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Overview

Organization Name
American Thoracic Society (ATS)

History
Founded in 1905 as the American Sanatorium Association to prevent, control, and treat tuberculosis; renamed the American Trudeau Society in 1938 and the American Thoracic Society in 1960. Originally the medical section of the American Lung Association, the Society became independently incorporated in 2000 as a 501 (c) (3) organization.

The American Thoracic Society is the world's leading medical society dedicated to accelerating the advancement of global respiratory health through multidisciplinary collaboration, education, and advocacy. Core activities of the Society’s more than 16,000 members are focused on leading scientific discoveries, advancing professional development, impacting global health, and transforming patient care. Key areas of member focus include developing clinical practice guidelines, hosting the annual International Conference, publishing four peer-reviewed journals, advocating for improved respiratory health globally, and developing an array of patient education and career development resources.

Mission Statement
To accelerate global innovation in the advancement of respiratory health through multidisciplinary collaboration, education, and advocacy.

The Four Pillars of the ATS
With this new mission as our driving force, all ATS activities will now fall under four main pillars of respiratory health:

  • Leading Scientific Discovery
    The ATS is a leader in the fundamentals of respiratory science. Providing the most recent and relevant findings in cellular and molecular biology, biochemistry, pharmacology, populations, and translational science, breathing and lung physiology (including ventilation/breathing). This commitment to research and discovery in science is the gold standard in the field.
  • Transforming Patient Care
    ATS members set the highest standard for respiratory care and treatment of patients. The ATS is the leading source for clinical tools, practice guidelines, and best practices based on the latest research and innovation.
  • Impacting Global Health
    The ATS drives positive, proactive change to improve public respiratory health and prevention on a local, national, and global scale. This applies to environmental issues such as air quality, climate change, exposure to contaminants, and potential manmade disasters, as well as contagious diseases and tobacco prevention. Robust research and risk awareness drive change to “help the world breathe.”
  • Advancing Professional Development
    The ATS is a catalyst for the growth and development of health care professionals and practices. Education, networking, mentorship, funding, and career opportunities are essential to excel and advance.

Membership
More than 16,000 physicians, research scientists, and nurses and other allied healthcare professionals (32 percent of whom work outside the United States).

Medical and Scientific Areas of Interest
Pulmonology, critical care, sleep medicine, infectious disease, pediatrics, allergy/immunology, thoracic surgery, behavioral science, environmental and occupational medicine, physiology, molecular biology, among others.

2020-2021 Officers
Lynn Schnapp, MD, ATSF, President
Gregory Downey, MD, ATSF, President-Elect
Juan C. Celedón, MD, DrPH, ATSF, Immediate-Past President
M. Patricia Rivera, MD, ATSF, Vice President
Irina Petrache, MD, ATSF, Secretary-Treasurer

Publications
Through its four peer-reviewed journals-the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine (AJRCCM), the American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology (AJRCMB), the Annals of the American Thoracic Society (AnnalsATS), and ATS Scholar-the ATS supports the dissemination of groundbreaking research, clinical reviews, workshop reports, and statements and guidelines relevant to adult and pediatric pulmonology, critical care, and sleep.

Educational Activities
The Society offers CME, maintenance of certification points and credits, and nursing contact hours through its annual International Conference, which draws some 14,000 physicians and scientists from around the globe, and other educational programs. More than 200 hours of ATS presentations are available as searchable webcasts or DVD-ROM through the Best of ATS Conferences section of the Web site. The Methods for Epidemiologic, Clinical and Operations Research, or MECOR, is offered in Latin American, Turkey, India, Africa, and, for the first time in 2013, China.

Statements & Guidelines
Through the publication of statements, workshop reports and clinical guidelines, the ATS establishes the latest standards of care for a variety of adult and pediatric respiratory, critical care and sleep disorders. To date, the Society has published more than 100 on topics ranging from pediatric asthma screening to the diagnosis and treatment of pneumonia and control of tuberculosis.

Patient Education
The ATS Patient Information Series is available electronically on the ATS website, now includes more than 50 flyers on topics ranging from pulmonary function testing in children, bronchoscopy and arterial catheterization to sleep studies, smoking cessation, and pulmonary rehabilitation. These materials have been incorporated into hospitals' electronic health records.

ATS Assemblies
The diverse interests of members are represented by the Society's 14 specialty-specific assemblies and 2 sections, which play a leading role in planning the International Conference and in developing statements and guidelines.

ATS Committees
Specific aspects of ATS activities are overseen by more than 25 committees, including the Education,  Scientific Advisory, Quality Improvement and Implementation, Clinicians Advisory, Patient and Family Education, Ethics and Conflict of Interest,  and International Health committees.

Research
In its 10-year history, the ATS Foundation Research Program has provided more than $11 million in grants and fellowships to 183 young researchers worldwide investigating a wide spectrum of pulmonary, critical care, and sleep disorders. The program offers unrestricted grants, awards that target rare diseases, recognition awards for outstanding early career investigators, and unique opportunities for investigators in developing countries.

ATS Public Advisory Roundtable (PAR)
PAR is the arm of the ATS that incorporates patient and family perspectives. Comprising 15 member organizations representing individuals affected by pulmonary, critical care, and sleep problems, ATS PAR works with the Society's members to advance shared educational, research, patient care, and advocacy goals. ATS PAR sponsors "Lung Disease of the Week at ATS," which features patient webinars given by medical experts, as well as patient sessions at the ATS International Conference, which draw patients from around the host city's metropolitan area.

ATS Chapters
With the overarching goal of advancing the Society's mission, each chapter represents a state or other geographical area and includes, in its membership ATS members. Chapters provide a local forum in which to address issues of common concern, including those related to clinical practice and public policy. Chapters may also receive CME credits for their educational events..

Advocacy
The ATS fights for improved respiratory health for patients in the United States and around the globe. The Society is actively involved securing funds for basic and clinical research, establishing global TB and tobacco control policies, enforcing the Clean Air Act, and lobbying for fair reimbursement for physician services under Medicare and other insurers.

ATS International Activities
The ATS works to engage its members around the globe, while also forming productive partnerships with other international respiratory organizations, including the European Respiratory Society, the Latin American Thoracic Society and Asian Pacific Society of Respirology, among others. It also works with international governmental organizations such as the World Health Organization in partnerships like the Stop TB Partnership and the Global Alliance Against Respiratory Disease.