The Bylaws of an organization serve as its guiding document establishing its governance structure, and operational procedures. After extensive review and discussion, the Council of The Obesity Society is proposing to revise and update our Bylaws to improve several operational practices and to provide for structural modifications to allow us to better serve our membership and the field. These recommended revisions provide for updating language to better reflect the roles and responsibilities of several of our key governance components, update our membership categories and clearly define the eligibility and benefits of each, and to provide for a better defined and more active role of our Sections in the overall governance and operation of the Society.
Both the current and proposed revised versions of the Bylaws will remain posted on the Society website and can be downloaded for review through the time of voting. In addition, we will hold several “Town Halls” via Zoom to allow members the opportunity to comment and ask questions. Town Halls will be held January 20 and January 27, 4-5pm ET (2-3pm MT and 1-2pm PT) ahead of voting. Members should check their email for the Zoom links.
Specifically, the major proposed revisions include:
- Updated and expansion of our diversity, equity, and inclusion statement (Article 1)
- The addition of an Associate membership category (Article 2/Section 184.108.40.206)
After extensive discussion with the membership committee, we are proposing to create an Associate Member category. The idea is to provide a category of membership for individuals beyond the Student/Post-Graduate Trainee level who has a developing or tangential interest in obesity but is not interested in or ready to join at the Regular member level. Additionally, we are proposing clearer language around all levels of membership including qualification for Emeritus status.
- Name change to Nominations Board (Article 3 / Section 3.1.1)
To better reflect the significance of their role and responsibilities in the governance of the organization, as well as the fact that they are elected and not appointed, we are proposing to change the “Nominating Committee” to the “Nominations Board.”
- Name change to Governing Board (Article 3 / Section 3.2)
To better reflect the significance of their role and responsibilities in the governance of the organization, and to be more in line with the governance structures of other similar organizations, we are proposing to change the name from “Council” to “Governing Board.”
- Addition of ex officio non-voting members to the Governing Board (Article 3 / Section 220.127.116.11)
To allow for inclusion of a patient perspective or other important input we are proposing the addition of a provision for allowing the appointment of ex officio non-voting members of the Governing Board. TOS currently holds such a position on the Board of the Obesity Action Coalition which has been a benefit to both organizations.
- Shift of the Past-President to the position of TOS representative on the Board of the World Obesity Federation (WOF) (Article 3 /Section 18.104.22.168)
With the transition of the International Association for the Study of Obesity (IASO) to the World Obesity Federation (WOF) they made multiple changes to their articles of incorporation which directly impacts on our role on the WOF Board. A shift to having our Past President serve as the representative of the WOF Board as opposed to a member of Council keeps us parallel to the representatives of other organizations (such as EASO) and provides more direct input from the TOS Executive leadership in our interactions with WOF. This also allows us to keep all of our Council appointments consistent in term lengths.
- Redefinition of Sections and Interest Groups and definition of their roles and functions (Article 7)
To better integrate our Sections into the governance of the Society we are proposing several revisions to standardize their organization and operation. These Sections will reflect the major areas of professional involvement and all members will be asked to identify with at least one of these Sections. We are also proposing the formation of a Section Chairs Committee that will meet with the Executive Committee on a regular basis throughout the year to increase input into governance, programming, and membership related issues. In addition to restructuring the role of the Sections to better align with the primary areas of professional focus, we are also proposing the creation of special interest groups. These special interest groups are less formal in structure but are designed to allow for members with a shared interest in a specific topic to interact. While Sections are organized along self-identified professional roles and relatively static in structure, the interest groups are seen as being more cross-disciplinary and may come and go as interest in various topics wax and wane.