News From CHEST® Physician

President’s final report


As I am writing my final presidential report, my presidential year is coming to a close. It was certainly not what I could have anticipated, but an incredible opportunity for my personal and professional growth, and a year in which CHEST adapted and grew, as well. We accomplished a great deal during this unprecedented year, and I will take this opportunity for a year-in-review!

Dr. Stephanie M. Levine, University of Texas, San Antonio

Dr. Stephanie M. Levine

In the winter, As COVID-19 appeared across the globe, we established a COVID-19 Task Force led by then incoming President, Dr. Steve Simpson, with the goal of keeping our members updated on the latest research and clinical management of COVID-19 illness, as well as distilling and delivering the latest COVID-19 related information quickly to those on the front lines. We have held weekly COVID-19 webinars, disseminated infographics, and developed an interactive COVID-19 quiz. CHEST also published several COVID-19-related guideline statements and expert panel reports on bronchoscopy, tracheostomy, lung nodule management, and venous thromboembolism in the setting of COVID-19.

Knowing the stress that our health-care workers were under, we also established a CHEST Wellness Center. This longitudinal, webinar-based curriculum, led by Dr. Alex Niven, had its impetus with COVID-19 but will continue and be extended to general wellness topics.

In March, we joined forces with NAMDRC, under the CHEST umbrella and a combination of our board members and their former board members now make up our Health Policy and Advocacy Committee (HPAC), led by Drs. Neil Freedman and Jim Lamberti, with CHEST Past-President, Dr. John Studdard, also actively involved. Our HPAC is already focusing on home ventilation and competitive bidding, oxygen prescribing, education and access, pulmonary rehabilitation, and tobacco and vaping. The monthly Washington Watchline online publication features the latest on advocacy-related issues of interest to our membership. Last month, the HPAC held a multiorganizational technical expert panel meeting on nocturnal noninvasive ventilation, with plans to submit a manuscript on outcomes from the meeting to the journal CHEST®. These activities are an answer to our member’s requests and needs in the areas of advocacy.

With the onset of the pandemic, we pivoted the delivery of our signature education to virtual platforms beginning with a successful global congress in Bologna in June with 3,500 registered attendees. This was a wonderful way to provide education to our global audience. I want to thank co-chairs Dr. Bill Kelly and Dr. Girolamo Pelaia, and Dr. Francesco de Blasio from our Italian Delegation for their innovative leadership. In August, we held our first virtual Board Review Courses in Pulmonary Medicine, Critical Care Medicine, and Pediatric Pulmonary Medicine, attended by 775 registered attendees complete with didactic sessions, audience response sessions, SEEK sessions and live Q&A with the faculty. The on-demand versions of these courses are also available.

The CHEST® journal, in its second year with Dr. Peter Mazzone at the helm, continues to be a leading source of clinically relevant research and patient management guidance for pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine clinicians worldwide. The year 2020 has been a year like no other -- submission rates have doubled since the start of the pandemic, with nearly 5,000 manuscript submissions so far, this year. The journal has rapidly built a robust and growing COVID-19 topic collection, with relevant original research, guidelines, commentaries, and more, published online, within days of acceptance. The journal will continue to seek innovative ways to meet the needs of its readers and contributors during this time when our members and their patients urgently need current and high-quality information.

This year, CHEST hit a publishing milestone, with the publication of SEEK Critical Care 30, and the SEEK program is celebrating 30 years! Those who registered for CHEST 2020 by October 15 received the announcement regarding the commemorative “30 years of SEEK” collection.

Our Guidelines Oversight Committee has continued to publish evidence-based guidelines in the areas of cough and cryobiopsy, with a guideline on hypersensitivity pneumonitis and updated guidelines in our core topics of lung cancer and venous thromboembolism in the works.

Under the leadership of Dr. Aneesa Das, the NetWorks Task Force started work to accomplish the goal of increasing member engagement and reach by developing pilot projects focusing on infographics interviews with key opinion leaders and social media communications. Additionally, the Digital Strategy Task Force launched a redesigned website for the Foundation, which you can see at, and look for exciting changes coming to the CHEST website in the very near future.

We have continued our collaborative partnerships with our sister societies. We established the volunteer clinician matching program with the American Thoracic Society (ATS) to send clinicians to areas of need during the pandemic, and partnered on other COVID-19 related activities. We held a virtual fellow’s graduation with ATS and the Association of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Program Directors. CHEST leadership attended the Asian Pacific Respiratory Society in Vietnam in November, the Society of Critical Care Medicine, and Forum of International Respiratory Societies in February and the recent virtual meetings of ATS, European Respiratory Society, and the Brazilian Thoracic Society.

