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All About ATS Assemblies

Table of Contents


What Are Assemblies?

The American Thoracic Society has 14 assemblies that are subdivisions of the Society composed of members with like interests within the broad fields of respiratory, critical care and sleep medicine. The purpose of an assembly is to improve the collection, interpretation and dissemination of information; improve communication among members; and participate in the planning of the International Conference. Assemblies are also responsible for creating and updating ATS documents, including statements, guidelines and reports.

ATS Assemblies

  • Assembly on Allergy, Immunology & Inflammation (AII)
  • Assembly on Behavioral Science and Health Services Research (BSHSR)
  • Assembly on Clinical Problems (CP)
  • Assembly on Critical Care (CC)
  • Assembly on Environmental & Occupational Health (EOH)
  • Assembly on Microbiology, Tuberculosis & Pulmonary Infections (MTPI)
  • Assembly on Nursing (NUR)
  • Assembly on Pediatrics (PED)
  • Assembly on Pulmonary Circulation (PC)
  • Assembly on Pulmonary Rehabilitation (PR)
  • Assembly on Respiratory Cell & Molecular Biology (RCMB)
  • Assembly on Respiratory Structure & Function (RSF)
  • Assembly on Sleep & Respiratory Neurobiology (SRN)
  • Assembly on Thoracic Oncology (TO)

The fourteen ATS assemblies and three sections are at the heart of the Society’s mission. Through these groups, ATS members review, analyze and disseminate the latest basic science, translational and clinical information. Their collaborative way of working brings expertise from many different institutions, not to mention countries, to bear on scientific problems and clinical issues. This “meeting of the minds” often results in a dialogue that advances biomedical sciences, improves patient care and reduces the prevalence of disease.

One of the most important functions of the assemblies and sections is programming the ATS International Conference. Among those in the respiratory community, the conference is widely recognized as featuring “the best science.” This is no accident. Our assemblies and sections reflect our members’ commitment to science. Each year, ATS members and past conference attendees are invited to propose sessions for the next year’s conference. From these proposals, the most knowledgeable experts in each assembly develop the conference program. They also program the presentation of original research by reviewing the more than 6,000 abstracts submitted each year.

In recent years, a special emphasis has been placed on presenting sessions with the basic, translational and clinical science perspectives all being represented by leaders in their fields. This often requires assemblies to jointly organize sessions— something we believe enhances the learning experience of attendees. The once solid lines between different fields of medicine are being erased by scientific discoveries, and the International Conference reflects this trend.

The assemblies and sections also work on projects that they propose and are funded by the Society. Most of these projects result in an official document, which include statements, workshop reports/conference proceedings, health technology assessments, systematic reviews or clinical practice guidelines. The documents guiding clinical practice are often recognized as “the gold standard” for the diagnosis and treatment of disease. The quality of ATS documents is multifactorial and includes the expertise of its writing committees, the methodological rigor of the development process, and the thorough and thoughtful peer review and approval process. Committee members are chosen for their expertise and for the diversity of their experience and research. In this way, the Society attempts to ensure that documents do not reflect a narrow viewpoint in the medical world, but a carefully discussed and reviewed consensus reached through a methodologically rigorous process.

Assemblies also offer a forum for members to launch projects and activities that benefit their own work in the field and the ATS at large. For new ATS members, assemblies represent a conduit for ensuring that the greatest benefits of ATS membership are attained.

Advantages of Assembly Membership

  1. Opportunities to network and collaborate with colleagues from diverse disciplines to develop intra- and multidisciplinary projects, research and educational programs, and potentially guide career progression;
  2. Opportunity to meet senior colleagues who can provide mentorship;
  3. Opportunities to influence the direction of the assembly by joining the Planning Committee, other assembly committees and working groups;
  4. Opportunities to assist in programming the ATS International Conference by joining the Assembly Program Committee; and
  5. Opportunities for funding support from the ATS for assembly projects.
  6. Opportunities to draft or review materials for patients as part of the Patient Information Series or the New Patient Health Series.

Assembly Orientation Meetings Help Members Get Involved

“Even though I am only a third-year research fellow, I have attended the ATS International Conference for the last six years. I attended and became an ATS member because my graduate student mentor recommended it, and at the time I didn’t know anyone else at the ATS, so I just went with her to all of the events that she attended. So I’ve been around the Allergy, Immunology and Inflammation Assembly for a little while, but last year was the first time that I felt like there was a place for me to plug in and to get involved. I think that it’s a great idea to get new and junior members together before the assembly meeting. I think it is an informal, non-threatening environment where people can come and get more information.”

