President's Message

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Advocating for the Lung Health of the World’s Refugees

February 2016 
Atul Malhotra, MD

Atul Malhotra, MD

In  these unsettling times in which economic, climate, and military conflicts occupy the largest portion of our media, the mission of ATS, “To improve health worldwide by advancing research, clinical care, and public health in respiratory disease, critical illness, and sleep disorders” becomes crucial.

As a truly international society with one-third of our members, 45-55 percent of the attendees at our International Conference and over 40 percent of the articles published in our journals coming from outside the U.S., the ATS provides the platform that supports the rich diversity that truly upholds our moniker “We help the world breathe”.

We value all of our members and care about the health of all of humanity without regard to place of origin, economic or social status, religion, ethnicity, or gender.

In 2015, the number of displaced people and refugees reached nearly 60 million, or one of every 122 humans on our planet, equivalent to the 24th most populous country in the world.

By some estimates, a single train station in Munich was receiving over 10,000 refugees per day (Nicolai et al, NEJM 2015).

In the context of such an evolving problem and its magnitude, we are committed to continuing to be the foremost academic society devoted to the promotion of world health and will support all our members and colleagues in that quest.

In 2016, the ATS will continue to work with governmental agencies, the World Health Organization, and other professional and sister societies to improve the care of the disadvantaged and displaced, and to address the many respiratory conditions that have resulted from mass migrations.

ATS Journals and ATS 2016 San Francisco both are providing scientific content relevant to this issue of migrant health.

We will continue to advocate for research to understand and treat respiratory illnesses that afflict refugees, and through our members provide and promote their access to preventative and clinical care.


This President’s Message is written in collaboration with the ATS Executive Committee, reflecting the broader opinions of the leadership of the Society. 

Last Reviewed: September 2017