Structure and Operating Procedures

Mission

 

The purpose of ITMIG is to promote the advancement of clinical and basic science pertaining to thymic malignancies and related mediastinal conditions. ITMIG is an academic organization that provides structure, organization and scientific rigor to research in these diseases.

 

 

Overview

 

ITMIG is a non-profit organization registered in the US with approved 501(c)(3) status.

ITMIG will develop and maintain infrastructure to facilitate international collaboration, coordinate and develop research initiatives, maintain close collaboration with other related organizations, and promote dissemination of knowledge as related to thymic malignancies and other mediastinal conditions. To accomplish this ITMIG will conduct specific projects, publications and hold an annual scientific meeting.

Membership is formally defined as described in this document.

The organization is governed by a steering committee, consisting of officers elected by the membership. Accomplishment of the mission is aided by several standing committees (Steering committee, Research/Infrastructure committee, Communication committee, Education Committee, Finance/Development committee, Nominating committee) and subcommittees (database, retro-/prospective research, tissue bank and biology, clinical trials, standards and quality, membership, regional leaders, advocates). This is supplemented by workgroups to address specific finite tasks and which are created and dissolved under the direction of the Steering committee.

The officers and councilors are elected by the membership to a 2 year term, and may be re-elected once. After a hiatus of 2 years, they may occasionally be elected again, starting a new cycle. The President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer are elected 1 year prior to assuming office in order to provide overlap and maintain continuity.

 

 

Governance

 

ITMIG is governed by an elected eight member Steering Committee consisting of the President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer and four Councilors. This body also has additional non- voting members: the Executive director (a paid individual to manage organization, maintain continuity and momentum, who shall be appointed by the Steering Committee) the immediate past president, and when applicable, incoming “elect” officers (President-elect, Vice President-elect, Secretary-elect, Treasurer-elect.).

The steering committee should involve a balance of specialties, geographic regions and ages among its members.

The Steering Committee shall:

  • Maintain momentum and smooth functioning of the standing committees subcommittees and specific workgroups through regular reports and oversight,
  • Make all major decisions (e.g. initiation or termination of workgroups, projects, or new initiatives, relationships with other organizations, major budgetary decisions),
  • Maintain good coordination between committees and workgroups,
  • Hold regular sessions to maintain focus on the future and initiate changes necessary.

 

The overall responsibilities of the elected officers are:

Officer Responsibility
President Overall functioning of the organization
Vice President Functions as Operations Manager. Chair of Research/Infrastructure committee, responsible for functioning and development of infrastructure including each of the subcommittees (database, retro- /prospective research, tissue bank and biology, clinical trials)
Secretary Manages the interface with the world outside ITMIG. Chair of the Education and of the Communication Committees, coordinates liaison with other organizations, organizes annual meeting, membership, oversight of subcommittees and specific workgroups
Treasurer Chair of Finance/Development Committee, oversight of finances, fundraising activities
Councilor Participate in steering committee meetings, takes on assigned tasks as needed

 

 

Membership

 

Overview: Membership in ITMIG is open to all individuals who are interested in thymic malignancy or related mediastinal conditions, unless an unresolved conflict-of-interest exists.

Types of membership: The three categories of members are: regular, honorary, and affiliate.

  • Regular members are healthcare professional or researchers, and will have full voting rights and responsibilities such as annual dues. Any health professional (physician, nurse etc.) or scientist interested in thymic malignancy or related mediastinal conditions is eligible for regular membership. Members of industries that are related to thymic malignancies or related conditions are not eligible for membership because of potential conflict of interest. Furthermore, individuals are ineligible if they have demonstrated unethical behavior or have a conflict of interest related to ITMIG that cannot be resolved or managed (in the opinion of the majority of the steering committee).

  • Honorary membership may be granted by the Steering Committee to well-respected individuals who have contributed to the achievement of the mission of ITMIG, or who play a significant role in activities related to ITMIG in related organizations or fields. Honorary members are not required to pay dues but have all rights of regular members, including voting, and eligibility for election to office or appointment to a committee.

