President's Message

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Support the ATS Foundation

August 2015 
Atul Malhotra, MD

Atul Malhotra, MD

People often ask me, “Why should I support the ATS Foundation?”

I argue that supporting the ATS Foundation is our duty. Why do I feel strongly about this? The ATS Foundationhas had incredible success in funding junior investigators and leveraging this money to obtain National Institutes of Health funding. By our calculations, there has been a $13 return for every $1 invested in research by the ATS Foundation.

Several points deserve emphasis:

  1. 100 percent of research donations to the ATS Foundation are paid out as grants. The overhead is paid through the ATS operating budget so that literally every dollar given for research goes into the hands of a young investigator focused on research. I have heard people say that the money is wasted on red tape, but these individuals are simply wrong.
  2. Some argue that the NIH’s budget of more than $30 billion makes money from the ATS Foundation inconsequential. I disagree. Although I eventually enjoyed reasonable success with NIH funding, I struggled along the way. The ATS provides bridge awards and recognition awards to investigators at early stages to help keep them in academics. These funds have been used to protect research time and to allow acquisition of preliminary data to yield eventual NIH success.
  3. Obviously there are a million different charities out there, so why should you give to the ATS Foundation? The separation agreement with the American Lung Association has limited the ability of the ATS to solicit donations from the general public. Thus, we are reliant on our members to give generously to the ATS Foundation. In addition to this, respiratory disease gets disproportionately reduced funding compared to other important diseases.
  4. Our grants programs support international awardees and non-U.S. citizens which gives academic opportunity to people who are not eligible for NIH funding.
  5.  If research is not your focus, the ATS Foundation has other programs including some for clinician teachers and researchers, such as Medical Education Research,  and the Methods in Epidemiology, Clinical, and Operations Research (MECOR).

Currently, about 13.5 percent of ATS members donate to the Foundation. To paraphrase Mr. Mitt Romney, where are the other 86.5 percent? Our next generation is counting on us.

Last Reviewed: September 2017