American Thoracic Society

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The roots of the American Thoracic Society (ATS) reach back to 1905, when a small group of physicians decided that the best way to improve care for tuberculosis patients was to share their experiences and discoveries. Today, the ATS has grown into an international society with more than 15,000 members who work to improve health worldwide by advancing research, clinical care and public health in respiratory disease, critical illness and sleep disorders.


Founded in 1905 as the American Sanatorium Association to prevent, control and treat tuberculosis;[1] renamed the American Trudeau Society in 1938 and the American Thoracic Society in 1960. Originally the medical section of the American Lung Association, the Society became independently incorporated in 2000 as a 501(c)(3) organization.

Mission statement[edit]

To improve health worldwide by advancing research, clinical care and public health in respiratory disease, critical illness and sleep disorders. In keeping with these goals, the American Thoracic Society interacts with both national and international organizations which have similar goals.


More than 15,000 physicians, research scientists, nurses and other allied healthcare professionals (25 percent of whom reside in countries other than the U.S.).


Pulmonology, critical care, sleep medicine, infectious disease, pediatrics, allergy/immunology, thoracic surgery, behavioral science, environmental and occupational medicine, among others.

2014-2015 Officers[edit]

  • Thomas Ferkol, M.D., President
  • Atul Malhotra, M.D., President-Elect
  • David Gozal, M.D., Vice President
  • Marc Moss, M.D., Secretary-Treasurer
  • Patricia W. Finn, M.D., Immediate-Past President


Through its three peer-reviewed journals—the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine (AJRCCM) [1], the American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology (AJRCMB) [2] and Annals of the American Thoracic Society (AnnalsATS) [3]—the ATS supports the dissemination of groundbreaking research.

Educational Activities[edit]

The Society sponsors hundreds of CME activities each year, including its annual International Conference, which draws more than 14,000 physicians and scientists from around the globe. Other annual courses include the State of the Art (SOTA) and Methods for Epidemiologic, Clinical and Operations Research (MECOR). More than 200 hours of ATS presentations are available as searchable webcasts or DVD-ROM through the Best of ATS Conferences section of the Web site.

Statements & Guidelines[edit]

Through the publication of statements, workshop reports and clinical guidelines, the ATS establishes the latest standards of care for a variety of adult and pediatric respiratory, critical care and sleep disorders. To date, the Society has published more than 100 on topics ranging from pediatric asthma screening to the diagnosis and treatment of pneumonia and control of tuberculosis.

Patient Education[edit]

In May 2004, the Society launched its Patient Information Series in the AJRCCM. The series, which is also available electronically on the ATS Web site, now includes more than 30 one-page, front and back flyers on topics ranging from fiberoptic bronchoscopy and arterial catheterization to sleep studies, sarcoidosis and oxygen therapy. These materials serve as a resource for healthcare providers, patients and others with a need for accurate, user-friendly information on key topics related to lung disease.

ATS Assemblies[edit]

The diverse interests of members are represented by the Society’s 13 specialty-specific assemblies and 3 sections, which play a large role in planning the International Conference and in developing statements and guidelines.

ATS Committees[edit]

Specific aspects of ATS activities are overseen by more than 27 committees, which are formed and reappointed as the current President sees fit. Generally, committees meet twice a year to discuss ATS business, in addition to communicating via conference call.


In late 2002, the ATS created a new program to enhance the Society’s commitment to discovering new knowledge and advancing patient care. Over the last seven years, the ATS Research Program has grown tremendously, providing more than $7.5 million in grants to 76 young researchers worldwide investigating a wide spectrum of lung diseases, ranging from asthma and COPD to pulmonary fibrosis and alpha-1 antitrypsin. The program has also funded the career development of 24 pulmonary and critical care fellows.

ATS Public Advisory Roundtable (PAR)[edit]

PAR is the arm of the ATS that incorporates patient and family perspectives into the Society’s activities. Comprising 15 member organizations representing individuals affected by lung disease, PAR works with the ATS to advance shared educational, research, patient care and advocacy goals.

ATS Chapters[edit]

With the overarching goal of advancing the Society’s mission, each chapter represents a state or other geographical area and includes, in its membership ATS members. Chapters provide a national forum in which to address issues of education, practice, research and public policy. They may also receive CME credits for their educational events through a system of joint sponsorship.


Through its office Government Relations program in Washington D.C., the ATS fights for improved respiratory health for patients in the U.S. and around the globe. The Society is actively involved securing funds for basic and clinical research, establishing global TB and tobacco control policies, enforcing the Clean Air Act, and lobbying for fair reimbursement for physician services under Medicare and other insurers.

ATS International Activities[edit]

The ATS works to engage its members around the globe, while also forming productive partnerships with other international respiratory organizations, including the European Respiratory Society, the Latin American Thoracic Society and Asian Pacific Society of Respirology, among others. It also works with international governmental organizations such as the World Health Organization in partnerships like the Stop TB Partnership and the Global Alliance against Respiratory Disease.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Joseph Wallace, Colleagues in Discovery: One Hundred Years of Improving Respiratory Health. ISBN 1-931688-17-6.

External links[edit]