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MINUTES OF THE
HUNGARIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA
BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING – 8:00 PM, OCTOBER 29TH, 2012
HELMSLEY’S SANDCASTLE HOTEL, SARASOTA, FLORIDA
Voting BOD members present: total votes 10 (plus Presidential tie-breaker)
I. Somkuti, G. Baffy, G. Acs, I. Harangozo, Z. Garami, T. Lajos, A. Varga, P. Leidl,
Advisory Board President: T. Peredy
L. Mechtler, K. Kismartoni, A. Matolcsy, I. Krisztinicz, P. Forbath
Alternates: L. Toth, A. Khoor, L. Csathy, A. Tarnoki, G. Kovacs
Also present: I. Stadler, A. Stadler, S. Mechtler
Before the start of the official BOD meeting several guests addressed the Board. Dr.
Andras Falus introduced the BOD to his non-profit health education foundation named
EduVital, aimed at improving the general health of the population in Hungary by
disseminating information. Dr. Falus asked the BOD for our moral support of their
endeavors, our permission to use the HMAA logo on their website to show our moral
support and potential financial aid for a radio program they will have the opportunity to
Mr. Istvan Balogh, President of the Children Cancer Foundation introduced the BOD to
their attempts to improve the care of children with cancer in Hungary. He stated that at
the current time, in addition to providing support for the care of Hungarian children with
cancer abroad, they also support financially Hungarian residents specializing in pediatric
oncology. He proposed that that they will provide support for our student exchange
program and asked for the help of the HMAA to select Hungarian residents and pediatric
oncology specialists to have training in the US with their financial support. Their goal is
to help every physician in Hungary specializing in the care of pediatric cancer patient to
have some training in the US. In exchange for his financial support of student, residents
and attendings, he was asking for our moral support and an official relationship with the
HMAA to select Hungarian doctors to participate in the program. Their relationship with
our organization could be based on a legal agreement between the HMAA and their
foundation. In specific, Dr. Balogh had three requests from the BOD: 1) He requested to
have a link to their foundation on our website to show our moral support; 2) Our help to
support collaboration between Hungarian and American physicians to improve the care
of Hungarian children with cancer; and 3) To accept their financial support to our
existing student exchange program and the exchange program he proposed for residents,
fellows and attendings.
It was decided that the BOD will further explore and discuss these proposals on the next
meeting at the end of the conference.2
Dr. L. Mechtler introduced Eva Tamoga and the current exchange students participating
in our program in Buffalo, NY. The BOD congratulated the students for their excellent
lectures. Dr. Garami asked that the students submit an exit report to the BOD upon the
completion of their rotations. Ms. Tamoga talked about some of the difficulties in
acquiring visas and insurance for the students, which partly depends on the fact that the
Hungarian medical schools, with the exception of the English program in Debrecen, are
not accredited in the State of New York. She emphasized that this year six American
students will have pathology rotations in Hungary and that they intend to use this
opportunity to improve the official relationship with the University of Buffalo.
Dr. Somkuti introduced Adam Kornafeld to the BOD and congratulated him for his
efforts to create a functional website and make on-line registration and payment available
for us. Adam Kornafeld updated the BOD on the status of the website. He noted that the
website is capable of managing the membership information in a database in addition to
its other functions. He asked that all members should take time to register on the website
to create and manage their on-line profile and use the tools available to us, including
social media. He further noted that there is a part of the website only accessible by
officers, which contain membership data, submitted abstracts as well as Agendas and
Minutes from current and past BOD meetings. Dr. Somkuti suggested that we should
have a ten minute tutorial during the meeting to familiarize the membership with the
functions of the website. Dr. Stadler noted that there were some difficulties with the
online Abstract Submission and Conflict of Interest Forms. A. Stadler noted that online
payments made through the PayPal site do not immediately show up on our bank
account. Adam Kornafeld replied that these funds should be manually transferred from
the HMAA PayPal account to our traditional bank account. It was made clear that in
order to make online payments, members can use credit cards on the website. Following a
discussion the BOD agreed that such concerns and difficulties should be brought to the
attention to Mr. Kornafeld directly (best by email at email@example.com), who will work
on the solutions so that these issues will be fixed by the next meeting. Answering a
question from Dr. Peredy, Mr. Kornafeld noted that our website is no longer managed by
Interware, they only manage the “hmaa.org” domain name for approximately $6.50 per
month. It was agreed that we should transfer the management of the domain name from
Interware to ourselves.
