Hundreds of students and early career professionals took part in two days of specialty programming designed by the ATS to elevate the next generation of respiratory clinicians and researchers.
The Resident Boot Camp, Fellows Track Symposium, New Faculty Boot Camp, and Student Scholars Program welcomed more than 500 combined participants, an increase of more than 33 percent from last year.
Himmat Grewal, MBBS, MD, junior faculty at Tulane University School of Medicine, previously attended the Resident Boot Camp and Fellows Track Symposium and returned this year as a hands-on instructor in both courses.
“The topics are very high-yield and address the current standard of care,” Dr. Grewal said. “It’s mostly bread-and-butter pulmonary and critical care medicine, but also touching upon and introducing them to the concepts of advanced pulmonary medicine and advanced critical care medicine.”
Ian Simpson-Shelton, MD, a third-year resident at the University of California, San Diego, was one of 167 residents selected to participate in the Resident Boot Camp. The program is designed to prepare residents entering an adult or pediatric pulmonary or critical care fellowship with the information, confidence, and knowledge they need to flourish.
“As a younger trainee, the hands-on activities are a great way to continue to develop my skills,” said Dr. Simpson-Shelton. “Not only am I able to learn a lot of the hands-on skills that I’ll be utilizing in the near future, but then being able to meet some of my future colleagues has been an added bonus. It’s been phenomenal.”
The Fellows Track Symposium offers hands-on demonstrations in ultrasound, bronchoscopy, awake fiberoptic intubation, and other techniques. This year’s program included faculty presentations on clinical issues related to the diagnosis and treatment of a variety of pulmonary, critical care, and sleep disorders, including idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, COPD, lung cancer, asthma, and sleep apnea.
Allyson Brown, MD, a first-year pediatric pulmonology fellow at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, was one of 200 fellows who attended the symposium.
“With the way that we did our fellowship interviews over the last couple of years, we haven’t had the opportunity to meet many other fellows in person. This was a great chance to start building those connections while learning about a number of topics from the people who are writing the papers,” said Dr. Brown, who also presented a poster on Monday.
Fahim Pyarali, MD, MPH, is a third-year pulmonary and critical care fellow at Cedars Sinai who participated in the Fellows Track Symposium last year and returned this year to attend the New Faculty Boot Camp as he prepares to transition to a junior faculty position.
“The fellowship course was mostly about content and learning what you need to know for your pulmonary boards,” he said. “The New Faculty Boot Camp is also content-based, but includes more practical, professional advice. There’s a unique focus in each program.”
Dr. Pyarali attended the boot camp with his colleague, Jiyeon Seo, MD, who is a junior faculty at Cedars Sinai. In the New Faculty Boot Camp, several presenters recalled their personal experiences as young faculty members and provided contact information in case attendees needed advice down the road, Dr. Seo noted.
This year, 70 ATS members-in-training participated in the New Faculty Boot Camp, a significant increase from the 44 participants who took part last year.
The boot camp was organized by the ATS Members in Transition and Training (MITT) Committee, which also organized the Student Scholars Program. One hundred student scholars registered for this year’s program — up from 86 last year — including students currently enrolled in or applying to undergraduate school, graduate school, respiratory therapy training, nursing school, or medical school.
While the New Faculty Boot Camp caters to pulmonary and critical care fellows who are expected to take leadership positions at major academic medical centers, the Student Scholars Program is designed for motivated students in the early stages of their educational journeys, said Sakshi Dua, MBBS, ATSF, vice chair of the MITT Committee.
“It’s a self-selected group because they already have interest and are leaning toward pulmonary critical care,” she said. “Some of them are just in the exploratory phase, and some of them are pretty certain that this is the field they want to be in. It’s a great opportunity to attend an international thoracic meeting and get exposed to a lot of aspects of the pulmonary and critical care specialties.”
Marcy Cage, one of the student scholars, is a third-year PhD student studying lung biology at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine.
“The program really highlights the profound importance of pulmonary and critical care medicine,” said Cage.
The Student Scholars Program is the only one of the four ATS early career programs that Divya Padmanabhan Menon, MBBS, hasn’t participated in.
“I just wish more people knew about the programs,” said Dr. Menon, a pulmonary hypertension fellow at Mayo Clinic who has accepted a junior faculty position at Yale School of Medicine. “The more people who are able to attend, the better. I tell all of my trainees and peers that it really is a great opportunity.”
Early career professionals in pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine can stay engaged via a dedicated ATS Early Career Twitter feed (@atsearlycareer) or send an email to [email protected].
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Worried you won’t be able to see every session of interest at the ATS 2023 International Conference? Or not able to join us in Washington, DC? Access some of the conference’s best content through the ATS 2023 On-Demand Highlights platform, available in June. It will include more than 100 scientific and clinical symposia, including Keynote sessions, Clinical Year in Review, and Adult and Pediatric Core Curriculum.