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Ken Drury, Ph.D., Editor 

Strategic Planning” is an often used term, employed by administrative or military types, which denotes an intention to embark on a devised master plan mapping-out how to successfully attack a formidable problem or obstacle. It implies that there will be a sound strategy developed and this strategy will then be employed to carry out changes in policies or actions which will lead to growth; prosperity; expansion; or maybe just survival. Even the word “strategic” conjures a sense of importance, if not urgency, and instills additional authority tocarry out more strategic change.If we were to look at all the strategic plans developed and offered-up to solve one problem or another, how many would we find that have hit the mark and solved those particular problems; or even made them better? Did those plans in any way justify the upheavals wrought on steadfast employees or the bonuses delivered to these strategy planners? One thing is certain though, even if 99% of implemented strategic plans never provided any improvement, or even if they made situations worse, there will always be room (and a need) for more strategic planning sessions. So, this begs the question; where’s the “Strategic Planning” that will propel ART programs successfully into and through the 21st century? In order to address this question we turned to the source of all knowledge: the internet.As medical schools are under particular duress these days, commanded to operate within budgets hit with shrinking revenues and fading subsidies, they must have strategic plans in place to weather the hard times ahead. From this perspective then, why not look to see what Harvard University Medical School is doing to address and deal with these difficult times. Upon landing on HMS’s home page, a link leads one to the HMS Strategic Planning site (http hms.harvard.edu/public/strategy/index.shtml). Almost instantly, the most prestigious and dominant medical school (perhaps in the world) presents its “Strategic Plan” for anyone/everyone to see and ponder. In brief, here’s the take-home message:

……… the HMS Strategic Planning Process is designed to compare “our present state against our highest aspirations, to look ahead five to 15 years and seek to identify areas—existing and new—where HMS has the opportunity both to improve itself and to lead” in teaching and research.

Members of the Quad faculty, teaching affiliates,and the broader Harvard community are participatingin five advisory groups engaged in a collaborative effort to conduct an honest self-assessment of the School and make recommendations based on their findings. The entire Harvard Medical community isencouraged to submit ideas and comments on this work-in-progress.

Here are the GOALS FOR THESTRATEGIC PLANNING PROCESS:

  • Look ahead to the next 5-15 years and identify existing and new areas in teaching and research where Harvard Medical School can lead  
  • Consider rethinking the role of human-centered research at HMS  
  • Inform and collaborate with the broader Harvard community and with the Medical School’s teaching affiliates  

With this encouragement I began to search for “The Strategic Plan for ART” ; and this is what I found: “The Art of Strategic Planning”.

It seems there is little strategic planning going on in the field of ART at the present time. So, I urge our readers to start considering the avenues available to them and begin developing “ART’s Strategic Plan” for the next 5-15 years. In the meantime, here’s what you get in this issue of The Journal of Clinical Embryology™.

Our peer reviewed article in this issue of JCE highlights the development and potential uses of microfluidic platforms in the IVF laboratory addressing the culture of embryos in an in-vitro dynamic phase environment. Drs. Swain, Pool, Takayama, & Smith provide up to the moment information on this innovative technology.

Oral and Poster Abstracts presented at the Annual College of Reproductive Biology (CRB) Symposium (15-17 May, Las Vegas, NE) are included in this issue of the JCE as a sampling of the activities taking place during this year’s conference. The reader may want to attend next year’s CRB meeting in order to experience first hand all the other activities which make this a very rewarding meeting.

Our own Dr. Norm Dubin has drawn the line in the sand, and now you can read his article entitled “STAT CHAT V: Correlation and Regression: Where to Draw the Line”. This is the 5installment in a series of statistical short stories expressly targeting the ART community. You will not find this intriguing series in any book store!

Please don’t miss the Featured Website in the “Meetings for the Embryologist” column on page 39. A new and very innovative site has been created through the efforts of Linda Hoover, MS, TS. called IVF Forum (www.ivfforum.net). There are many areas of interest in this all engaging site. Put together your story (of IVF life) and share it in “Share Your Story” or invite friends to your own private “Lounge Area”; meet you there!

Don’t forget to ask your favorite vender about their latest products prepared to make your lab-life more productive and satisfying. They also help bring you this publication free of charge.

Happy Reading.