For the first time since CHEST 2011, when I was the Scientific Program Committee Vice Chair, I was able to return to beautiful Hawaiʻi as the organization’s President, which was such a big coincidence that it felt almost like fate.
During my time on stage at the CHEST 2023 Opening Session, I reflected on the last (at the time) 9 months and shared how truly humbled I have been to lead such a group of leaders and doers. I’m continually amazed at the energy of our members and our staff. In my 25 years as a member, I thought I knew all that CHEST did, but there is so much more happening than any one person realizes. From creating and implementing patient care initiatives to drafting and endorsing statements advocating for better access to health care, there is a tremendous amount accomplished by this organization every year.
One notable accomplishment of this particular year is that not only was CHEST 2023 our largest meeting ever, but I’m proud to share that we also had more medical students, residents, and fellows than any other year, with over 2,000 attendees in-training.
This is a great reflection of the work we’ve been doing to expand the CHEST community – both to physicians earlier in their careers and also to the whole care team. We are putting a dedicated focus toward welcoming and creating a sense of belonging for every clinician. The first step toward this inclusion is the creation of the new CHEST interest groups – Respiratory Care, which is dedicated to the field, and Women in Chest Medicine, which is a more inclusive evolution of the previous Women & Pulmonary group.
This year, we also established CHEST organizational values. The result of a tremendous effort from an advisory committee, CHEST leaders, members, and staff, these values – Community, Inclusivity, Innovation, Advocacy, and Integrity – are reflective of the CHEST organization and will guide decisions for years to come.
They also serve to elevate the work we are doing in social responsibility and health equity, within both of which we’ve made great strides. CHEST philanthropy evolved from what was known as the CHEST Foundation, with a new strategic focus, and we continue working to create opportunities to expand diversity within health care, including the new CHEST mentor/mentee sponsorship fellowship in partnership with the Association of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Program Directors.
Though I could go on for eternity describing all we did at CHEST this year, the reality is that at the end of the next month, as we ring in the new year, I will cede the presidency to the incredibly accomplished and capable Jack Buckley, MD, MPH, FCCP, who will take the reins of our great organization.
For now, in my parting words to you, I encourage everyone to stay in touch. I am always reachable by email and would love to hear your thoughts on CHEST – reflections on this past year, ideas about where we’re going, and suggestions for what we’re missing. The role of the President (and, to some extent, the Immediate Past President) is to be a steward of the needs of the CHEST members, and it’s been a true honor being your 2023 CHEST President.