WILLIAM A. CORRIGALL
2000 - 2001
How would you characterize your presidency in terms of actions taken and decisions made?
In a nutshell, I think it was to make our operations more business-like. I suppose that I should apologize for giving what appears to be such a boring answer, but indeed I think this was the case for my term. I was fortunate to become president of the society at a time when full fiscal stability still looked to be some distance ahead, but at least financial implosion seemed even further behind - and let me be clear that this was in full measure due to my predecessors. However, it afforded the Board and me the opportunity to breathe a little more easily, and in consequence we had the luxury of being able to address operational issues.
How would you describe your presidency in terms of the overall growth and trajectory of SRNT?
I think my term was fortunate to benefit from the times. During this period, we grew in terms of international membership, interest and meetings. My opinion, and others may disagree, is that SRNT is a society that will garner support from only certain nicotine and tobacco researchers, and obviously it will be those that value its cross-cutting nature. I therefore believe that establishing breadth across an international spectrum is critical for the society to benefit from the majority of such colleagues. In addition, I was happy, perhaps selfishly, also to see the base broadened to scientists with interests in the basic research.
What do you consider your most important contribution to SRNT?
Again I would say that it was the opportunity to solidify the business operations side. Much of this involved simply keeping in touch with the executive and board to reach consensus decisions. In addition, however, we worked to take greater advantage of electronic communications for publications such as our newsletter, thereby setting us on a course for future cost savings. It was also a time at which we had to think about renewing our management contract, and a good deal of time and effort went into the decision about who could manage the anticipated growth in numbers and the divergence in services that we would need. Issues such as these are not the stuff that dreams are made of, but I like to think that as we became smoother in a management and operations sense, we also functioned more smoothly in scientific and program ways.
In your opinion, what are the most notable developments in the field of nicotine and tobacco research over the past ten years?
Wow, what a great question to win friends and influence people. Seriously, I see this question needing two answers because the 10 year period is a long one, and because research has advanced tremendously over that time. Given that we are all prisoners of our experience, the area that is notable to me is the emergence of a wealth of knowledge about nicotine as an addictive drug, and its mechanisms of action across the biobehavioral spectrum. But additionally I would like to answer this question while looking back over the past almost 2 years that I have spent at NIH. In so doing, I am struck by how nicotine and tobacco research has actually presaged events in the re-conceptualization of approaches to research questions. Example of the latter include the Transdisciplinary Tobacco Use Research Center initiative and the current NIH Roadmap exercise in the area of interdisciplinary research, both approaches to encourage researcher that embraces broad ideas and conceptual frameworks. To me, nicotine and tobacco research has not only embraced that goal, but has already achieved successes. Certainly SRNT reflects this - a diverse membership, a journal that publishes across the spectrum of nicotine and tobacco research endeavors, and multi-polar scientific meetings. Although your question looks back 10 years, I would add that I am convinced that the nicotine / tobacco field is well positioned to make progress built on foundations of both discipline-focused and across discipline linkages, and on translating research to application.
What should I have asked you that I haven’t? Please add any further comments or observations you wish.
Let me make an additional brief comment, that I hope does not sound like a maudlin platitude. Many of my colleagues and professional friends are members of SRNT. It was therefore a privilege to have been president, and the society remains a “home” for me. From one member of the society to all the rest of us, I would offer congratulations on the successes to-date and the very best wishes for the future.