Q&A: ATS Executive Director Stephen C. Crane, PhD, MPH

Stephen C. Crane, PhD, MPH

An interview with Stephen C. Crane, PhD, MPH, ATS Executive Director

Q: What challenges do clinicians, educators, and researchers face in pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine? How is the Society helping to address these issues?
A: The major challenge facing our field is assuring an adequate supply and distribution of high-quality health care professionals to reduce the burdens of lung disease and conditions globally. The unique contributions of the ATS are to advance the speed of scientific discovery and the translation of these findings into effective and affordable health care services and public health practices. Major ATS initiatives include:

a. Advocating for funding increases in National Institutes of Health research and training;
b. Growing our International Conference;
c. Further strengthening our three journals;
d. Producing, disseminating, and implementing strong clinical guidelines and statements;
e. Working collaboratively with our sister societies worldwide; and
f. Supporting the next generation of professionals in their research, clinical, and education careers.

Q: How has the International Conference evolved in recent years to appeal more to early career professionals?
A: We have substantially expanded our offerings to meet the needs of professionals at every stage of their career development. Each of our early career programs helps to synthesize research and integrate the latest therapies and treatments into everyday practice.

The Fellows Track Symposium allows adult and pediatric fellows in pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine programs to attend a two-day course covering cutting-edge topics in the field of respiratory medicine.

The Resident Boot Camp is a two-day course for third- and fourth-year internal medicine and pediatric residents who have matched into fellowship programs to provide them with knowledge that all incoming first-year fellows should know.

The Student Scholars Program provides medical students, graduate students, and nursing students with exposure to the excitement of the scientific, translational, and clinical information presented at the conference.

In addition, the Junior Professionals Faculty Development Series gives young faculty knowledge critical to success in an academic career. The Fellows Case Conference offers opportunities for clinically oriented individuals to share their medical experiences and knowledge.

The Society is proud to support early career professionals through scholarships and grants. The Minority Trainee Development Scholarship brings promising young physicians from diverse backgrounds to the conference. The Ziskind Clinical Research Scholar Award recognizes the best and the brightest early career individuals in clinical research and education. Finally, the ATS Foundation Research Program provides funding for junior investigators just starting their research careers.

Q: How is the Society maintaining it presence overseas?
A: The ATS is making greater use of technology to bring ATS programs to people abroad. We are expanding and making more available our educational offerings drawn from our International Conference. We co-sponsor several major international meetings and send ATS leadership to present at these meetings.

Building upon a decade of experience, our Methods in Epidemiologic, Clinical, and Operations Research (MECOR) Program, an intensive one-week course for physicians and related health care professionals, has helped strengthen capacity and leadership in epidemiological, clinical, and operations research related to respiratory conditions, critical care, and sleep medicine in middle- and low-income countries. Throughout 2016, MECOR will host coursework in Guangzhou, China; Jaipur, India; Hanoi, Vietnam; Blantyre, Malawi; Bekasi, Indonesia; Kusadasi, Turkey; and in Argentina.

We have lowered the cost of membership for a number of countries and created three-year membership opportunities. Free electronic subscriptions to the Annals of the American Thoracic Society are available for nonmembers. And we are reaching out at a grassroots level through Global Scholars and fellowship exchange programs.

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