New ATS President Shares Her Vision for the Society in 2024-2025

ATS President Irina Petrache, MD, ATSF, an ATS member since 1997, has absorbed numerous valuable lessons from her colleagues in the Society throughout her career, including strategies for effective leadership.

Irina Petrache, MD
Irina Petrache, MD, ATSF

“I would like to build on skills learned throughout my career, working with ATS members, including the presidents who came before me, to be able to bring a leadership that fosters collaboration, thoroughly researching issues, building consensus to advance the Society’s vision and strategy, and clearly communicating that message to stakeholders,” she explained.

M. Patricia Rivera, MD, ATSF, will pass the gavel to Dr. Petrache on Tuesday during the Plenary Session at the International Conference. Dr. Petrache is the chief of the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine and associate vice president of faculty development at National Jewish Health, where she is a professor of medicine who holds the Wollowick Endowed Chair in COPD Research. She is also a professor of medicine at the University of Colorado, where she co-directs the T32 Training Program in Pulmonary Sciences.

She has received numerous awards for her academic career, including elections into the ASCI and AAP, the ATS Elizabeth A. Rich, MD, Award, The Golden Lung Award for excellence in teaching at Indiana University, and the Harrington Scholar-Innovator Award, among others.

The Petrache Laboratory at National Jewish Health focuses on endothelial cell biology and sphingolipid signaling to understand the complex mechanisms of lung injury and repair behind COPD and emphysema, environmental exposures to cigarette smoke, vaping, and respiratory viruses such as SARS-CoV-2.

As the 2024-2025 president of the ATS, Dr. Petrache is looking forward to implementing new initiatives at the ATS that have been in development for several years, including innovations in ATS governance and in learning by enhancing the already outstanding International Conference and providing year-long, cutting-edge learning opportunities for members. She is dedicated to positioning the ATS as a global leader in advancing knowledge of respiratory diseases, critical care, and sleep medicine. Her commitment extends to providing robust advocacy and fostering the swift implementation of new discoveries, all with the aim of helping the world breathe better.

“I’m looking forward to being at the helm of the Society during this transformational time, knowing that we have a fantastic leadership team comprised of my colleagues on the executive committee, the superb ATS staff, and an energetic and passionate ATS Board of Directors,” Dr. Petrache said.

She shared her vision for the ATS to serve as a platform for thought leaders in health care to network and collaborate while engaging with outside communities to deliver innovation and better respiratory health globally. Dr. Petrache also expressed the importance of education and her desire to invest in the next generation of clinicians and researchers.

“There are two other points I will strongly prioritize: First is maintaining a firm position in advocacy for clean air and a tobacco-free and vaping-free society,” Dr. Petrache explained. “The other is serving as a voice for climate and environmental stewardship.”

Dr. Petrache reflected on how she discovered the value of fresh air during her youth as a member of the Romanian national alpine skiing team, a winter sport that instilled in her lessons of hard work, fair play, and discipline, which she now complements with road cycling in the summer, practicing both in her home state of Colorado.

She praised her professional role models, extending as far back as an elementary school math teacher who taught her the joy of problem-solving with sometimes outside-the-box solutions, with too many others to name from her residency, fellowship, and throughout her career as academic faculty. Dr. Petrache also emphasized the impact provided by her ATS collaborators on her career, leading to her election as ATS president.

“I hope it comes through to my colleagues how grateful I am for this opportunity,” Dr. Petrache said. “It has taken a village of individuals who have knowingly or unknowingly supported me throughout my career to reach this huge milestone and honor of being entrusted with this role.”

Don’t Miss ATS 2024 Highlights: On Demand

Don’t forget that ATS 2024 Highlights: On Demand are available to all conference registrants! On Demand will give you access to the Opening Ceremony, Plenary Session, Keynote Series, Clinical Year in Review, Adult Clinical Core Curriculum, and so much more. The topics will cover ILD, asthma, health equity, and CF, to name just a few. On Demand content will be accessible to all ATS 2024 full conference and On Demand registrants until March 2025.