History of the CSEM

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In 1974 the CSEM began negotiations with the Royal College to examine the issue of certification examinations in the subspecialty of Endocrinology and Metabolism. Former president, Dr. Sonia Salisbury, played a major role in the development of this certification process, and Dr. Keith Dawson recalls that the development of a Royal College specialty in endocrinology was a major reason for the founding of the CSEM.

In 1974 and 1975, Dr. Michel Chrétien served as the delegate of the CSEM as part of a team negotiating for increased medical research funding. These efforts met with some success at the time and the society has continued a strong role as an advocate for more funding for the Medical Research Council of Canada, and the successor to the MRC, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

As former president Dr. Harvey Guyda points out, Endocrinology and Metabolism has traditionally been Canada’s strongest discipline in academic medicine and the CSEM has always had a very prominent role in the Annual Meeting of the Royal College and the CSCI. Dr. Guyda notes that because so many of our proposals for the meeting program were accepted, we "created a problem for our membership because it meant that our program was spread out over the full 4 to 5 days". In the mid-1970s, up to one-third of all abstracts accepted at the CSCI Royal College Annual Meeting were from the members of the CSEM. Our society members became discouraged by the high rejection rate which naturally befell to the greater proportion of submitted abstracts.

Another major CSEM contribution to the medical science-education field was the establishment of the Sandoz Lectureship in 1975. Sandoz Canada (now Novartis Canada) contributed significantly over the years to the education programs of our society. Our second president, Dr. Henry Friesen, underscores the critical role played by Tony Nalecz who was Medical Director of Sandoz at the time. Dr. Friesen recalls, "I proposed to Tony Nalecz of Sandoz that he should consider sponsorship of a high profile lectureship which would enable the Society to bring in outstanding talent and thus enrich the program. It was gratifying to me how quickly he supported the idea and, as I remember, he agreed it should be a regular feature by making an initial 3 to 5 year commitment. Sandoz not only honoured that initial goal but, as we all knew, the Sandoz Lecture is one of the highlights of the Annual Meeting." The Sandoz Lectureship has been awarded to some of the most prominent endocrinologists in the world (including number of Canadians). Sandoz has also supported the society's newsletter which is published twice a year, and recently established the Antoni Nalecz Memorial Award for the best abstract submitted to the CSEM annual program.

In 1995 the CSEM established the D. Harold Copp Young Investigator-in-Training Award for the best abstract at the Annual Meeting by a trainee in an educational program. This award was personally presented by Dr. Copp at its inauguration in Montreal and at the 1997 Vancouver Annual Meeting. To support endocrine research by students the CSEM created in 1994 five annual Student Travel Awards for scientific presentations at the Annual Meeting.

Through the late 1970s and early 1980s negotiations continued with the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada to provide guidelines for establishment of training programs in Endocrinology and Metabolism and certification for the subspecialty. In 1982 the membership was polled and the proposal for the establishment of a certificate of special competence in Endocrinology and Metabolism was approved. A committee was formed to communicate with the Royal College. In 1983 the Royal College Council approved the establishment of a new subspecialty qualification in Endocrinology and Metabolism based on prior certification in internal medicine or pediatrics. The first Royal College examination for qualification for this certificate was held in 1985. The standards for training programs were accepted, and universities across the country have received Royal College approval.

A number of major international educational and scientific programs have been held in Canada with the assistance of the CSEM. Probably the most notable was the International Society of Endocrinology's World Congress held in Québec City in 1984. There were 2,781 abstracts presented at this congress in addition to 200 symposia, 10 plenary lectures, and 20 meet-the-professor speakers. At the time, this was the largest meeting held by the International Society of Endocrinology. Dr. Fernand Labrie played a critical role in bringing this meeting to Canada and he and a large number of CSEM members were prominent in organizing the program and ancillary symposia.

Other CSEM collaborations with international organizations have brought important conferences to Canada. The University of Toronto Endocrine Division hosted the Endocrine Society's Post-Graduate Assembly (now called Clinical Endocrinology Update) in Toronto in 1977 and 1994. Dr. David Goltzman played a key role in Montreal hosting of the 10th Meeting of the International Conference on Calcium Regulating Hormones (now the International Bone and Mineral Society) which was held in conjunction with the American Society of Bone and Mineral Research’s Annual Meeting held in 1989 in Montreal. The IBMS meeting is held every three years, and it returned to Montreal in 2007.