I. Approval of Minutes
Quorum was established with 10 voting members present. The Minutes of the April 2012
BOD meetings were approved.
II. Presidential Address
Dr. Somkuti noted that the fact that other foundations and organizations approach us to
help their missions reflects the maturation and increased recognition of our Association.3
Dr. Somkuti thanked members who helped him run the Association during his tenure,
including Drs. Baffy, Peredy, Garami, Tanokis and Csathy. He expressed his special
thanks to Dr. Varga for stepping up and organizing our social program. He thanked Dr.
Matolcsy for being our ambassador and Dr. Acs for his work as Secretary of the HMAA.
He further thanked all involved in the students exchange program.
With regard to our fundraising efforts, Dr. Somkuti reported that the widow of our former
member, Dr. Elemer Zsigmond, who recently passed away, has donated $10,000 in the
name of his late husband to support our educational and student exchange program. He
further reported that the Philadelphia Women’s Auxiliary has committed to donate
another $10,000 to the HMAA, which is forthcoming in the next three to six months. Dr.
Somkuti also received a $1,000 donation from the GoodStart Genetics corporation.
He noted that the Balatonfured meeting was very successful with 11 of our Board
members attending. Members can read about the meeting in the special issue of the
Archives. Representative from the US Embassy, the Hungarian Ministry of Health and all
Hungarian Medical Universities attended the meeting. He urged members to make every
effort to participate on future meetings. Dr. Somkuti reported that together with Dr. L.
Mechler he conducted exit interviews with the Buffalo exchange students at that meeting,
which is a requirement now for students participating in our program. The BOD had an
opportunity to read these reports, which were mostly favorable with some minor
Dr. Somkuti further reported that he had the opportunity to meet with two high level US
Embassy officials, one in Budapest (Robert Riley) and one in Pozsony; both
representatives expressed interest in our Association and our efforts and offered their
Dr. Somkuti officially welcomed Dr. Csathy as the President of the Hungary Chapter and
thanked him for his work. He reported that he participated on the MET meeting on
Nagyvarad this year. The MET reaffirmed their commitment to cooperate with our
organization. Dr. Somkuti noted that we received a letter from the Hungarian Academy
of Sciences, who are interested in extending our membership presence in the Hungarian
Science Abroad Section.
Dr. Somkuti asked the BOD to stand in remembrance of our members who passed away
during the past year or being seriously ill at the current time, including Drs. Istvan
Luczek, Philomena Luckek, Elemer Zsigmond, Susan Gerter and Stephen Frater.
Dr. Somkuti finally noted that his marketing department has provided us with HMAA
logo write-pads and pens and HMAA logo wine glasses for the Kocsma Party, which Dr.
Somkuti donated to the Association.4
III. Secretary's report
With regards to the archiving of HMAA material Dr. Acs reminded the BOD to send all
such material to Dr. Garami, who will be responsible for scanning these in and put them
on the website. Dr. Garami will also be the primary gatekeeper for what material can be
accessed publicly and what can be accessed only by members and/or officials.
He reminded the BOD that on the last meeting the Board agreed to have the spring
meeting at a later time in May. He proposed that the potential dates for this next spring
meeting include May 4, 11 or 18 of 2013. The BOD will decide on the exact date on the
He reminded the BOD that we have nominations this year and asked the Nominating
Committee to present their nominations for President-Elect, BOD members and alternate
members. He also reminded the BOD that it should have a vote on Dr. Peredy, PastPresident, to become an elected member of the Advisory Board. Dr. Acs made a motion,
which was seconded, and the BOD unanimously voted that Dr. Peredy should become a
member of the Advisory Board.
Dr. Acs reminded the BOD that it has previously talked about increasingthe registration
fee for on-site registration, compared to on-line or early registration. He made a motion
that pre-registration online should be kept at the same level as it is now and to increase
the on-site registration fee by $50.00. He emphasized the importance of providing an
incentive for early and on-line registration. It was suggested that the cutoff for on-line
registration should be 1 month before the meeting. It was also suggested that for retired
phycians, residents and Hungarian members the difference would be pro-rated. The
motion was seconded and approved by the BOD.
