President's Message

HomeATS CommunityPresident's Message ▶ President's Message: Coming Together Amid a Crisis
President's Message: Coming Together Amid a Crisis

Just last month, ATS was actively planning for our International Conference in Philadelphia. At the same time, we were monitoring the aCOVID-19 situation around the world, and were talking with our peer societies, the Pennsylvania and Philadelphia Departments of Health, and our Board of Directors. In the best interest of our conference attendees and the patients we care for, the decision to cancel the International Conference became inevitable. We are very grateful to our attendees, vendors, and exhibitors for their support and patience during this process. I believe we made the right call at the right time, after all legal and insurance reviews were completed to assure the least impact on ATS finances possible. Our fantastic ATS staff deserve great credit for a huge amount of work under tight timelines and difficult circumstances. As many of you have requested, we will find ways to provide International Conference content in a different way and at a different time.

So, where do we go from here?

First, ATS leadership and staff worked tirelessly to pivot from planning the conference to providing our membership, patients, and families with the resources they need to understand and negotiate this pandemic. With that in mind we improved a key part of our website to enhance access to the resources you may need to help with this crisis. We’ve expanded webinars, Twitter chats, and other social media communication and recently launched DocMatter to provide instant exchange of information. We’ve increased the frequency of communication with our members about all of these events and opportunities.

Second, we are working at the highest level of government to ensure clinicians have the resources they need to respond effectively to patients with COVID-19. On March 18, I participated in a physician leaders conference call with President Trump, Vice President Pence, CMS Administrator Seema Verma and CDC Director Robert Redfield to discuss the U.S. response to COVID-19. As physician leaders, we were united in our message to the President about the immediate urgent needs related to responding to COVID-19 including:

a) taking all steps necessary to ensure an adequate supply of PPE.
b) ramping up availability of COVID-19 testing.
c) securing appropriate access to ventilators.
d) ensuring the medical community has access to economic relief aid being considered by Congress and the Administration.

To help convey the urgency of the message, we are asking all U.S. members, if they have the time, to contact their representatives in Congress, urging additional funding and personal protective equipment, testing equipment, ventilators and the host of other resources that will be needed to fight this virus. Click here to take action in one click.

Third, we have been in constant contact with our colleagues and friends at our peer societies in the United Stated and around the world. We’ve been in active discussion to partner with them for educational activities, which have already started and will expand in the next few weeks. ATS will continue to broadcast opportunities for volunteerism, so that clinicians who wish to serve are aware of need when it occurs.

On behalf of our colleagues throughout the pulmonary, critical care and sleep fields, and the patients we all are committed to caring for, we want to say THANK YOU! For your tireless passion. For your commitment to your patients. And for your support for the ATS. Together, we will overcome this crisis and emerge stronger, and more unified, than ever.