President's Message

HomeATS CommunityPresident's Message ▶ Now is the Time for Giving … and Supporting the Next Generation
Now is the Time for Giving … and Supporting the Next Generation


December is a time of reflection of the past year and of looking forward to the year ahead. It is also a time when many of us donate to those causes and programs that are especially important to us. When thinking about the causes and organizations you could support, please consider donating to the ATS, your professional home, and to supporting the next generation of researchers dedicated to research, education, and clinical care in pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine.

An exciting future is on the horizon for respiratory medicine, with molecular biology, gene therapies, and stem cell research poised to transform the field. More improvements in life-changing care are certain. Our researchers are committed, but greater investment from government and private funders is needed as a catalyst.

In recent decades, research funding has not grown on pace with our field’s expanding potential and need. A couple of factors are at work. First, National Institutes of Health funding for respiratory research has lagged behind the needs of the patient population.  In addition, COVID-19 has disrupted respiratory research, perhaps more than any other field. The disease has absorbed much of the world’s medical research resources. With personnel diverted, labs and clinics closed, and funding channeled elsewhere, young scientists have been challenged to obtain needed grants to sustain their research. Unable to make progress, some scientists are leaving the field or not entering at all.

In this era of uncertainty, we must support the next generation of researchers to sustain the progress our patients need. The ATS does this through a number of programs, perhaps the most prominent of which is the ATS Research Program, which provides grant support to young investigators in the broad area of respiratory health. The talented basic, translational, and clinical investigators funded through ATS Research Program awards are taking new approaches to unlock the mysteries of respiratory diseases. By providing research grants to promising young investigators, the ATS Research Program launches careers dedicated to advancing scientific discovery and better patient care.

Since its inception in 2004, the Research Program has awarded $22.8 million in research grants to 334 investigators who have gone on to secure more than $784.8 million in federal funding. That's a return on investment of $34 per dollar awarded!

Another area of philanthropic opportunity is health equity, diversity, and inclusion. The ATS is committed to correcting health disparities in the U.S. and around the world and to encouraging equity and diversity across our discipline.  As a society, we have been very intentional about this work by funding two Diversity Grants and two Health Equality Fellowships. In addition, we have pooled our resources with the American Lung Association and CHEST to fund a Harold Amos Scholar.  Through these initiatives and others, the Society is preparing a diverse group of young members to be future leaders.

While this is a great track record, we cannot rest on our laurels and we need to do more. This past year, donations from ATS members were down 60 percent versus our pre-pandemic high. That has a significant long-term impact on our ability to foster the next generation. The ability of ATS to sustain these impacts is dependent on philanthropic giving from ATS members like you.

With the holidays upon us, now is an important time to consider year-end donations. As you do so, consider the number of ways you can support ATS and its mission, including:

  • ATS Research Program
  • Health Equity and Diversity Fund
  • Randal Curtis Fund for Compassion and Humanism in Medicine
  • MECOR Program
  • Assembly Programs
  • Phillip Hopewell Prize for Global Respiratory Health Research
  • Medical Education Research Award Fund
  • Fran Comi Memorial Fund.

 ATS members can make a gift by going to the ATS Donor page where they can contribute to the funds of their choice. Please support these important ATS programs when considering your year-end donations. We thank you for your continued support.

My very best wishes for you and your families in the holiday season. May 2023 bring us all much happiness and fulfillment.