Assembly Descriptions

Assembly on Allergy, Immunology and Inflammation (AII)

Assembly on Behavioral Science and Health Services Research (BSHSR)

Assembly on Critical Care (CC)

Assembly on Clinical Problems (CP)

Assembly on Environmental, Occupational, and Population Health (EOPH)

Assembly on Microbiology, Tuberculosis and Pulmonary Infections (MTPI)

Assembly on Nursing (NUR)

Assembly on Pediatrics (PEDS)

Assembly on Pulmonary Circulation (PC)

Assembly on Pulmonary Rehabilitation (PR)

Assembly on Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology (RCMB)

Assembly on Respiratory Structure and Function (RSF)

Assembly on Sleep and Respiratory Neurobiology (SRN)

This assembly aims to expand and enhance the breadth and quality of research, member and patient education, and advocacy efforts related to lung cancer within the ATS.

What is a Section?

The ATS has two sections. Sections are subdivisions of an assembly that focus on a specific area of interest within the scope of an assembly.

  • Section on Genetics & Genomics (GG) (housed under AII)
  • Section on Terrorism & Inhalation Disasters (TID) (housed under EOPH)

How do I Join an Assembly or Section?

Any member of the ATS may join one primary assembly, up to two secondary assemblies and an unlimited number of sections. Primary membership is important because only primary members of the assembly may hold the assembly’s leadership positions.

Joining an assembly is easy. When you joined the ATS, you were asked to sign up for a primary and secondary assembly for your main and secondary interests. You will be able to take part in the business affairs of only your primary assembly but can receive information from both. If you did not sign up for an assembly, you can do it at any time and you may also join any section you want by visiting the ATS website at http://thoracic.force.com/MPU to update your membership profile.

Assembly Structure

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Each assembly has an Executive Committee:

  • Assembly Chair
  • Program Committee Chair
  • Program Committee Chair-Elect
  • Planning Committee Chair
  • Nominating Committee Chair
  • Web & Communications Director
  • Section Chair (if applicable)
  • Immediate-Past Assembly Chair
  • Chairs of Working Groups

Planning Committee

  • The assembly Planning Committee chair is appointed by the assembly chair.
  • Members of the committee, who number approximately 10-12 members, are appointed by the Planning Committee chair and tend to be junior and senior assembly members interested in becoming more involved with the assembly.

Program Committee

  • The Program Committee chair-elect is elected by the Assembly’s members who cast their votes online for their preferred candidates. The Program Committee chair-elect is a one-year term.
  • The Program Committee chair-elect then transitions to Program Committee chair.
  • Assembly Program Committees comprise a chair, chair-elect and members appointed by the Program Committee chair-elect.
  • The number of members appointed should not exceed 30.

Nominating Committee

  • The Nominating Committee chair is appointed by the assembly chair.
  • The Nominating Committee comprises a chair and three members.
  • Two members of the Nominating Committee are elected by the assembly’s members, who cast their votes online for their preferred candidates. The third member is an international member appointed by the assembly chair.

Ad-Hoc Committees

  • Ad-hoc committees are composed of ATS members whose projects have been approved by the Program Review Subcommittee and the ATS Board of Directors. Their purpose is to develop ATS documents or other projects.

Assembly Web & Communications Director

The assembly Web director is responsible for:

  • Reviewing assembly’s Web site;
  • Updating content as needed and proposing new content; and
  • Organizing all Web site activities, including journal clubs, forums and ATS clinical cases.

The assembly Web site director also serves as a member of the ATS Web Editorial Board and is a member of the assembly’s Executive Committee.

Assembly Working Groups

Assemblies can choose to form working groups under the purview and approval of the current Assembly Chair. Working groups should include a minimum of five assembly members, but be no larger than twelve. The goal of working groups is to:

  • Facilitate effective collaboration between assembly Executive Committees and assembly members;
  • Develop assembly/committee project proposals;
  • Identify learning gaps in specific disease categories; and
  • Assess assembly membership needs.

How do I Volunteer for an Assembly Committee?

You can become active in an assembly by learning what is going on in the assembly through the Web site, ATS News, or by contacting one of the assembly officers. You should attend the annual Assembly Membership Meeting, which is also a great place to network with people who share your interests.

