Who's Who

HomeATS CommunityWho's Who ▶ Eileen G. Collins, PhD, ATSF
Eileen G. Collins, PhD, ATSF

Give us your ‘elevator pitch’ biography.

I am the Associate Dean for Research and a Professor at the University of Illinois College of Nursing. In this role, I manage our research portfolio and assist the faculty in making their grant applications the best that they can be.  Prior to this time, I was a Research Career Scientist and Acting Associate Chief of Staff for Research at the Edward Hines Jr., VA Hospital. I conduct research on breathing retraining and other strategies to augment the success of pulmonary rehabilitation on quality of life and functional capacity in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.


What would you tell yourself as an Early Career Professional?

Say yes more often.  Sometimes we get so busy and comfortable in our roles that we don’t take risks. We don’t want to apply for a certain position or grant because we’re afraid of not getting it or just fearful of starting something new. I would encourage early career professionals to take chances and put it out there regarding what they want out of their career.


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

I think I would be a public policy wonk.  Throughout my career, I have become more aware of the bigger picture, meaning society as whole. We can influence so many more lives through public policies on clean air and water, affordable and accessible education, public safety and public transportation. I Dr. Eileen Collins and familyreally admire those who are passionate about issues and actually do things to change the status quo.


What is your favorite way to spend a day off?

There’s nothing better in the summertime than spending the day at Wrigley Field enjoying the Cubs play baseball.  The atmosphere, the fun and the enjoyment of the game just draws me in.  As a fan, the game is topped off perfectly when I get to sing “Go Cubs Go” at the end!


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

I’m excited to see the mind-body connection develop more traction. We have the ability to do so much more for ourselves than we as a people and society currently do.  For example, health care providers can play an important role in working with policy makers to develop walkable communities so people are more active. We can also encourage practices such as yoga and tai chi to help patients be more mindful of their health behaviors.


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

I would like to see pulmonary rehabilitation be more accessible and better utilized by patients. This would involve increasing the number of health care providers referring patients to pulmonary rehabilitation and making the reimbursement more worthwhile for facilities offering these programs.


Ok. Which statement did you make up?

I never played softball in high school.  As a matter of fact, I was always amongst the last players picked in our neighborhood pick-up games.