President's Message

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Taking Collaboration into the New Year

The annual ATS International Conference is always such a great kick-off to summer. Offering several days of collaboration, workshops, cutting-edge research, and socializing, this year was no exception. Hopefully you were able to join us this year as the ATS took San Diego. Along with the formal conference programming, ATS Assemblies, Committees, working groups and special interest groups had the opportunity to meet to discuss everything from their work in the ATS, to the specialized research and knowledge pertinent to their fields.

As the new President of ATS and fourth year member of the Executive Committee, I’ve had the privilege to have a high-level view of the many groups working at ATS, and understand just how many groups call the ATS their professional home. So many, in fact, that as one of its goals for 2019, the ATS Executive Committee seeks to improve communication across the organization, facilitating relationships across the many working and special interest groups, and helping members fully understand the opportunities available to them within the ATS.

Among the things that makes the ATS conference special are the myriad ways members can connect. In addition to the Assemblies, which form the backbone of so much of the programming, there are groups of ATS members representing many specialties, interests, and experiences. Early career professionals are one such example. At the conference, there are opportunities for them to meet one another, and to discuss the unique challenges one faces early in one’s career. Additionally, they have several opportunities to meet potential mentors. Another great example is the Women’s Forum, among the most popular of the sessions this year, which brings together women from across the society, who might not necessarily have occasion to meet otherwise. This year specifically, the Wellbeing Collaborative with its focus on avoiding burnout prevention, served a similar role in the exhibit hall. In order to keep the momentum of the annual conference, and to remain connected to the Society throughout the year, the ATS works to make keeping up with the Society at-large as easy as possible. Existing groups, such as the Assemblies and working groups, keep in contact with their members with information about pertinent research and Assembly-related business, for example. But even beyond that, it’s critical that members remain engaged in the ATS as a whole to get the most out of their membership, and to prepare them for the next conference. As such, there are a number of newsletters, in addition to the ever-ubiquitous social media, to foster an ongoing connection.  This newsletter is one such example, but there are others – from advocacy-focused newsletter, the Washington letter, released on Fridays, to ATS Stat, delivered every week on Wednesdays, and Morning Minute, delivered daily. 

The ATS is also working to take collaboration digital, and  make it more customizable, with MyATS. MyATS, launched last December, began as an online portal ATS members can use to identify their ‘favorite’ web pages, save them in their ATS dashboard, and therefore customize their web experience. It has recently expanded. Now, MyATS offers additional functionality to allow members to browse public threads, or use direct messaging or private groups to connect with one another, and discuss areas of common concern, or collaborate in working groups.

While all of these tools help to keep us connected throughout the year, the international conference is an opportunity for all of us to reconnect in person.  Next year we will be in Dallas, a vibrant, diverse city that is easily accessible via direct flights from all major cities in the US, Asia, Europe, and Latin America, simplifying the process for all of our members to access the conference. As always, it will feature research advancements, opportunities for networking, skill-building, and connecting for collaboration that the ATS is known for. I look forward to seeing you there!