President's Message

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ATS Budgetary Decisions Reflect the Strength of our Programs and the Progress of out Mission

January 2014
Patricia W. Finn, MD, MD

Patricia W. Finn, MD

At its December virtual board meeting, the ATS Board of Directors reviewed and approved a new budget for the fiscal year beginning Jan. 1, 2014. I would like to review some of the financial accomplishments of the ATS over the past few years, and tell you a little bit about some of our new initiatives and investments that the Board has made for the coming year.

Thanks to the strong leadership of the Executive Committee and the Board and the sound management by staff, I am pleased to report that the ATS will end the year in a very positive position once again. Our cash balance is strong, and our reserves continue to grow towards our Board-approved objectives. Despite substantial expansion in our program activities over the last several years and our many organizational accomplishments, our level of spending is still well below that of 2007.

Because of the prudent stewardship of our resources during a very difficult economy, we are now in a position to invest in new programs, as well expand existing ones.

This past year we were able to fund seven new “bridge” grants to help individuals who just missed the cut for National Institutes of Health K awards. The grants are intended to help investigators continue their research careers for another year or more while waiting for more substantial funding.

The seven grants were above and beyond the grants made by the ATS Foundation, which has distributed more than $10 million to researchers since it was established in 2004 and leveraged another $114 million in contributions by partner organizations. We continue to spend over $700,000 in support of the work of the ATS Foundation, administration of our research program, and advocacy work of our Washington office in urging Congress and President Obama to sustain if not increase appropriations for biomedical research. We are greatly increasing the capacity of the ATS Foundation to raise funds for our research programs through additional staffing and a fundraising program to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the ATS Foundation.

I am also very pleased to announce the re-establishment of our links with the American Lung Association in offering a joint research grant in the area of lung cancer in 2013, and a second grant to be awarded in 2014.

In addition to $150,000 in new spending this past year on our three journals, we are adding an additional $150,000 in FY14 for journal content enhancements, increasing the frequency of journals published, improved artwork, downloadable PowerPoint charts, and additional staffing and editorial support to strengthen all three of our journals. Funds have also been allocated to increase the outreach of our journals to find and publish the best basic, translational, and clinical lung-related research in the field.

Assemblies are the intellectual cornerstone of the ATS. Additional staff will be added to support the work of the assemblies to increase their impact. Similarly, additional staff will be added to the education unit, which has created our rich array of maintenance of certification options at the conference, expanded electronic and other enduring materials drawn from our conference offerings, and offered more hands-on and procedure-based sessions at our conference. We will produce a second board review book to complement the first to be published this spring, as well as initiate new educational programs to assist clinicians in their diagnostic and treatment roles.

Quality improvement and implementation medicine have been two major initiatives of the past year. We will be adding staff specifically devoted to working on these two issues with the Quality Improvement Committee and the implementation medicine task force that will help ATS maintain its leadership role in both fields. We will sponsor a special National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute workshop prior to ATS 2014 in San Diego specifically to address and expand our knowledge of implementation medicine issues.

To further strengthen our reputation of providing the highest quality clinical guidelines and statements, we will be increasing the number of assembly projects we support in 2014 as well as increasing the amount of methodological support provided to ensure these documents meet the most rigorous standards of the ATS and the Institute of Medicine.

Global ATS efforts in disease prevention and treatment will be reinforced through continued support of our MECOR (Methods in Epidemiologic, Clinical and Operations Research) program, an expansion of our education and research-related activities in Asia, especially in China, and in our continuing efforts to develop and implement the International Standards for TB Control.

Most importantly, funds have been set aside to implement the health equality initiatives to be proposed by ATS committees and assemblies at the February ATS Board meeting in Orlando. (You can find an introduction to the initiative that I recorded on the ATS homepage and the ATS Journals website.)

There are many changes occurring in our core operations. Please look at the enhanced design of our website, new patient and professional education webpages, use of social media, and be prepared for exciting electronic innovations at ATS 2014 in San Diego. Look also for better communication of the value the ATS returns in exchange for the member dollars contributed by you to ATS. While many of the ideas for the innovations I have discussed have come from our leaders, members, and volunteers, it is the staff that is the driving force for getting all of the work accomplished. We will be investing in them and their future as they invested in us over the past several years.

ATS has always been a great organization with which to be involved. Our budget decisions for FY14 will make the ATS stronger for its members, and will enhance our ability to advance our mission to improve health worldwide by advancing research, clinical care, and public health in respiratory disease, critical illness, and sleep disorders. These budget decisions will also strengthen the quality of our International Conference “where today’s science meets tomorrow’s care.”

The leadership and staff look forward to working with you in 2014 and in the many years to come.

Last Reviewed: September 2017