Social Media Personality Dr. Glaucomflecken to Open ATS International Conference


An ophthalmologist will take center stage at the Opening Ceremony of the ATS 2024 International Conference in San Diego.

William Flanary, MD – aka Dr. Glaucomflecken
William Flanary, MD – aka Dr. Glaucomflecken

That’s not a joke. All eyes will be on William Flanary, MD, aka satirist Dr. Glaucomflecken, as the featured speaker at the ceremony, 4:30-5:30 p.m. PT on Saturday, May 18.

“It’s going to be great. There’s going to be stuff about hearts, lungs, and anything else you can find in the human thorax,” Dr. Flanary said in a video announcing his participation in the conference. “I’m going to be talking about a lot of different things: the importance of humor and medicine, social media, and that one time that I, an ophthalmologist, actually ended up in the ICU.”

Dr. Glaucomflecken (@DGlaucomflecken) began on X, formerly Twitter, as a creative outlet for Dr. Flanary to tell jokes about ophthalmology and to help him cope with his experience as a two-time survivor of testicular cancer and a survivor of cardiac arrest at age 34 in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. He has become a popular social media personality at the center of medical-themed comedy shorts that find humor in the challenges of medical school, residency, the U.S. health care system, academic publishing, and more.

Dr. Flanary promotes a philosophy of embracing humor in everyday life with characters representing several specialties at Glaucomflecken General Hospital, including an always-positive ophthalmologist and his loyal scribe, Johnathan — all depicted by Dr. Flanary.

The Opening Ceremony will also feature:

  • ATS President M. Patricia Rivera, MD, ATSF, who will provide an update on accomplishments over the past year.
  • A video celebrating the success of 20 years of the ATS Research Program.
  • The latest class of ATS Fellows and Research Program awardees.
  • The presentation of the Public Service Award, World Lung Health Award, Jo Rae Wright Award for Outstanding Science, and the J. Randall Curtis Humanism Award.

Support provided by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc.

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.