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ATS Patient Voices 7

ATS Patient Voices 7

Since 2001, the ATS Public Advisory Roundtable (PAR) has helped highlight the patient experience and integrate patients into the fabric of the American Thoracic Society.

ATS Patient Voices is a particularly important part of this effort. For the past several years, PAR has identified and assigned patient speakers to scientific sessions during the ATS International Conference. Now on its 7th edition, and soon to be available on the ATS website, ATS Patient Voices is a publication that takes these patient testimonies out of the conference, and expands them to a wider audience.  

Patient essays discuss not just their disease and its treatment, but also their reactions to diagnoses, their fears, and their recoveries. Featured patients are often also active in patient advocacy organizations, and ATS Patient Voices offers another means for them to amplify the needs of their community. Their stories serve as a reminder to the many others suffering from similar diseases that the fight continues, and that life with these diseases is possible. By sharing their journey, patients help respiratory professionals including physicians, clinicians, scientists, and researchers explore an intimate look into disease impact on daily life.

In addition to ATS Patient Voices, throughout the year PAR, in conjunction with PAR partners, promotes awareness, public education, advocacy and research. Such activities include patient programs like the Meet-the-Expert patient and family forum, and PAR Symposium. Those presentations inspire investigators, stimulate new research and shape ATS advocacy programs.

PAR patient involvement, like ATS Patient Voices itself, underscores the value of patients’ expertise in their disease and treatment. As Chis Kvam, a contributor to the 7th edition says, “…I collaborate with my care team to make my health decisions. I can’t remember the last time a pulmonologist told me something about my lungs I didn’t already know.” Patient participation enhances the ATS by reminding respiratory care professionals of how important their work is. Every milestone is important, every treatment that makes a patient’s life a bit more normal, every intervention that makes breathing a bit easier, allows them to focus less on their disease and more on their lives.

ATS Patient Voices editions one through six are available on the ATS website.