  • Affiliate membership is given to individuals who share a commitment to the mission of ITMIG and do not qualify for regular membership. This includes the lay public and those in training in a healthcare or research profession (e.g. students, residents). Affiliate members are welcome to participate in ITMIG meetings and events, and are not subject to annual dues. These individuals are not eligible for an elected position but may be appointed to a committee or workgroup. Affiliate members who serve on ITMIG committees have voting rights on those committees, but affiliate members do not have voting rights in the general assembly.

Procedure: Anyone interested in applying for membership must fill out a written or on-line application; eligible individuals without conflicts are approved automatically. Any potential questions about eligibility or conflicts of interest will be addressed by the membership committee.

Privileges: All members (any type) will receive periodic newsletters and updates of ITMIG events and activities. Regular and honorary members are eligible for elected office or for appointment to committees and workgroups, are eligible to compete for internal funding opportunities if these exist, and are eligible to participate in the ITMIG infrastructure.

Dues: Regular members must pay annual dues to help cover administrative costs of the organization. This does not apply to honorary or affiliate members. The dues level is recommended by the steering committee but subject to approval by the membership.

Termination: Any member may resign from membership at any time by delivering written notice of resignation to ITMIG, but is not be entitled to a refund of any dues paid. If a member has acted in a way that has undermined the mission of ITMIG, the membership may be rescinded upon a ≥2/3 vote of the entire steering committee. A failure to pay dues for 1 year (after 2 reminders) will automatically result in termination of membership.

 

 

Operating Procedures

 

General Process

General Membership Voting: Voting on issues by the general membership will typically occur via the internet or at the annual meeting, in which case provisions will be made to include votes cast by those attending as well as those participating in a virtual manner as much as possible. Decisions will be made by a majority of the cast votes, provided there is a quorum (defined as at least 10% of the voting membership).

Steering Committee Voting: Decisions by the steering committee require approval by a majority of the cast votes of the steering committee (except in unusual circumstances as defined in this document), provided there is a quorum (defined as at least 50% of the voting members).

Specific workgroups: Specific workgroups are created by the steering committee to address specific issues. This requires a description of the issue, specific goals to be accomplished, a time period during which the workgroup exists, and a reporting structure within ITMIG. Upon completion of the task or the allotted time the workgroup is dissolved, unless an extension is approved by the steering committee. Workgroups report to the steering committee (at least twice per year), unless the steering committee assigns this responsibility to one of the standing committees.

New Initiatives: Any ITMIG Member is welcome, and encouraged to bring forth ideas for new initiatives. A one page concept sheet should be written and discussed with the steering committee. Actual implementation of the initiative requires a detailed outline of the project, goals, plan for execution, budget and anticipated completion. This must then be approved by regular vote of the steering committee.

Voting on Special Circumstances: As defined in this document, a ≥ 2/3 majority of the cast votes is required for issues regarding unusual events (i.e. that require the principles in this document to be temporarily overridden) or checks and balances (some situations require involvement of all eligible voting members).

Changes in the Structure and Operating Procedures: A proposed change to the bylaws, structure and operating procedures of ITMIG may be brought forth by any member. This must be approved by a ≥ 2/3 majority of the entire steering committee, and then must be approved by a majority of the members (provided a quorum is present). This shall not apply to issues such as the creation of specific workgroups, events or new initiatives of defined duration. This shall apply to changes in the standing committees, subcommittees, membership structure, governing structure or process of conducting business within ITMIG. Any change must be in accordance with the laws governing not-for profit organizations that are applicable to ITMIG and must remain true to the mission of ITMIG.

 

Implementation of the Structure

The chair of the 4 major committees is as defined in this document by the tasks of the elected officers. The president may reassign the task of chairing a major committee to another steering committee member if the designated individual is unwilling or unable to fulfill this obligation; this requires approval by a ≥2/3 majority of the voting steering committee.