The CHEST Foundation has continued on their mission to champion lung health and make a difference through their successful fundraising. This was highlighted with a tremendous foundation gala in San Antonio in December, The Golden Era of Erin Popovich, attended by more than 500 people. Since COVID-19, the Foundation held several creative virtual fundraising events ranging from wine tastings to poker night to bingo night to a recent trivia night, as well as actively participating in COVID-19-related campaigns, such as the partnership with ATS for COVID-19 public service announcements directed to those affected by COVID-19, and other fundraising campaigns, such as the Buy-a-Mask Give-a-Mask campaign. In addition, the Foundation has continued with their support for clinical research grants, community service grants, and patient education resources and toolkits. For example, they have developed an oxygen tool kit to provide access and empowerment to patients in need.

Thank you to all our donors for continuing to support these CHEST Foundation initiatives. The Foundation couldn’t continue to do this amazing work to create an impact and raise awareness for lung health without you.

As the movement to combat racism and racial disparity swept across our nation, we issued a statement of equity in early June. In September, the CHEST Foundation launched the first of a series of Listening Tours to hear from community needs in the areas of trust, access, and equity. Information from these tours will be used to launch a designated fund to have the power to transform these needs into action. CHEST is now actively developing a strategic plan focusing on how CHEST can make an impactful difference in this arena. We want to ensure we take this essential time to listen, reflect, and make appropriate plans for ways we can truly make a difference. Expect more to come on this in the coming year.

The year concluded with CHEST 2020. CHEST 2020 had the highest number of case reports and abstracts ever submitted to a CHEST Annual meeting, and a total registration of more than 4,000. At CHEST 2020, you had an opportunity to see a reimagined virtual annual meeting with combinations of interactive live and prerecorded didactic sessions, audience response sessions, live Q&A with the faculty, educational games at the CHEST Gaming Hub, CHEST Challenge Championship, networking opportunities, narrated abstracts, case reports, original research presentations, COVID-19 update sessions, industry-sponsored programs, a virtual exhibit hall, and surprises, to deliver the in–person CHEST experience virtually. In addition, this came with the greatest number of CME/MOC credits we have ever offered! And, CHEST 2020 education will continue throughout the year with ongoing postgraduate courses creating the ultimate longitudinal educational experience. While nothing can replace the opportunity to connect with our community in person, I hope you found that this year’s meeting provided a wealth of learning, connection, and fun.

My sincere thanks to the CHEST 2020 Program Chair, Dr. Victor Test, to the entire Scientific Program Committee, and to our incredible CHEST staff, for the immense amount of hard work over the past year to reimagine CHEST 2020 and make it a reality. Little did Victor know that he would be planning three meetings, a live meeting, a hybrid meeting, and, ultimately, a virtual meeting. Thank you for all you did to make CHEST 2020 a meeting to remember. We plan to continue our efforts to maintain and grow educational innovation year-round through more e-learning, virtual learning, and, hopefully soon, live learning, both locally, nationally, and internationally.

As my year closes, you are in excellent hands with Dr. Steven Simpson, your 83rd President, who will lead the organization forward. You will hear more from him, but you are in the hands of a thoughtful and dedicated leader with a long history of CHEST experience, strong expertise in critical care, and a thought leader in the COVID-19 pandemic, including serving on the NIH COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines Panel.

There are so many people to thank! I want to thank my family, my husband and children, and my work family, the faculty and fellows of my division, for their unwavering support. I also want to thank my Co-President lineage group for their counsel and wisdom, several Past Presidents who I have called on over this past year for advice, Drs. John Studdard, Gerard Silvestri, and Darcy Marciniuk among others, the Board (who I only saw face-to-face once!), our CHEST leadership and educators, and the incredible CHEST staff, the Executive Leadership Team, and our superb, hard-working CEO/EVP Bob Musacchio. Last, and most importantly, I would like to thank our members for being in the trenches this year as we all dealt with COVID-19. You are the heroes! At the beginning of my term last year, I told you that my goal was to be “the welcoming home” for interprofessional health-care team members seeking to obtain the best possible educational experiences and patient outcomes. I had no idea how absolutely needed this would be for our chest medicine family this year. CHEST has always been your connection to relevant clinical information and late-breaking updates in our field – but this year, our CHEST community has been even more than that. Through this year of crisis and change, you all have shown resilience; a resilience molded by being flexible. Not only have you embodied flexibility at your home institutions, you’ve embodied flexibility in your learning, teaching, and connecting. You’ve joined us as we’ve reimagined what learning at CHEST is all about – I sincerely thank you for that!

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