ATS Amplifies Contributions of Women by Featuring DC-Based Woman-Owned Business at Women’s Forum

Each year, the Women’s Forum at the ATS International Conference amplifies the achievements and supports the advancement of women in pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine and research. This year, in addition to inviting two accomplished international scientists as the featured speakers, the forum will amplify the contributions of women in business.

As part of its annual initiative to give back to the host city of the International Conference, the ATS will support Cheers in a Box, a local woman-owned and -operated business, by providing a special favor from this Washington, DC-Based venture to attendees of the Women’s Forum on Monday, May 22.

Cheers in a Box is an award-winning event design and strategy firm created by J. Shea and has been providing gifting and event expertise “designed to elicit joy with every client experience” for over 20 years. Its custom gift boxes helped the business thrive at a time when many were faced with insurmountable challenges. 

“We emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic when all in-person events were canceled, and connection and engagement were so hard to come by in a very remote world,” states the company website. “We are one of the first companies to provide an all-in-one solution for businesses looking to reach their customers and staff with a fun and engaging virtual event experience and custom-curated boxes to go along with them.”

By partnering with Cheers in a Box, the ATS is furthering the business’ pay-it-forward philosophy.

“Supporting other small businesses is a large part of our mission,” states the Cheers in a Box website. “Most of the items in each box are sourced from brands around the U.S. Many are either female-owned or local businesses, and everything is guaranteed to make your recipient smile.”

Research published in the Harvard Research Review found that when women collaborate with and support one another, they are more successful. Having an established peer network is beneficial for everyone, but women who have a close network of female contacts have proven to be more likely to be in positions of authority with higher pay than women who do not have a circle of female associates.

The Women’s Forum is an opportunity for women to connect in respiratory medicine and expand their professional networks.

“In addition to our tremendous economic impact, the ATS is proud to partner with a woman-owned and -operated company, Cheers in a Box,” said Emily Catanzaro, CMP, ATS senior director of meeting services. “The initiative pairs perfectly with the annual ATS Women’s Forum, which is an afternoon filled with celebrating and supporting the growth of women in pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine and research.”

Refiloe Masekela, MD
Refiloe Masekela, MD

Featured speakers Refiloe Masekela, MD, and Margareth Pretti Dalcolmo, MD, PhD, will share their career insights with attendees over lunch on Monday from 11:45 a.m.–1:15 p.m. ET in the Potomac Ballroom (Ballroom Level) at the Renaissance Washington, DC Downtown. There is a $30 registration fee.

“This year, our hope is that the women we have brought together will be able to highlight the ways in which women have led public health efforts, and as such, shaped the health of nations,” said Meshell Johnson, MD, chair of the ATS Membership Committee. The forum is organized and presented by the committee and will be hosted by Dr. Johnson and Vice Chair Alexandra Noel, PhD.

Drs. Masekela and Dalcolmo bring international perspectives to the Women’s Forum.

Dr. Masekela is a National Institute for Health and Care Research global health research professor, as well as an associate professor and the head of the Department of Pediatrics and Child Health at the University of KwaZulu Natal, Durban, South Africa. Her area of research interest is asthma epidemiology, including access to affordable medicines for children, pulmonary function testing, and improving access to pulmonary diagnostic tests in Africa.

Margareth Pretti Dalcolmo, MD, PhD
Margareth Pretti Dalcolmo, MD, PhD

She is also vice chair of the Pan African Thoracic Society, which is a member of the Forum of International Respiratory Societies with the ATS. She is passionate about strengthening research capacity in Africa and is the current co-director of the ATS Methods in Epidemiology, Clinical, and Operational Research flagship program in Africa.

Dr. Dalcolmo, president of the Brazilian Thoracic Society, is a respiratory physician and senior researcher at the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Fiocruz, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She has conducted and participated in clinical research protocols to treat tuberculosis and other mycobacteriosis, as well as COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases.

She is a member of the Advisory Committee on Tuberculosis of the Ministry of Health and the scientific committees of the Brazilian Societies of Thoracic Diseases and Infectious Diseases, the TB Research Network, the Steering Committee of the RESIST TB organization, the Expert Group for Essential Medicines List of the WHO, and the Regional Advisory Committee of the World Bank for health projects in Sub-Saharan Africa on Tuberculosis and occupational respiratory diseases.

Dr. Dalcolmo also is a professor of postgraduate studies at Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, a member and former coordinator of the Ethical Chamber of Respiratory Diseases and Thoracic Surgery at Cremerj, a member of the Brazilian National Academy of Medicine, and a weekly writer for the O Globo newspaper.

Elizabeth A. Rich Award

Lorraine Ware, MD
Lorraine Ware, MD

The 2023 recipient of the Elizabeth A. Rich Award, Lorraine Ware, MD, will also give remarks during the Women’s Forum. Dr. Ware is a professor of medicine in the Division of Allergy, Pulmonary, and Critical Care Medicine within the Department of Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

The Elizabeth A. Rich Award is presented to an outstanding woman in the ATS who has made significant contributions in the fields of pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine.

Dr. Ware has been a featured speaker at the Women’s Forum, and Dr. Johnson said she is an inspiration to women, trainees, and early career faculty throughout the field.

“Her legacy in the fields of ARDS and lung injury is immeasurable and still being written with her continued work in these areas,” Dr. Johnson said. “Her leadership is stellar, especially within the ranks of the ATS, and her mentoring is phenomenal, not only in its breadth but in its depth, as well.”

Many thanks to United Therapeutics for its support of the Women’s Forum.


Register today for the ATS 2024 International Conference! Don’t miss this opportunity to take part in the in-person conference, May 17-22 in San Diego. Join your colleagues to learn about the latest developments in pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine.

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