Who's Who

HomeATS CommunityWho's Who ▶ Who's Who: Sushma K. Cribbs, MD, MSc, ATSF
Who's Who: Sushma K. Cribbs, MD, MSc, ATSF

  • Your full title as you’d like it to appear.

Sushma K. Cribbs, MD, MSc, ATSF


  • Three statements about you – two true, one false. 

I’ve gone scuba diving with sharks, 7 times!
I’ve been sky diving in Australia.
I ran the Boston Marathon…twice.


  • Give us your ‘elevator pitch’ biography.

I am an associate professor of medicine at Emory University. I am a clinician-scientist with a research interest in studying the mechanistic pathways in which HIV affects the lung - to understand why people living with HIV continue to be predisposed to pulmonary diseases and to help guide the discovery of novel therapies to limit complications and death in this population. I have also been heavily involved in the Pulmonary & Critical Care Fellowship program for the past eight years as associate program director. I am currently based at the VA where I see veterans and supervise students, residents and fellows. I have been an ATS member since 2002 and now as chair of the Members-in-Transition-Training (MITT) Committee, I can continue to expand on my passion to educate and mentor the career development of our early career professionals – students, residents, fellow and early career faculty.  By providing access to platforms on mentorship, leadership, and career development to enhance education and innovative scholarship, we can provide a unique environment for our early career members to grow and enhance their professional success.


  • What would you tell yourself as an Early Career Professional?

First, don’t be afraid to meet, greet and surround yourself with mentors/advisors of all kinds, from all backgrounds and with all expertise. I have led a very circuitous route as an academician and a clinician-scientist. What has been critical for success in this journey are the people who have been so supportive and been my advocates every step of the way. These are the people that I have continued to turn to as I self-reflect on my life and career.

Second, be thoughtful and mindful of all that you are doing, and do it well, whether it be at work, home or the community. Satisfaction from these jobs well-done will counteract the mundane day-to-day activities and will catapult you to the next level. If you do one thing well, you will be remembered and asked to do more, leading to more and more opportunities.


  • If you weren’t in medicine, and were in a different industry altogether, what would you be?

I’d be a musician. I’ve always loved music, specifically singing, but I’d have to get over my stage fright first! However, I love being a doctor and have had experiences in my life that have led me to realize that I was meant to be a doctor and take care of others.


  • What is your favorite way to spend a day off?

Starting the day off exercising and then relaxing with good food, family and good friends!


  • What areas of medicine are you most excited to see develop?

There are many areas – but I am very excited to see how personalized medicine and preventive medicine continue to develop. Medicine has had many ‘one size fits all’ diagnostic and treatment strategies, and I think we are realizing more and more how unique people are, that one treatment may not fit all. With advancing diagnostics and technology, I would love to see more strategies being employed to keep people healthy and out of the hospital, both physically and mentally.


  • What is one advancement in your field you’d like to see in your career?

I would like to see us counteract the obesity epidemic and along those lines, to think critically about our health and our children’s health for the future. I would also like to see a societal shift in how we approach palliative care and end of life discussions, with open and meaningful discussions prior to hospitalization or the ICU.


  • Ok. Which statement did you make up?

I didn’t run the Boston Marathon, although growing up in Boston, I watched it every year!