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Mapping Next Steps for Global Health

Since its inception ATS has always pursued a global agenda for the treatment of respiratory diseases. Over time, that focus has expanded to include critical illnesses and sleep disorders. In recent years those activities have focused on tuberculosis, the MECOR program, scientific exchange with international, regional and national societies, advocacy on global issues and a commitment to sharing science, education and guidelines. Our tremendous international accomplishments would not have been possible without the tireless efforts of members such as Sonia Buist, MBChB, MD, Phil Hopewell, MD and Ms. Fran Du Melle ATS’s Chief of Global Health, who is retiring after more than 40 years of exceptional service to both the American Lung Association and ATS.  

With the recent adoption of a new strategic framework that is guiding the work of the organization in the coming years, now is the time to review our accomplishments and to articulate a plan for ATS global activities moving forward. Accordingly, the Executive Committee has created a Task Force on International Activities led by former ATS President, Thomas R. Martin. Its ultimate goal is to articulate a 5-year vision of the ATS’s international presence and recommend specific objectives and strategies, relating these activities to the strategic framework. The Task Force’s work is commencing now and the target completion date is mid-2020 when it is expected to report final recommendations to the Board of Directors.

The Task Force will be staffed by Cristina Braz, who has been designated Interim Senior Director for Global Health to ensure continued support for current ATS international activities.  Cristina has led the Brazilian Thoracic Society for over 20 years, giving her both familiarity with the global respiratory community, and perspective from a national society. Cristina has an MBA in marketing and recently finished a one year LEAD (learn, engage, accelerate, and disrupt) Certificate Course at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.    She will work closely with Karen Collishaw, Executive Director, and Nicola Black, Director of Governance Activities and External Relations to support the work of the Task Force.

Seeking input from subject matter experts both within and outside of the ATS community, the Task Force will help the Society assess the current international environment related to respiratory policy and health and identify opportunities for the ATS to achieve its mission of helping the world breathe.  ATS is fully committed to its mission to improve health worldwide.