The chair of each major committee will appoint other members, subject to approval by the steering committee. Major committees shall consist of 3-9 members, the number being at the discretion of the chair. The term of appointment is for 2 years, with multiple reappointments permitted. Ideally there should be continuity, with at least 1/3 of the committee members continuing for an additional term.

The subcommittees are led by a chair, appointed by the Chair of the major committee to which it reports, subject to the approval of the steering committee. Each subcommittee chair will be responsible for the appointment of other members (2 year terms, multiple reappointments permitted), subject to approval by the chair of the major committee to which the subcommittee reports.

The chair of a specific workgroup is appointed by the president, subject to approval by the steering committee or designee. The chair of each workgroup will appoint other members, subject to approval by the steering (or other designated) committee.

 

Terms of Office

The officers and councilors shall be elected by the membership to a 2-year term, and may be re- elected once. After a hiatus of 2 years, they may be elected again to the same or another elected position, starting a new cycle. The President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer are elected 1 year prior to assuming office in order to provide overlap and maintain continuity.

In order to encourage distribution of the task of president among multiple individuals, it is expected that an individual will serve as president for only 1 or 2 terms. Further terms are discouraged, although permissible after a hiatus and only if there are strong reasons for the nominating committee to consider this.

The term of appointment in a major committee or subcommittee is for 2 years, with multiple reappointments permitted. Ideally there should be continuity, with at least 1/3 of the committee members continuing for an additional term.

The term for all specific workgroups is for the duration of the workgroup.

Nominating committee members will serve a term of 4 years, with multiple reappointments permitted. The terms will be staggered to provide overlap.

 

Unusual Occurrences

If an elected position is vacated prematurely, the steering committee shall decide whether to leave the position vacant, appoint another individual to this position for the rest of the term or to hold an ad hoc election.

An individual may serve simultaneously in two elected capacities under unusual circumstances (i.e. a position has been vacated prematurely) if so decided by a ≥2/3 majority of the voting steering committee.

The Vice president will assume the responsibilities of the president if this position is vacated.

 

Checks and Balances

Nominations: Nominating committee decisions will stand regardless of steering committee opinion, with the exception of a unanimous decision by the full steering committee.

Nominating Committee: No confidence of the ITMIG membership in a nominating committee member: A petition signed by 20% of the ITMIG membership mandates that an ad hoc vote is conducted by the steering committee within 3 months regarding continuation of a nominating committee member. A vote of no confidence of ≥2/3 of the cast votes mandates the individual is relieved of this post. The president will appoint a new nominating committee member, but this individual must be approved by a majority of cast votes of the membership in an ad hoc ballot within 3 months.

Steering Committee: No confidence of the ITMIG membership in a steering committee member: A petition signed by 20% of the ITMIG membership mandates that an ad hoc vote is conducted by the nominating committee within 3 months regarding continuation of a steering committee member. A vote of no confidence of ≥2/3 of the cast votes mandates the individual is relieved of this post. The nominating committee will then initiate the normal process to recommend new individuals for the vacated position, which will be elected by a majority of cast votes of the membership within 6 months.

 

 

ITMIG Committees

 

Steering Committee

Charge: Maintain progress in each of the committees, make all major decision such as initiation or termination of a workgroup, major budgetary issues, and maintain good coordination between committees and workgroups.

