awards Committee
In the name of the Awards Committee Dr. Somkuti recommended that we present
the Lifetime Member Award to Drs. Matolcsy and I. Krisztinicz at the upcoming Annual
Meeting. The BOD agreed with the recommendation.
Dr. Somkuti noted that Dr. Acs has put together and printed HMAA Membership
Certificates suitable for framing for members and these were presented to the members of
XI. Public Relations
Dr. Matolcsy has submitted a written report to the Board. Dr. Matolcsy, who is
currently in Hungary, reported by telephone that his plan is to meet with Julia Ferkes, the
new person responsible for international relations at SOTE to discuss our exchange
program. Dr. Matolcsy also plans to meet with Dr. Agoston Szel, the new chancellor of
SOTE. Dr. Forbath noted that Dr. Matolcsy should use these opportunities to promote the
exchange program. Dr. Matolcsy was made aware of the concerns of the Board regarding
the number of applicants to our exchange program and the potential reasons for their
decreased numbers and was asked to address these issues during his meetings in
Dr. Matolcsy reported that Mr. Matolcsy, the Minister of Economics is Hungary
may visit Sarasota at the time of our Annual Meeting and raised the possibility that he
could give a presentation at the Banquet. It was the Board’s opinion, that such a
presentation as Keynote Speaker would be too political for our Association, although he
would certainly be recognized as a representative of the Government of Hungary should
he attend the Banquet.
XII. New England Chapter Report
Dr. Baffy reported that since last October they had one meeting in December and
a talk was given by Laszlo Urban. He reported no significant change in their membership
XIII. Report from Hungary
Dr. Csathy reported that he had taken over as President of the Hungary Chapter
from Dr. Bodnar. They are working on organizing the Balatonfured student conference
with Drs. A. and D. Tarnoki. He will send a letter to Mr. Szocska in order to invite him to
the meeting. He noted that it is easier to obtain scholarships to foreign countries today for
rotations, which may play a role in the decreasing number of applications for our
Dr. I. Krisztinicz noted that according to the decision of the BOD last year, the
exchange students should pay $250.00 a months for rent and also pay for malpractice
insurance. We should have a mechanism to communicate these requirements to the
students. Dr. Acs noted that the only information on our website with regards to the
exchange program is a link to the website of the Hungary Chapter. He proposed that we
should have information about the exchange program including expectations from the
students on the main HMAA website. The BOD decided that Dr. L. Mechtler, as chair of
the exchange program, should write a letter to Dr. Csathy about the expectations of the
HMAA with regards to the exchange program to be distributed to the students.
XIV. Report from Germany
Dr. Kovacs has submitted no report to the Board.
XV. Old Business
With regard to the website, Dr. Baffy reported that the new website is up and
running at the same address (www.hmaa.org). It has many new features, the most
important of which is that we now have a not-for profit Pay-Pal account, which enables
us to collect membership dues, registration fees and donations on-line. Once Adam
Kornafeld can enter membership data, members will be able to manage their accounts on
the website. It was decided that the conflict of interest form should be completed on-line.
Members should also have access to other members’ contact information. With regard to
the stationary the BOD decided that the “Inc.” after the name of the HMAA should be
omitted from the letterhead. The official letterhead, as presented by Dr. Baffy, was
approved by the Board. The letterhead template will be available on the website for
officers and BOD members to use.
Dr. Acs suggested that emails sent to the email address “email@example.com” about
general information and inquiries about the HMAA should go to A. Stadler, and emails
addressing website issues to Adam Kornafeld should be sent to a different email address
(e.g. “firstname.lastname@example.org”). The question was raised when online payment and registration
will be available on the website. We also need on-line application for membership on the
website. Dr. Baffy stated that these can be completed within a few weeks. The BOD
emphasized the importance of these items to be completed in a timely fashion to be9
available for the upcoming meeting. It was noted that on-line abstract submission is
XVI. New Business
With regard to the upcoming elections, Dr. Peredy asked members of the
Advisory Council for input regarding the President-elect and potential BOD members.
Dr. Garami suggested that Dr. T. Krisztinicz should be nominated as President-elect. The
Advisory Council will make its recommendations to the BOD on the first October 2012
Dr. Baffy reported that he participated on the second conference of the US
Alumni Club, organized by the US Embassy at the Pazmany Peter University, where he
gave a presentation about the HMAA. This club includes people from all parts of
professional life in Hungary and is not restricted to the medical field. At the meeting he
met Dr. Katalin Nagy, the Dean of Szeged Dental School. Dr. Nagy inquired whether we
could have a chapter for dentists, so they can be part of our Association. The BOD noted
that that according to the bylaws, membership is not restricted to MDs and dentists can be
members of the HMAA.
XVII. Items for Follow-Up
1. Letter describing expectations from exchange students (L. Mechtler)
2. Membership list to be provided to Adam Kornafeld (S. Mechtler)
3. Website issues (on-line registration and payments (Baffy, Garami)
4. Finalized social program to be distributed (Varga)
5. Nominations (Peredy)
6. Archiving of HMAA documents (all)
The date and time for the next Board Meeting will be October 29, 2012, 8 pm in
the Lido conference room of the Helmsley Sandcastle Hotel.
Geza Acs, MD, PhD