IV. Treasurer’s Report
Dr. Harangozo provided a written report for the Board. He noted that our finances have
improved significantly in the past year, thanks mainly to the significant donation form the
Philadelpia Women’s Auxiliary’s. He thanked Dr. Somkuti for his efforts in obtaining
these funds. He also thanked A. Stadler for her work with her help in managing the
finances of the organization. He proposed that the BOD should consider investing some
of our assets in CDs. He thanked for the contributions to the two latest funds, the Elemer
Zsigmond fund and the Student Travel Award fund contributed by Drs. G. and P. Acs.
Dr. Somkuti asked Dr. Harangozo to make a suggestion to the BOD whether we should
invest some of our assets.
V. Program Report
Dr. Stadler thanked the BOD for the opportunity to organize the program and for the help
of Program Committee Members, including Drs. Somkuti, Baffy, Garami, Acs, Falus,5
Matolcsy and A. and D. Tarnoki. On the current meeting we have 58 lectures (2 were
canceled). According to the University of Buffalo CME office we receive 22.5 hours of
CME credit for the program. He reminded the BOD that the University requires us to
submit the necessary CME and COI forms six weeks before the meeting. He noted that
the Young Investigator Session was a great success and suggested that we should
organize such a session in upcoming meetings. He asked for suggestions for topics for
next years’ meeting, which can be presented on Friday’s meeting. Dr. Garami noted that
we should enforce the time limits for the presentations. The BOD agreed and suggested
that we should use available technology to achieve this, in addition to the responsibility
of the moderators for the sessions.
VI. Social Program Planning Committee Report
Dr. Varga thanked BOD members for their help. She reported that she, together with Dr.
Lajos, represened us at the Hungarian Fesival in Sarasota this year, wich was our third
year being present at the Festival. She noted that Dr. Gergatz was appointed as honorary
consul in Sarasota. The support of the Sarasota Memorial Hospital is very important, and
they have a tour of the hospital scheduled for this week. With regards to the social
program, Dr. Varga reported that the opening reception was successful. She noted that
she has organized a fishing tournament, depending on weather conditions. The Banquet
will be held at the Sarasota Yacht Club, although the fees are getting tight, and she
suggested that we may have to consider raising the fee for the banquet in the future. She
reported that we will have the Kocsma party on Friday organized in the restaurant of the
hotel. The Napraforgo children’s dance assamble will perform, followed by a wine
tasting organized by Dr. Garami. The BOD thanked Dr. Varga for her hard work.
VII. Membership Report
Dr. S. Mechtler provided a written report for the Board. He reported that we have 163
active members. He has sent out invoices to members but received a response to less than
half of them. He has not yet sent out a second invoice yet. Fourteen members have paid
on-site at the meeting. Since we can now pay the dues on-line, he plans to send out email
notifications next year and only send letters after the second email notifications. Dr.
Baffy suggested that we should have a yearly deadline for paying the annual dues. Dr.
Somkuti suggested that since last year we had a good response to the second notification
letters/invoices, we should continue to send these to active members. We should also
emphasize that with our membership we also get reduced fees for MET and other
meetings. Dr. Harangozo noted that this process should be streamlined on the website.
The BOD agreed that this is the goal and that it currently works at least in part; this issue
will be discussed with Adam Kornefeld. Dr. Stadler suggested that any member who
recruits a new member should get a 10% discount on the membership fee. Following a
discussion the BOD suggested that Drs. Stadler and S. Mechtler will bring a specific
suggestion to the BOD on the Friday meeting.6
VIII. Student Exchange Program
Dr. L. Mechtler reported that although the HMAA supports the student exchange
program, he noted that the financial support is not that significant. We pay for room and
board for the students who do not receive a scholarship. They put in a lot of effort in
Buffalo, especially Eva Tamoga, who the BOD supported before financially. We should
write a letter to her to thank for her efforts. He asked the BOD if we can provide
something more and noted that the pediatric oncology proposal of Mr. Balogh is an
opportunity to further our program. The BOD asked Dr. L. Mechtler to provide a budget
with the expenses so that we can determine the actual needs of the program and best we
can support it.
Dr. L. Mechtler further reported that this year six American medical students will have
rotations in Pathology in Hungary and that he provides orientation for these students. He
emphasized that when these students finish their rotations in March, he will try to use the
positive feedback from them to improve our relationship with the University of Buffalo.
