Join the Movement: ATS Advocacy and Rally Hit the Streets

The American Thoracic Society advocates on all levels of the federal government for its members and the patients they serve. Advocacy volunteers are vital to this work in Washington, DC, as well as in members’ local communities and Thoracic Society Chapters. International Conference attendees are invited to weigh in on policies that help improve public health by becoming involved in ATS advocacy efforts.

“The ATS has had a big impact on public policy in this country, and we’re looked to as a respected organization,” says Kevin Cromar, PhD, a member of the Environmental Health Policy Committee, adding that the government leans on the ATS for professional guidance, advice, and information on numerous policy issues.

“We’re just scratching the surface,” he says. “Working together, we can accomplish more than we can accomplish as individuals. It’s neat to come together as a membership body to make a real difference in public life.”

Fellow members of the committee agree. Vice Chair Mary Rice, MD, MPH, adds that the ATS has been effective in advocating for certain policies, and that strong scientific evidence drives ATS’s government relations activity. A Monday morning session, “Realizing the Paris Climate Agreement to Improve Cardio-Pulmonary Health: Where Science Meets Policy” (B8) is one example of the scientific evidence the ATS marshals to advance public health. The session, which begins at 9:15 a.m., takes place in Room 147 A-B (Middle Building, Street Level) in the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

Jack R. Harkema, DVM, PhD, chair of the Assembly on Environmental, Occupational, and Population Health, which educates members on key topics in environmental and occupational health throughout the year, considers the ATS a watchdog in the protection of human health. “The ATS makes sure that the policies put in place are the best that they can be,” he says.

ATS 2017 will take advantage of its DC location by leading an ATS Rally at the Capitol: Lab Coats for Lungs. For more details, visit

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