ATS 2017 Annual Report Highlights Global Impact and Initiatives

The ATS is a truly international organization. Nearly half the attendees here in San Diego for ATS 2018 have arrived from a country other than the United States. One third of the Society’s members are international, living and working in 128 countries around the world. And many ATS programs are specifically focused on making a difference in respiratory health in their home countries. 

In 2017, the ATS made important advances in its global initiatives. Here are some of the international highlights from the past year drawn from the ATS 2017 Annual Report, available at the ATS Center and online at


  • The ATS launched the South American Critical Care Conference with the Latin American Thoracic Association and the Brazilian Thoracic Society in July in São Paulo, Brazil. The conference focusing on respiratory failure and mechanical ventilation drew 350 people. A second conference will be held in September in São Paulo.
  • The ATS provided 115 International Abstract Scholarship Awards and 43 International Trainee Scholarship Awards to help early career professionals who had submitted abstracts to ATS 2017 attend the conference.
  • Select fliers in the ATS Patient Education Series, which now numbers nearly 200 pieces, were translated into Arabic, Japanese, Serbian, and Turkish, as well as Spanish. 

Research and Clinical Care

  • The ATS MECOR—Methods in Epidemiologic, Clinical, and Operations Research—held education programs in Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Turkey, and Vietnam. MECOR aims to build research capacity and leadership in low- and middle-income countries. The MECOR curriculum was totally revamped in 2017 and introduced earlier this year.
  • The ATS Foundation Research Program awarded five research grants to MECOR graduates, who now number 1,800 worldwide. 
  • The ATS published six clinical practice guidelines, five with international sister societies, including the European Society of Intensive Care Medicine, the European Respiratory Society, and the Japanese Respiratory Society. 
  • Nearly 1,400 articles were submitted to the Society’s three journals—the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, the American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology, and the Annals of the American Thoracic Society—from researchers working outside the United States. Articles published in the journals were translated into Chinese, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. 

Global Health and Advocacy

  • The Forum of International Respiratory Societies, or FIRS, of which the ATS is a founding member, released “The Global Impact of Respiratory Disease” during the 70th World Health Assembly. The report recommends specific actions that world leaders should take to reduce respiratory disease and improve global health.
  • FIRS coordinated the first World Lung Day, on Sept. 25, and used the visibility to make world leaders aware that the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals will not succeed without addressing lung disease.
  • The ATS was successful in increasing, or at least maintaining, tuberculosis funding from key agencies. Working with its partners, ATS secured an 8 percent increase in TB funding from the United States Agency for International Development, stable TB funding from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and an increase in funding for TB research from the National Institutes of Health.