As we greet our new CHEST President, Clayton T. Cowl, MD, MS, FCCP, we asked him for a few thoughts about his upcoming presidential year. He kindly offered these responses:
What would be one of the many things you would like to accomplish as President of CHEST?
We plan to increase the engagement of our membership, and, in do so, allow for more opportunities to serve in leadership roles, educate as faculty, or to participate in more of the wide array of educational opportunities within CHEST – whether the member is a long-tenured physician, a trainee, an earlier career researcher or educator, or a colleague in the care team, such as a respiratory therapist, advanced practice provider, or a pharmacist. CHEST has been and will continue to be a leader in delivery of education, and will further advance opportunities to present breaking research. Ultimately, the reason we are in medicine is to improve the care that we deliver to our patients, so it is incumbent upon us to keep the mission aimed toward “patient-centric” goals.
What do you consider to be the greatest strength of CHEST, and how will you build upon this during your Presidency?
Our greatest strength is our members, who bring a diversity of experience, expertise, and passion for what they do at the forefront. Together, with our incredibly talented and dedicated support staff at CHEST, as well as our industry and publishing partners, our organization is poised to bring medical education in pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine globally to the next level. The CHEST Foundation has stimulated important opportunities for research, increased the ability for younger members to attend meetings and actively engage in CHEST activities, and provided valuable information to patients in a language they can understand. Thanks to advances in technology, there are improved platforms for communicating with our membership and for delivering education in novel and more effective ways than ever before. We plan to double down on our strategic focus of utilizing innovation and new technologies to lead trends in education, influence health-care improvements for our patients and their families, and to deliver the latest in medical education to clinicians and investigators worldwide.
What are some challenges facing CHEST, and how will you address these challenges?
Many of our members are facing challenges in their practices – both domestically and internationally. Industry and employer-based sponsorship to attend meetings has declined, travel remains expensive, and time away from the practice has become more and more difficult for a variety of reasons. Our members are being challenged with greater regulatory and administrative burdens and are bombarded with the demands of work overload. In addition to working with other organizations to identify workplace burnout and, more importantly, to offer better solutions, we are focused on leveraging a variety of new technologies to bring our CHEST brand of quality education to all of our members, regardless of location, and to do so in a way that best suits individual needs. The traditional model of attending a large meeting comprised solely of didactic presentations is, frankly, becoming outdated. CHEST will continue to “tip the apple cart” of worn out educational delivery methods and look toward innovating courses that are more accessible, more effective and relevant, more affordable, and more fun.
And finally, what is your charge to the members and new Fellows of CHEST?
We have each been blessed with the opportunity to serve patients and their families in their times of need. Let’s not forget that privilege as we deliver care each and every day. The word “doctor” comes from an agentive noun of the Latin verb docēre (“to teach”). Regardless of where you practice, what your role is in the health-care paradigm, or whether your contribution is directly with patients or indirectly through research, education, or administration, we are all teachers in various ways to various people. That’s why the American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST) needs to listen to your needs, cultivate your collective wisdom, and continue to be the leading organization within our specialties for delivering medical education and, ultimately, for providing outstanding care and compassion to our patients.