Rounds Honored as ATS Foundation Champion and Benefactor

Throughout her career, Sharon I.S. Rounds, MD, has been a teacher, a mentor, a champion of diversity, and a pioneer. She has been a distinguished researcher and a leader. She’s worked toward not only her own success, but to help others be successful, too.

For these reasons and more, the ATS Foundation identified Dr. Rounds as the recipient of the 2019 Breathing for Life Award—the highest honor given to an ATS member for philanthropy—during the 11th annual ATS Foundation Research Program Benefit on Saturday evening at Union Station in Dallas.

Sharon Rounds

Sharon Rounds

As ATS president in 2004-05, Dr. Rounds championed the formation of the ATS Foundation. In addition to being one of the most generous supporters of the Foundation, she served on the Foundation’s board from 2012 until 2018.

Throughout her career, Dr. Rounds, has pressed for more opportunities for women and minorities in the fields of pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine, both at Brown University, where she is a professor and associate dean for clinical affairs, and the ATS. Along with Alvin Thomas, MD, and Estelle Gauda, MD, she created the ATS Minority Trainee Development Scholarships program two decades ago.

“This is the history of the United States of America: We’re only as good as our diversity,” she said. “It makes us better health care professionals, and it makes our research more relevant to the needs of the community.”

Elizabeth Harrington, PhD, considers Dr. Rounds a pioneer. She was among the few women “to do many things during her career in a very male dominated field,” said Dr. Harrington, who is co-director with Dr. Rounds of the CardioPulmonary Vascular Biology Center for Biomedical Research Excellence.

At a time of life when many consider retiring, Dr. Rounds remains active as a mentor, researcher, and clinician. She also remains active in the ATS.

One might think that her many committee assignments and leadership roles within ATS are a way of paying the Society back for helping to launch her career. But Dr. Rounds, characteristically, offers a humbler explanation.

“I view my time contribution to ATS, not as work, but as fun,” she said. “The ATS is interesting and engaging and keeps my mind off things that I might find boring.”

The ATS Foundation is now accepting applications for the 2019-2020 Research Program grant cycle. Letters of intent are due by June 17, 2020.

The ATS Foundation extends a special thanks to GlaxoSmithKline, which supported this year’s benefit at the Sapphire level for the first time. For the fifth year, Genentech supported the benefit at the Sapphire level, bringing its commitment to the next generation of researchers to a half-million dollars.

The Foundation also thanks:

Mylan Inc./Theravance Biopharma at the Crystal Level; Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, Novartis Pharma AG, and Sanofi Genzyme Regeneron at the Gold Level; AstraZeneca LP, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc., FREEMAN, Gilead Sciences, Inc., Insmed Incorporated, Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc., and Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc., at the Silver Level; and Ascend Media, National Board for Respiratory Care, and Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc., at the Bronze Level.

For the most up-to-date list of generous donations from individuals, medical institutions, and corporate supporters of the ATS Foundation, visit