2023

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Year-Round Learning at ATS

Positioning the Society for Future Success

 “In a time of rapid change, standing still is the most dangerous course of action.”

— Brian Tracy

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Historically, ATS has focused on its clinical practice guidelines, journals, and the International Conference. Our guidelines are the gold standard for patient care while our journals are preeminent in their fields for the dissemination of cutting-edge advances in respiratory health. And for more than 100 years the conference is where it has all come together as researchers, clinicians, related health care professionals, and educators present cutting-edge research, best practices in patient care and wisdom for the next generation to advance professionally. 

However, the past three years have seen unprecedented change … at the ATS, in our profession, throughout the United States and, indeed, across the entire world. As rapid change has become the norm, the ATS is also changing to meet the evolving needs of our community.

The ATS’s mission is “To accelerate global innovation in the advancement of respiratory health through multidisciplinary collaboration, education, and advocacy.” Achieving this mission means transforming to meet member needs and maintain our position as the world’s leading respiratory society. Indeed, we have already made major changes to our brand, including a new logo, and strategic plan and formulated a number of taskforces whose mission is to provide concrete recommendations to enhance overall ATS performance, including:

  • ATS Ad Hoc Task Force on International Activities – complete
    • International Health Committee currently implementing recommendations
  • Defining Future ATS Conferences – complete
    • International Conference and Education Committees starting to implement recommendations
  • The Governance Task Force - complete
    • Recommendations implemented - reduce Executive Committee terms from five to four years and create a three-year term for the treasurer
  • Board of Directors Governance Task Force
    • Final recommendations due to Board of Directors at February board meeting

To build on these changes, we are engaged in several transformative initiatives that will position the ATS for long-term success, none more important than our pivot to year-round learning. While our journals and the International Conference have traditionally been at the center of our education activities and will continue to be a vibrant core of the ATS, we are now moving aggressively to providing learning opportunities 365 days a year.

We have hired a new Chief of Learning, Carrie Smith, to help us achieve this goal. She is collaborating with the Executive Committee, International Conference Committee, Education Committee, the learning team, ATS departments, and with others to formulate a comprehensive strategic plan to better coordinate the currently disparate activities of these and other committees and as well as assemblies currently developing educational content. A critical early step will be completion of a comprehensive needs assessment which will take place in early 2023.

The goal is a far more streamlined, integrated and coordinated approach to the creation of learning activities. Working in partnership with our assemblies and committees, we will better balance our traditional grassroots content development process with a strategic approach to ATS’s educational activities and programs.

This learning transformation will not happen overnight but is already well underway. In fact, to help members better access our content we relaunched the ATS Store this summer and debuted our new learning management system, which offers CME and MOC content, in December.

What does this mean for our members? ATS is evolving and expanding beyond its traditional offerings to provide year-round opportunities to network, advance careers, and learn and stay at the forefront of advances in all aspects of respiratory medicine.  The next steps are to ensure we have the appropriate structure in place to coordinate the wealth of content that is created at ATS.  We will also focus on the process of content development, ensuring we solicit new ideas from stakeholders while also identifying demonstrated needs for programs and products.  Watch this space for updates on our progress.