From the CRB President


From the CRB President

From the CRB President:

Gerry Celia, 

So, I’m your new president. There it is. I’ve said it. 

In these very strange times in which we live, that title somehow carries less grandeur and more anger and trepidation than it once did. We have come to view our presidents, be they of industry or nations, as these ultra-powerful individuals who will tell us how we should think, what we should do, and generally give direction to our lives. For those who agree with them, there is often disappointment, for those who don’t, there is a lot of anger. Being a president these days sounds awful. 

With that in mind, I’m going to harken back to a somewhat different ideology. In 1961 President Kennedy famously instructed the American people to “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country". This sentiment was rooted in the original concept of the US government to be a servant of a self-guided people. It implored people to take an active role in the future of their country. Now you can argue the reality of this all day and night when it comes to Washington, but in the CRB I’m going to tell you flat out that we are here to be the servants of the organization. Each of us are here not because it gives us any power (believe me, it REALLY, REALLY doesn’t), but because we accepted an invitation to try and shape the CRB according to the will and desire of the membership. That is the catch though, isn’t it? 

I was first approached to assist on the conference planning committee many years ago in Austin, TX by Bill Boone and Dean Morbeck (Thanks a lot guys - that experience was somewhere between “seeing how the sausage is made” and discovering your parents are Santa Claus. It was so much easier when I didn’t realize all the work that went on behind the scenes). I have since served as chair or member of a number of these committees until finally landing where I am now. In all that time, the unofficial theme was and continues to be “How do we engage our membership?” In other words, how do we get you to participate more in what we represent? We can’t really shape this according to the will of the membership if we don’t know what that will is. To a lot of you, myself included at one time, the CRB is simply the branch of the AAB that gives us CEUs so we can maintain our certification. We pay our dues, hit the conference every year or so, and move on. We take the organization for granted. What we don’t realize is that a lot of blood, sweat, and tears went into rolling us reproductive types into the AAB so that CLIA and the government (the other government, not the one that I just proclaimed was your servant, but the one that you argue about on Facebook) would leave us alone. We also don’t appreciate all the efforts that go on every day, through the AAB, to make sure laws and regulations aren’t passed that would prevent us from practicing our craft. Or all the effort that goes into the yearly symposium, or the creation of the board exams, or the educational programs, etc, etc. 

Interestingly, over the years I have come to discover that foreigners seem to have a greater appreciation for the CRB, its educational programs, and the board certification process, than most of our domestic members. I think I first learned this when heading the credentialing committee: I was approached by a woman living in Iraq who was seeking to take the TS exam for andrology. She wished to gain the respect this certification would give her in her home country and she needed guidance in how to make this happen. This wasn’t that long ago. Take a moment to let that sink in: She wanted to travel from her war ravaged country to the US to attend OUR meeting and obtain OUR TS certification because it represented a level of achievement beyond anything else available to her. There is a lot more to this story, and I would be happy to share what I know at another time, but moral remains: we need to appreciate the organization for what it is and what it does, and each of us needs to take a more active role in the CRB so that it can continue to thrive. 

So I say to you: 

Ask not what the CRB can do for you, but what you can do for the CRB

and I will tell you what you can do: 

  1. get involved
  2. speak your mind
  3. get involved
  4. engage your committee chairs
  5. get involved
  6. submit abstracts – it’s a sad thing when regional meetings have more abstracts than your national organization
  7. and please, get involved

In the coming months you will likely have a lot of opportunity to attempt these things. For those attending, we do have a notable presence at ASRM, in the form of a reception, the AAB booth, the opportunity to accrue CEUs, and of course the chance to buy your president a cold one. We also have two big events in the spring: The review course in Dallas, March 24-26. This is an event I think everyone in the CRB should attend at least once - I still have embarrassing shots of certain board members at Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World - and the Symposium, which will be held in Houston at the Galleria, May 18-20 of 2017. The Symposium in particular represents the sort of change that your input can bring. For years there has been a lot of muttering about the location of the meeting among the membership. The chief complaints have always been: “Vegas again?”, “we don’t like the hotel”, “It’s too far from my city”, and “why can’t the CRB choose the location instead of following the AAB”. Well, this is an attempt to address all of those concerns. Houston is certainly more central than Las Vegas, the hotel and Galleria should provide an exciting new venue with a lot of after-hours diversions (but fewer chances to lose your child’s college fund), and best of all, the CRB did get to choose their venue this time. Also, in case you were unaware, we have reached an agreement to publish accepted abstracts in RBMonline, so no more excuses, get to work, and we hope to hear from you soon!

His most notable eminence, 

Gerry Celia – POTCRB (“pote-curb”???)


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