Dr. Matolcsy noted that he had discussions with Dr. Agoston Szel, the new dean of
Semmelweis University, who is very interested in our exchange program. Dr. L. Mechtler
reported that he had written a letter to SOTE requesting that they go through the process
to be recognized in the State of New York. A discussion was held about how we could
potentially help in this process. Dr. L. Mechtler clarified that the Hungarian Universities
are recognized for licensing purposes in the US and the issue is about the ability of the
Hungarian students to do rotations of longer duration outside of Hungary, because then
their diploma will not be recognized by the State of New York and they cannot enter
residency programs in that state. Dr. Matolcsy suggested that the HMAA should write an
official letter to Dr. Agoston Szel at SOTE and the Ministry about our concerns with the
above process. Dr. A. Tarnoki reported that this is now in process.
IX. Publications Committee
Dr. Somkuti reported that the Spring and Fall issues of the Archives have been published,
in addition to a special issue for the Balatonfured meeting. They still struggle with
X. Awards Committee
The two lifetime awardees as well as the student awardees will be recognized on the
XI. Public Relations
Dr. Matolcsy noted that the fact that two individuals approached the BOD today asking
for our support is an attestation to the importance of our society. He reported that he had
met with Ildiko Horvath at the Hungarian Ministry and discussed the student exchange
program, and that she was very supportive. Dr Baffy announced that Dr. Matolcsy has
been awarded the Batthyany-Strattmann Laszlo award, which will be presented to him on
XII. New England Chapter Report
Dr. Baffy reported that there are no major changes involving the New England Chapter.
In May they had their 28th meeting and their membership remains stable.
XIII. Report from Hungary
Dr. Csathy reported that they had some legal problems but they are now accepted by the
court in Hungary. They have 104 medical student members and 30 paying members. All
four medical schools are represented. The Balatonfured meeting was a success, although
they had a negative financial balance. They may have to make some adjustments with the
fees next year. He is trying to meet with Miklos Szocska to talk about our organization.
Dr. Csathy noted that the Balatonfured meeting is in no competition with our annual
meeting and Hungarian physicians are not coming to Sarasota for other reasons. The
BOD assured him that we are very happy and proud of the Balatonfured meeting and
their hard work in organizing it and there is no perceived competition with our meeting
among BOD members.
XIV. Report from Canada
Dr. Forbath reported that less and less members are participating in our society from
Canada. There are several reasons for this, including that fact that licensing is difficult in
Canada, so there are practically no first generation Hungarian doctors who would come to
our meeting. The older members are not practicing anymore and, unfortunately, the
second generation Hungarian physicians do not seem to be interested in the society.
XV. Report form Germany
Dr. Kovacs reported that in general there is no interest in participating on the meeting
partly because of CME issues, and he feels that he will need new strategies to attract
colleagues. One possibility is to contact German medical doctors who obtained their
medical education in Hungary.8
XVI. Old Business
1. Nominations. Dr. Peredy reported that one BOD member is completing his second
term and therefore cannot be re-elected. The nominating committee recommended to the
BOD that Dr. T. Krisztinicz should be named as President-Elect. The BOD voted and
unanimously supported that Dr. T. Krisztinicz be named as President-Elect. The
Committee recommended that Dr. P. Leidl should be re-elected as BOD member and that
Drs. A. Khoor and L. Toth be nominated as BOD members. BOD members
recommended that Drs. Z. Gombos, M. Justin, J. Tanyi, Sz. Kis, A. Sandor and G.
Marosan should be considered as nominees for alternate members.
XVII. New Business
1. Dr. Falus’ proposal. The BOD agreed that while his efforts are noble and valuable, we
are not in the position to support it financially. Further discussions will be held on the
Friday BOD meeting.
2. Mr. Balogh’s proposal. With regards to Mr. Balogh’s three specific requests (see
above), Dr. Harangozo recommended that Drs. Somkuti and Peredy meet with Mr.
Balogh and obtain more specific information about his proposal. The BOD will revisit
this issue on the Friday meeting.
XVIII. Items for Follow-Up
1. Investment of assets (Harangozo)
2. Membership fee incetives (I. Stadler, S. Mechtler)
3. Budget for student exchange (L. Mechtler)
The date and time for the next Board Meeting is Friday, November 2, 2012,
immediately following the scientific program in the restaurant of the Helmsley
Geza Acs, MD, PhD