News From CHEST

Catching Up With Our CHEST Past Presidents


 

Where are they now? What have they been up to? CHEST’s Past Presidents each forged the way for the many successes of the American College of Chest Physicians, leading to enhanced patient care around the globe. Their outstanding leadership and vision are evidenced today in many of CHEST’s strategic initiatives. Let’s check in with Dr. Goldberg.

I arrived in Toronto in 1998 to start my term as President of the American College of Chest Physicians. (I had always loved Toronto, where I had spent months training in pediatric critical care at “Sick Kids” [Toronto’s Children’s Hospital] and collaborating with Audrey King on disability issues and public policy in Ontario.) CHEST 1998 in Toronto was equally exciting. What I remember - with humility – was that being CHEST President is not about “you.” It is about “The President,” who is honored and revered by all members for what CHEST truly represents … excellence in health-care education, communication, and information. Everyone came up to me to respect and honor the role … including awesome Past Presidents who lovingly shared their insights and experience and others (including many who became future presidents) to volunteer their assistance. I was in awe of these leaders and how they demonstrated selfless service.

Dr. Koop presided over a student competition to design innovations in communication of information about asthma. This event was held at Northwestern-Kellogg School of Management sponsored by The CHEST Foundation.

And so I began my year of presidential service leadership. What I remember best is the respect all around the world for CHEST and what it does to unite people into actions that improve health globally. The President serves CHEST members to facilitate working together, which makes a difference. My presidential year culminated in the 65th anniversary conference in Chicago in 1999. All year, I had worked with my mentor (C. Everett Koop, MD, FCCP(Hon), to plan an opening ceremony that would be inspirational and unforgettable. For years, we had shared personal/private conversations. This time, we planned to communicate in public to inspire others and help them understand key issues we considered critical for the future of health care and global health.

Soon after my Presidential term, I took 2 years off for sabbatical to work more closely with Dr. Koop (2000-2002). Then, I retired to continue to focus on our work together and as personal caregiver for my wife, Evi Faure, MD, FCCP. Dr. Koop and I met many times and also held more public presentations, including the 2003 Surgeons’ General National Meeting on Overcoming Health Disparities at Howard University arranged with CHEST Past President Dr. Alvin Thomas.

All our joint efforts focused on the importance of Communication in Health Care. We shared the belief that communication of health information would create the “informed patient and family” who would then work together in partnership with health-care professional team members. We thought that this would be the best way to improve and reform health-care delivery. We sought to provide information (the “what”) in ways that it would be trusted, understandable, and easily usable (the “how) for patients and famili

Dr. Allen I. Goldberg (left) attends Dr. C. Everett Koop's wedding and congratulates him on his marriage. "Dr. Koop was remarried at age 94. I was delighted to attend this special event," Dr. Goldberg said.
es (the “who”). Our goal was to use evolving digital technology and personal health communicators who would facilitate information exchange. This would enable patients/families to make decisions and take actions to manage their health and identify and obtain the resources they needed (the “why”) at times of need (the “when”). This concept was built on our long-term shared commitment and belief in patient self-help and self-management.

My greatest learning was the importance of mentorship – both for the mentor and mentee. This fosters communication that enables learning and growth in our abilities to serve others by the profession we love.

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