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Who's Who: Sarah M Lyon MD, MSCE

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

Sarah M Lyon MD, MSCE


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

I have a Master’s degree in French.
I once ran across the Grand Canyon (and back).
I enjoy singing in an acapella group (pre-COVID-19).


  • Give us your ‘elevator pitch’ biography.

I went to medical school at Boston University, where I became interested in health care equity. The BU model of care was “phenomenal care without exception.” Massachusetts had instituted Masshealth, a public health care option that covered patients from across the socioeconomic spectrum, and I saw how impactful that was for patients. I then came to the University of Pennsylvania for residency and fellowship in pulmonary and critical care. This was before the Affordable Care Act and seeing the contrast between working in a state with a public health coverage option and one that did not have one solidified my interest in health equity.

During my Master’s degree in clinical epidemiology, I focused my research on the impact of health insurance on outcomes in critical illness. I was fortunate enough to do a health equality fellowship with ATS in 2015.

Currently, I practice critical care medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and the CMC VAMC, and have a general pulmonary practice, and telehealth pulmonary clinic at the Philadelphia VA. I am a consultant with the TB clinic with Bucks County Health Department. In additional to my clinical work I am active in leadership for undergraduate medical education, directing a semester of our Doctoring Course, the  second year Pulmonary Course, and Medical Intensive Care Student Elective, I joined the ATS Health Policy Committee in 2014, and became chair in 2019.


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

My perspective as an early career professional was focused on all the amazing research presented at ATS and using ATS as a forum for presenting research I was working on. I would have loved to know more about the other areas of ATS, such as our advocacy on behalf of our patients with pulmonary, sleep and critical illness.  It was also only with time that I realized the tremendous value of community and networking that ATS brings, and that there are many ways to contribute to and be a part of  the ATS community even if your professional focus shifts from a primary focus on research.


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

        In another life I would be a National Park ranger.


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

Hiking with my husband and three kids.


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

A renewed focus and drive to deliberately incorporate health equity into our practice.


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

Universal health care (am I allowed to say that?)


  • Ok. Which statement did you make up?

I enjoy singing but I am terrible at it, which is unfortunate for my family when I want to sing along with the radio in the car.