Chair: President

Members: 8 voting members: President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, 4 councilors, all elected Additional non-voting members: Executive director, Past President, and incoming “elect” officers (President-elect, Vice President-elect, Secretary-elect, Treasurer-elect)

Process: Monthly conference calls, annual meeting

Specific Goals: Management: maintain momentum and smooth functioning of the standing committees, subcommittees and workgroups through regular reports and oversight Manage the budget of the organization. Strategic planning: Hold regular sessions to maintain focus on the future and initiate changes necessary to accomplish these Ongoing steering: decisions regarding meetings, relationships with other organizations, projects, new initiatives decided by steering committee, creation of new workgroups as necessary

 

 

Major Committees

 

1. Research and Infrastructure Committee

Charge: Develop/maintain the infrastructure necessary for true progress, coordinate efforts of the research and infrastructure subcommittees and workgroups

Chair: Vice President

Members: 5-7 individuals anticipated

Quarterly conference calls, annual meeting

Specific Goals: Infrastructure: Oversee, coordinate activities of infrastructure committees Research: Facilitate research initiatives, Seek innovative approaches. Actively build collaborations

 

Subcommittees

 

Database Committee

Charge: Develop/maintain an international database and associated infrastructure (e.g. the statistical core), monitor and maintain data quality.

 

Retro-/prospective Research Committee

Charge: Facilitate and coordinate research activities using the retro- or prospective database

 

Tissue Bank and Biology Committee

Charge Tissue Bank: Establish Processes and Infrastructure for an international tissue bank. Define resources needed. Propose rules for tissue sharing (e.g. study approval by research committee, respect for needs of source institution). Maintain high quality functioning of tissue bank.

Charge Biology: Develop, solicit basic science research projects, coordinate bench/translational projects, , TCGA, facilitate collaboration

 

Clinical Trials Committee

Charge: Promote and manage clinical research efforts.

Specific Goals:

  • Promote Research: Establish research priorities, actively develop funding sources
  • Manage research: Maintain overview of ongoing studies, evaluate research proposals
  • Networking – Maintain overview of clinical trials, link those with similar interests

 

 

2. Education Committee

Charge: Raise the standard of care through: dissemination of information, develop educational materials.

 

Subcommittees

 

Quality and Standards Committee

Charge: Establish/vet standards and develop tools to improve quality of care.

Specific Goals:

  • Establish standards: develop and vet standard definitions and process for ITMIG
  • Create Quality Standards: Establish metrics of quality
  • Quality improvement: develop tools to measure and track quality metrics, provide feedback, use these to improve care at participating centers

 

 

3. Communication Committee

Charge: communication between ITMIG and other associations, communication with ITMIG members and outside entities

Chair: Secretary

Specific Projects:

  • Annual Meeting- Long-term planning of annual meetings, selection of sites and program committees each year
  • General awareness – website, links, promotional materials, Translation of ITMIG “standards” into different languages
  • Liaison with other organizations
  • Membership – promote membership, manage existing membership

 

Subcommittees/Workgroups

 

Membership Committee

Charge: promote and manage ITMIG membership

Specific Goals:

  • Foster growth of the membership
  • Foster engagement of members in ITMIG activities
  • Foster involvement of trainees in ITMIG
  • Promote payment of membership dues

 

Website

Charge: Maintain, update and develop the website

 

Regional Leaders Committee

Charge: Promote awareness, Find ways ITMIG can help regional activities, Develop tools interface with regional infrastructure

 

Annual Program Committee (specific workgroup)

Charge: Organize the annual ITMIG meeting

Specific Issues:

  • Plan program, develop budget, organize the event
  • Conduct fundraising (together with finance committee)
  • The annual program committee should include the chair of the past annual program and of the nest future annual program

 

4. Finance and Development Committee

Charge: Maintain the fiscal viability of ITMIG; Development and fundraising

Chair: Treasurer

Members: 6 individuals anticipated; including several advocates committed to development

Process: Quarterly conference calls, bi-annual report to steering committee, annual report to membership

Specific Goals:

  • Audit and Finance
  • Developmental opportunities
  • Fundraising efforts
  • Private Grants and funding sources
  • Review status of existing grants, contracts

 

Subcommittees

 

Advocates committee

Charge: promote awareness of ITMIG and the Foundation for Thymic Cancer Research (FTCR) in the relevant patient communities, maintain communication with these communities, Engage in ITMIG activities where possible, Develop events, initiatives that can promote awareness, fundraise

 

5. Nominating Committee

Charge: To provide rational guidance if necessary in assembling a list of candidates for election by the membership. For example, it is impractical to decide by membership vote if multiple individuals (≥3) are nominated for the same position. Furthermore, the nominating committee should oversee the composition of the steering committee, maintaining balance (as outlined below). This may necessitate at times that the nominating committee limits candidates to a particular specialty or geographic location. Thus the nominating committee should gently manage the process of preparing a list of candidates, but the nominations and the actual election is determined by the membership.

