Plenary Session to Confront Realities of Medical Misinformation on Health Care

A professor and best-selling author behind the ScienceUpFirst science engagement initiative will bring a message about the challenges of medical misinformation to the Plenary Session at this year’s ATS International Conference.

Timothy Caulfield
Timothy Caulfield

Timothy Caulfield will be the keynote speaker of the session on Tuesday, May 23, from 11:30 a.m.–1 p.m. ET in Hall E (Level 2) of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. He is the Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy, a professor in the Faculty of Law and the School of Public Health, and the research director of the Health Law Institute at the University of Alberta, Canada. 

“Medical misinformation is rampant and driving personal health care decisions, and people need to make informed decisions based on facts,” said ATS President Gregory P. Downey, MD, ATSF. “Mr. Caulfield’s presentation will help attendees better understand the environment in which their patients are trying to make these decisions.”

A Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, Mr. Caulfield’s influential work has been recognized with numerous academic, science communication, and writing awards. He has published more than 350 academic articles on his interdisciplinary research on topics such as stem cells, genetics, research ethics, the public representations of science, and public policy.

Mr. Caulfield is also the author of the best-selling books The Cure for Everything: Untangling the Twisted Messages about Health, Fitness and Happiness (Penguin 2012) and Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything?: When Celebrity Culture and Science Clash (Penguin 2015). His 2020 release, Relax, Dammit!: A User’s Guide to the Age of Anxiety (Penguin Random House) was published in the United States as Your Day, Your Way

Also in 2020, he co-founded ScienceUpFirst, now a funded initiative of the Canadian Association of Science Centres, to “share the best available science in creative ways to stop the spread of misinformation” through a collective of independent scientists, researchers, health care experts, and science communicators.

“With such a chaotic information environment, we have a tendency to react emotionally to headlines,” Mr. Caulfield told the University of Toronto News, offering a simple strategy for confronting inaccurate and misleading information. “If you just pause, there’s this growing body of evidence that tells us that you’re less likely to believe misinformation, that you’re less likely to spread misinformation.” 

The Plenary Session also will include the ratification of the 2023-2024 slate of ATS officers as well as remarks from Dr. Downey and incoming ATS President M. Patricia Rivera, MD, ATSF.

In addition, four awards will be presented:

  • Outstanding Educator Award
  • Research Innovation & Translation Award
  • Outstanding Clinician Award
  • Philip Hopewell Prize for Leaders in Global Respiratory Health

Many thanks to GSK for support of the Plenary Session.


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