President's Message

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Reflecting on Our Accomplishments

May 2013
Monica Kraft, MD

Monica Kraft, MD

When I was interviewed in the ATS 2012 Daily Bulletin a little over a year ago, I was asked what attracted me to leadership positions at the ATS. I explained that I loved the Society’s ability to impact lung health in many ways, and that I wanted to make a bigger contribution if I could. I was also attracted by the people I would be able to work with, not only other health care professionals, but also ATS staff. Now, as my term as ATS president reaches its conclusion at ATS 2013, I can proudly say that these reasons were affirmed during this past year.

The presidency provides a unique, top-down view of all of the Society’s moving parts–the 23 committees, 13 assemblies, journal editors, and countless taskforces and working groups that advance the Society in its Herculean task of overcoming the global burden of lung disease. The volunteers and staff members who make up these groups are truly tireless in their efforts, and I’ve seen this reflected in the Society’s many accomplishments over the past year.

These efforts are evident at ATS 2013. The brand new Science Core session track, which features a thematically linked set of symposia and abstract-based sessions coordinated on consecutive days, was the result of a promising collaboration between the Assemblies on Respiratory Structure & Function, Respiratory Cell & Molecular Biology, and Allergy, Immunology & Inflammation. They chose to focus on the theme “Lung Tissue Injury and Repair” this year, and I’m very eager to see where they’ll take it during ATS 2014 in San Diego.

The Education Committee, Pediatrics Assembly, International Conference Committee, and ATS staff recognized the importance in helping our members attain American Board of Internal Medicine Maintenance of Certification Part II points and American Board of Pediatrics Maintenance of Certification Part II credit. That prescience is impressive, especially as the ABIM announces changes to its “Meeting MOC Requirements” will take effect in January 2014.

At ATS 2013, we’re rolling out the new Clinical Core Curriculum and expanded Pediatric Clinical Core Curriculum. The adult pulmonary, critical care, and sleep modules have been approved by the ABIM for a total of 34 MOC Part II points. A module has also been submitted to the ABP for consideration. This is yet another example of the Society quickly identifying and fulfilling the needs of its members.

We also saw several big developments with our journals this year: the relaunch of the Proceedings of the American Thoracic Society as the Annals of the American Thoracic Society, the unveiling of the new, and the release of a new app for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. AnnalsATS, the clinician-oriented, scholarly journal, has already featured relevant, cutting-edge content, I’m thrilled to watch this bimonthly journal’s progress. Similarly,, the “digital home” of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology, and AnnalsATS, looks fantastic, and I’m looking forward to trying out the new app.

As I’ll note in my Q&A for ATS 2013, the Society has an obligation to share its science and knowledge to ease the global burden of lung disease. In recent years, we’ve expanded our relationships with other societies in Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East so that our members can present and bring them the latest scientific research and clinical findings.

Last month, the very first Methods in Epidemiologic, Clinical, and Operations Research programs in Indonesia and China took place. The program has been very successful in providing physicians and other health care professionals in Latin America, Africa, India, and Turkey with the tools to conduct research that will ultimately improve respiratory health in their communities and countries.

ATS members are also working diligently with the Forum of International Respiratory Societies partners to provide the United Nations member states with the most relevant research to help inform and guide their discussions in the area of lung health and chronic lung disease in June 2014.

During my term, the ATS teamed up with the Shanghai Respiratory Research Institute, Chinese Alliance Against Lung Cancer, and the Chinese Society of Respiratory Diseases to present the 8th International Symposium on Respiratory Diseases in Shanghai in November. Certainly in China, our plans not only include presenting at ATS organized sessions, but also increasing the number of ATS members who present their research, visiting their hospitals, and listening to cases.

We also collaborated with other organizations on GulfThoracic Dubai 2013, the fourth annual congress of the Saudi Thoracic Society & the Emirates Allergy and Respiratory Society, which took place in March. It was a great pleasure to present the ATS Mini-Symposium on Severe Asthma and contribute to other sessions and conversations.

Lastly, we’ve started an initiative to ensure that our clinical guidelines and statements are changing care. An Implementation Medicine Task Force has been created and involves collaboration with the Documents Development and Implementation Committee led by Michael Gould, MD, ATS Senior Director of Documents and Medical Affairs Kevin Wilson, and Quality Improvement Committee led by Jeremy M. Kahn, MD, MSc. This will be an ongoing initiative that eventually will provide key tools for clinicians, based upon our guidelines. Also, we are considering establishing a registry in a specific disease area.

It’s impossible to commend everything the Society has accomplished and to thank each and every individual in one column, but I must say that I’ve cherished having had the opportunity to work with so many talented and dedicated professionals. I also look forward to supporting incoming president Patricia W. Finn, MD, just as ATS Immediate Past President Nicholas S. Hill, MD, supported me. It’s been a privilege and an honor to serve as president of the ATS, and I thank you all for helping to improve lives around the world.

Last Reviewed: September 2017