President's Message

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Reflection and an Opportunity: Greater Society Diversity

April 2016 
Atul Malhotra, MD

Atul Malhotra, MD

Several ATS groups have recently brought to our attention in important activities, including prominent lectures and documents, concerns about diversity among participants. The ATS Executive Committee appreciates these concerns, which have given us the opportunity to evaluate our practices and performance within the Society.  A few years ago, then ATS President Patricia Finn, MD, focused on health equality and articulated the importance of diversity.  The ATS has been committed to promoting strong diversity throughout our organization (including journals, assemblies, documents, committees, etc.), yet we recognize that despite major progress in recent years, there is still have room for improvement.

A number of current and past initiatives deserve emphasis:

  1. When building ATS committees, we have been committed to the next generation by ongoing efforts to attract and retain the best and brightest into our field. We have been able to identify enthusiastic early career professionals from under-represented groups to participate and be mentored. We look forward to their becoming our future leaders.
  2. Authors of a recent document, written exclusively by male authors, reported that the women who had been invited declined to participate. Although we do not know the reasons, it becomes apparent that the situation is more complicated than simply providing reminders about inclusivity.  Further efforts to make all potential participants feel welcome and to emphasize the importance of being active could be a first step.
  3. As an executive committee we welcome and are often approached by diverse groups, including people with disabilities, low socioeconomic status, members of the LGBT community, different racial/ethnic groups and nationalities. We enthusiastically encourage participation from any and every one, firmly believing that fair representation can be achieved without compromise on excellence.

The ATS and its executive committee are committed to doing our utmost to continue our efforts to promote diversity. We are making progress and are committed to doing even more in the future. Driven by data and science, we know that diversity provides a richness that is critical to our success. We strive to maintain a vibrant and egalitarian community, affording equal opportunities to all those involved.

Last Reviewed: September 2017