In two days, I will hand over the gavel. It’s actually a meat tenderizer that I bought to run the meetings this year and it worked just great. A gavel with teeth. Regardless, I surrender it with mixed feelings. On one hand, a year as President of one of America’s leading academic societies is a lot of work. On the other, though, I feel like I am just getting started and that the ship is now running fast with sails full. As we all know from politics, systems with rotating leadership all have their virtues and vices.
The American Society of Andrology
The Society that I lead is the American Society of Andrology. It was founded in 1975 and has about 700 members, most of whom are academic researchers. I guess I have a soft spot for nerdy scientists who care about men’s health. Honestly, though, this group is unique. This week’s annual meeting in Montreal brings together a top-notch group of scientists and clinicians from around the world whose expertise, interest, friendship and collegiality lend to a remarkable cross-fertilization of science and medicine.
What the Heck is Andrology?
My mother still asks me this question. Andrology is the study of men’s health and, in particular, the male reproductive system. It involves all aspects of reproductive fitness, including fertility and infertility, erections, hormones and sexuality. As a reflect upon the Society’s position in the academic world, my elevator pitch is that this Society’s focus is on “The Science of Men’s Health.”
The year has been a good one: restoring falling membership, bringing financial stability, initiating a strategic plan and an endowment campaign, and brokering the merger of the Society’s academic journal with that of its European counterpart, the European Academy of Andrology, to ensure its future livelihood.
But, as with most endeavors, the people make the party and I must admit, my colleagues rose magnificently to execute the demanding projects that I put forth this year. And this means a whole lot. In fact, this and only this is substance of my final toast, a limerick, at the Welcome reception tonight. I probably shouldn’t leak it here early, but for you dear reader I submit:
There once was a crazy society,
Subscribed to by much notoriety,
Its goal, so sincere,
To study things dear,
Like sex, with the utmost sobriety.
But not only sex does it foster,
There is but a much longer roster:
Like sperm, prostate, erections,
And most epididymal sections,
And diseases like clap and zoster.
And don’t forget contraception,
The inimitable acrosome reaction,
And ejaculation that’s early,
With low libido that’s surely
A sign of hormonal malfunction.
So as we meet here in old Montreal,
Let’s remember these orders so tall:
To discuss, think and debate,
With friends old, new and irate,
The science to which we are called.