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ATS/CHEST Foundation Award First Research Grant in Diversity

Nov. 11, 2020 – Thomas S. Valley, MD, of the University of Michigan has been selected as the first-ever recipient of the ATS/CHEST Foundation Research Grant in Diversity. The focus of the research grant is clinical research that contributes to the understanding of the pathophysiology of treatment of conditions related to pulmonary, critical care, or sleep medicine that disproportionately affects underrepresented minority patient groups.

Dr. Valley will receive $80,000 over two years to support his research: “Understanding Differences in Delivery of Care Processes for Respiratory Failure by Race/Ethnicity.”

The COVID-19 pandemic offers a unique opportunity to examine disparities in care for respiratory failure by race or ethnicity. Racial and ethnic minorities were more likely to contract COVID-19 and be sick enough to develop respiratory failure. As a result, noted Dr. Valley, ICUs had more of these patients admitted than they had cared for before.

He added: “By identifying and characterizing how care for respiratory failure might differ by race or ethnicity, we will have the opportunity to develop interventions targeted at promoting racial equity.”

“The COVID19 pandemic has highlighted the longstanding disparities experienced by our African American and Latinx communities due to longstanding social and structural determinants,” said Neeta Thakur, MD, MPH, chair of the Health Equality and Diversity Committee at ATS. “Dr. Valley’s project aims to identify where the systems of care in the ICU break down; his work has the potential to improve ICU care processes, which are subject to racial bias, for African American and Latinx individuals with respiratory failure. This work is timely as we endure this pandemic.”


“In order to remove barriers and eliminate the disparities in health care treatment experienced by a disproportionate number of Black and Latinx patients, we must identify the underlying reasons why care might be delivered differently,” said Doreen J. Addrizzo-Harris, MD, FCCP, chair of the CHEST Foundation Awards Committee. “Interventions that promote equity of care for people of color can only be effective if they are founded in evidence-based investigation. Dr. Valley’s proposal will help lay the foundation for change.”

This research grant is one of two awards offered by the ATS Research Program in partnership with the CHEST Foundation.


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About the ATS Research Program
The American Thoracic Society and its Research Program are improving respiratory health worldwide by supporting young investigators in pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine. The ATS Research Program, established in 2004, bolsters new investigators as they strive to launch independent research careers dedicated to innovation in patient care.

Since 2004, the Research Program has awarded $19.3 million in research grants to 263 investigators who have gone on to secure more than $330 million in federal funding. That's a return on investment of $17 per dollar awarded.


About CHEST Foundation

The CHEST Foundation, the charitable arm of the American College of Chest Physicians,

champions lung health by supporting clinical research, community service and patient

education. Through CHEST Foundation-supported programs, CHEST’s 19,000+ members engage

in advancing the lung health of millions of patients in local communities around the world. More

than 95 cents of every dollar raised goes toward advancing the foundation’s mission-based

programming. Since its inception, the foundation has provided more than $10 million in funding

for clinical research and community service, with a reach that spans more than 60 countries.

For more information about the CHEST Foundation, visit