ATS 2015 Will Explore Disparities in Health

The factors that lead to inequality in the treatment of an individual’s health can have far-reaching implications on outcomes. Differences in age, gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic and health status, risk factors for disease and injury, and access to and use of health care services all play a role.

ATS 2015 programs will examine the impact of health disparities in the management of respiratory diseases, sleep disorders, and critical care patients in three sessions this week. Presenters will discuss health disparities, advancements in digital health technologies to reduce disparities, and the impact of guidelines introduced 20 years ago to include female subjects in clinical trials.

Richard H. Carmona

Diversity Forum Featuring Dr. Richard H. Carmona
Today, the ATS will host its annual Diversity Forum from 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. today in the Crystal Ballroom (3rd floor) Embassy Suites Hotel, and it will feature guest speaker Richard H. Carmona, MD, MPH, FACS. Dr. Carmona, who served as the 17th Surgeon General of the United States from 2002 to 2006, is the president of the Canyon Ranch Institute Board of Directors, vice chairman of Canyon Ranch, distinguished professor of the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, University of Arizona, and distinguished professor of Clinical Practice, Ohio State University College of Nursing.

ATS Public Advisory Roundtable (ATS PAR) Symposium “Health Equality: It’s for Everyone”
This afternoon, the ATS PAR symposium will shed light on how inequality can influence health care, the influence of biomass fuels on women and children, the impact of age and health equality on children, education and health equality, diversity in the health care workforce, and the implications of the Affordable Care Act. The symposium will take place today from 2:15 to 4:15 p.m. in Rooms 107/109/111/113 (Street Level) Colorado Convention Center.

The program also will include the presentation of the PAR Awards—the William J. Martin, II Distinguished Achievement Award and the PAR Excellence Award.

Chairs leading this symposium will be ATS Immediate Past President Patricia Finn, MD, professor and head of the department of medicine at the University of Illinois College of Medicine, Chicago, and ATS PAR Chair Gregory Porta, founder of the Children’s Interstitial and Diffuse Lung Disease Foundation.

“The Use of Digital Health Tools to Address Disparities in Lung Health Care”
This symposium, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Monday in Room 201/203 (Street Level) Colorado Convention, will review a number of examples of how the adoption of digital technology across the socioeconomic spectrum provides opportunities to reduce disparities in lung health care around the world.

Among the topics to be covered are mobile health technologies in quality improvement and care management, advances in digital health tools for asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease management in underserved populations, use of technology in developing a strategy to control household air pollution in children in Malawi, mobile phone technologies to improve tuberculosis detection, and use of an electronic health record to meet patient and provider communication needs in respiratory care treatment and management.

The chairs of this symposium are Margaret Rosenfeld, MD, MPH, professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, and William Vollmer, PhD, senior investigator at the Center for Health Research, Kaiser Permanente Research, Portland, OR.

“Celebrating 20 Years and Beyond: Gender Equality in Respiratory Research”
This Monday afternoon symposium will offer a retrospective on the 20-year span since the National Institutes of Health issued its first guidelines on the inclusion of women as subjects in clinical trials to ensure the safety and efficacy of drugs in both sexes. Speakers will focus on women and COPD, the role of gender in asthma, women and lung cancer, gender disparities in obstructive sleep apnea, new concepts in lymphangioleiomyomatosis, and gender differences in smoking and addiction.

MeiLan Han

“The scientific community is increasingly turning its attention toward patient heterogeneity within respiratory diseases in an effort to understand those differences and personalize treatment approaches—‘precision medicine’ as it has recently been termed,” says MeiLan Han, MD, MS, symposium co-chair and associate professor of internal medicine and medical director of the Women’s Respiratory Clinic at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. “Gender is arguably the most significant source of heterogeneity that must be examined. Fortunately thanks to efforts by the NIH and FDA, we have seen significant progress, but we still have a long way to go. This symposium will summarize that progress in respiratory disease, as well as point us toward research that still needs to be done,”

Dr. Han’s co-chairs are Marilyn Foreman, MD, MS, professor of medicine at Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta; M. Patricia Rivera, MD, professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; and Helena Schotland, MD, assistant professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan.

The symposium will be from 2:15 to 4:15 p.m. in the Four Seasons Ballroom 1-2 (Lower Level) Colorado Convention Center.

“Celebrating 20 Years and Beyond: Gender Equality in Respiratory Research” is supported by educational grants from AstraZeneca LP, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Genentech, MEDA Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and Pfizer Inc.

Innovations in Health Equality Awards
The ATS is recognizing two individuals who have made great contributions to health equality in North America with the Innovations in Health Equality Award— Juan C. Celedón, MD, MPH, DrPH, and Alysa Ellis, MD.

Dr. Celedón, who has been selected for the Lifetime Achievement Award, has made “significant contributions to health equality in multiple areas, including research, mentoring, and promoting a diversified workforce, health policy, advocacy, awareness building, and clinical program development, ” writes Esteban G. Burchard, MD, MPH, in his nomination letter. He is chief of the Division of Pulmonary Medicine, Allergy, and Immunology and director of the Pediatric Asthma Center at Children’s Hospital of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. He also is a professor of pediatrics, internal medicine, human genetics, and epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh.

Dr. Ellis, who has been selected for the Early Career Award, has served as medical director since 2010 of the Healthy Kids Express Asthma (HKEA) Program, which provides specialized care that benefits children in the St. Louis area to manage and control their asthma. HKEA works in school districts where up to 20 percent of the student bodies have asthma. A mobile health unit visits 12 elementary and middle schools in the metropolitan area, going to a school in the program each day. The program includes educational classes for participating school personnel. Dr. Ellis is an assistant professor of pediatrics, at Washington University School of Medicine.