The nominating committee is also responsible for evaluation of potential conflict of interest issues of both candidates for elected positions or individuals serving in an official capacity in the organization (i.e. on a committee etc.).

Process:

  • The nominating committee will actively seek nominations (including self nominations) for a position on the steering committee or other standing committees. The committee should then select 1-2 candidates for each position to be put before the membership for vote.
  • A candidate must receive a majority of the cast votes of the membership to be elected.
  • If only 1 candidate is presented for vote, and a majority of cast votes are not in favor, the nominating committee must hold a re-election within 3 months with 2 candidates on the ballot.

Specific tasks:

  • Balanced steering committee composition: The nominating committee will, as best as possible, ensure balance in the steering committee, ideally maintaining:
    • A mixture of specialties (e.g. Thoracic Surgery, Medical Oncology, Radiation Oncology, Pathology, Basic Science, Radiology, Neurology etc,)
    • at least 1 each from: Asia/Australia, Europe, North America
    • 3 senior individuals, 3 junior individuals

    A senior individual is defined as age ≥50 or Professor rank at the time of election to office.

  • Conflict of Interest: The nominating committee must solicit a conflict of interest statement at initiation and annually from all individuals serving in an official capacity (i.e. on a committee or workgroup). Potential conflicts must be resolved (e.g. a change in the individual’s activities or relationships) or managed (e.g. limiting ITMIG activities to areas in which no conflict exists), or the individual must be relieved of the ITMIG post.

General rules and guidelines:

  • Eligible individuals for an elected office should have a demonstrated interest in thymic malignancies or other mediastinal conditions (e.g. publications, major clinical trial involvement or research projects).
  • It is permissible for an individual to serve simultaneously as a councilor and as an incoming “elect” named officer. Otherwise one individual should not serve simultaneously in two elected capacities (exception under unusual circumstances if so decided by a ≥2/3 majority of the voting steering committee). An individual may hold and elected position and simultaneously one or more appointed positions.
  • In order to encourage distribution of the task of president among multiple individuals, it is expected that an individual will serve as president for only 1 or 2 terms. Further terms are discouraged, although permissible after a hiatus and only if there are strong reasons for the nominating committee to consider this.

 

Nominating committee composition: The nominating committee consists of 3 members and the past president. It is expected that these are generally more senior individuals, and not current members of the steering committee. The past president shall serve as a member and the chair until the next past president assumes this role. In the event the president is elected to a 2nd term the previous past president will continue as chair of the nominating committee. Other members of the nominating committee are appointed by the incumbent president, but subject to approval by the steering committee. Nominating committee members will serve a term of 4 years, with multiple reappointments permitted.

 

 

CONFLICT OF INTEREST

 

ITMIG adheres to a conflict of interest policy as set forth in its Corporate bylaws and as required for 501(c)(3) status. The purpose of this conflict of interest policy is to protect ITMIG’s status as a tax-exempt organization when it is contemplating entering into a transaction or arrangement that might benefit the private interest of an Officer or director or might result in a possible excess benefit transaction. The policy is extended to members of all committees and workgroups in the awarding of any grants, stipends, or other benefits, or in determining policy.

In addition, ITMIG will adhere to conflict of interest rules that are commonly practiced in the medical and scientific community, as long as they only supplement but not replace or conflict with those set forth in the Bylaws or any applicable state and federal laws governing conflict of interest applicable to nonprofit and charitable organizations.