President's Message

HomeATS CommunityPresident's Message ▶ Bringing the ATS Home: The ATS Regional Chapters
Bringing the ATS Home: The ATS Regional Chapters

The American Thoracic Society (ATS) membership comprises approximately 17,000 pulmonary, critical care, and sleep professionals from around the world, who are represented by assemblies, committees, or working groupsatsnews-juanceledon1.jpg reflective of their areas of interest and expertise. However, through Thoracic Society Chapters, known just as “chapters,” members in the United States can also get involved where they live and work, creating opportunities for themselves, their communities, and our Society.

Working under the banner of the ATS, chapters represent states or other geographic areas. As such, they cultivate local collaborations and provide a forum for networking and strengthening knowledge and skills. In addition to their involvement with the ATS International Conference, each chapter holds an annual scientific and business meeting, and many chapters interact with others within their region. Most chapters offer continuing medical education credits through local accredited meetings, often featuring distinguished ATS members as speakers. Moreover, some chapters offer regularly scheduled case presentation meetings and many also offer poster sessions, an excellent forum for early career professionals to gain experience in medical and scientific presentations. In addition, several chapters offer individual newsletters such as CTS Inspirations (the California Thoracic Society’s newsletter) or medical journals such as the Southwest Journal of Pulmonary and Critical Care (the official publication of the Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado Thoracic Societies).

Local networking and volunteer leadership opportunities are a unique benefit of chapters, both for early career professionals seeking mentorship and for more senior members eager to interact with their peers and serve their communities. Each chapter elects a representative to the Council of Chapter Representatives (CCR) which provides a forum to address issues of relevance to the entire group. Elected CCR officers serve on the ATS Board of Directors, to ensure that suggestions and concerns from the chapters and the regions they represent are conveyed to our society’s leadership.

ATS chapters also are active in advocacy, both locally and nationally. At a local level, chapter members are designated as government advocacy contacts for direct communication with their legislators throughout the year. At the national level, chapter members may participate in the annual ATS Hill Day in Washington, D.C., where they -along with patients identified by our ATS Public Advisory Roundtable,  (PAR)- meet with legislators to ensure that our patients’ voices are heard while discussing issues pertinent to clinical care, education, and research. To promote health equity, our chapters have initiated a community outreach program to disseminate information to patients in underserved areas, in conjunction with the ATS PAR.

In recognition of our chapters’ work at the ATS International Conference each year, officers of the CCR and others review hundreds of case reports to select the ones to be presented at the Great Cases Symposium. Moreover, the ATS recognizes an exemplary clinician with the prestigious Outstanding Clinician Award, chosen from nominees put forward by our chapters.

To achieve its mission, the ATS must think globally while acting locally. To this effect, our chapters add a key perspective to the ATS, and I am excited to see how they continue to expand and grow. Through the ATS Chapters, our members can make a real impact “where the rubber meets the road.” To learn more about ATS Chapters, see their most recent resources, or get involved with the chapter nearest you, visit the ATS website.