Some committees are easy to join, whereas others may be harder because there are many members who would like to be involved. The best way to convey your interest is to contact the chair of the committee. The best time to do this is at the Assembly’s Membership Meeting and then via e-mail in January to express interest for the year beginning in May.

How do I Propose a Program for the ATS?

Most ATS programs come through assemblies. Being active in an assembly and contacting the assembly Planning and Program Committee chairs are the best ways to let your interest be known. Around the time of assembly annual meetings, the Web site and ATS News will indicate the deadline by which proposals must be submitted to be considered for the next year. Individuals can submit their ideas at that time.

Assembly Membership Meetings

Each of the 14 assemblies holds an annual Membership Meeting at the International Conference. All ATS members and other interested individuals are invited to attend.

The Membership Meetings provide members with an update on the assembly’s activities from the assembly’s leadership At each Membership Meeting, you will hear the assembly chair’s message and the year’s agenda Attendees can give input on future directions, gain information on how to get involved and take advantage of networking opportunities

ATS members can vote for their assembly’s future leaders online via the ATS web site The election results are announced at the Membership Meeting. Each of the 14 assembly Nominating Committees selects candidates for some or all of the following positions: Assembly Chair, Program Committee Chair-Elect and two members of the Nominating Committee. All assemblies will meet at the ATS International Conference.

Join Us for an ATS Assembly Orientation

Do you oft en wonder how the ATS really works? Would you like to have more networking opportunities at the International Conference?

Th is is your chance! Some assemblies plan on holding a special orientation and welcome meeting for new assembly members Members of the assembly leadership will be there to welcome you 30 minutes before the start of the offi cial meeting and help introduce you to the Assembly They will be there to address any questions you might have regarding the assembly and how you can become more involved in its activities and committees We look forward to meeting you.

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Breaking Down the Assembly Structure

ASSEMBLY CHAIR: Role and Responsibilities

The role of an ATS assembly chair is to provide leadership and guidance to the membership of their assembly. As part of the assembly chair’s responsibilities, he or she:

  • Oversees the activities of the Program, Planning, Nominating, and Ad-Hoc Committees;
  • Serves as chair of the Assembly Executive Committee;
  • Serves as a member of the ATS Board of Directors;
  • Attends four meetings of the ATS Board of Directors ;
  • Attends the annual meeting of the assembly Planning Committee held in conjunction with the ATS International Conference;
  • Appoints expert reviewers, in conjunction with the documents editor, to review official documents and/or in response to leadershiplevel requests for scientific expertise;
  • Appoints an assembly Planning Committee chair, Web site director, a Nominating Committee chair, and Ad-Hoc Committee chair, as necessary;
  • Provides consultation and expertise to the ATS leadership, committees and staff, as necessary;
  • Serves on the Board of Directors Review Subcommittee, if invited, to review official documents from a process standpoint prior to a board vote;
  • Prepares regular reports for the ATS News, in consultation with the editor, Rory Williams, (rwilliams@thoracic.org); and
  • Approves all member-initiated e-mails and mailings.

Program Committee

The ATS assembly Program Committees are composed of an assembly Program Committee chair, chair-elect and select members of the assembly.

Program Committee Purpose

The main focus of the ATS Program Committees is to plan and program the Assembly’s sessions for the International Conference. These include:

  • Scientific Symposia
  • Clinical Topics in Pulmonary Medicine Track
  • Critical Care Track
  • Workshops
  • Sunrise Seminars
  • Meet the Professor Seminars
  • Thematic Seminar Series
  • Postgraduate Courses

Assembly Program Committees also review abstracts submitted to their assembly and programs acceptable abstracts into the following formats:

  • Mini-Symposia
  • Poster Discussion Sessions
  • Thematic Poster Sessions

The assembly Program Committees meet “face-to-face” once a year at the ATS International Conference.

Chair-Elect

  • Candidates are selected by the Assembly Nominating Committees.
  • Elected via the ATS Web site by the assembly members and announced at the Membership Meeting in May.
  • Serves one year as Program Committee chair-elect and automatically becomes the assembly Program Committee chair the following year for a one-year term
  • Assembly Program Committee chair and chair-elect must be members of the American Th oracic Society
  • Assembly Program Committee chair and chair-elect must be primary members of the Assembly for which they serve.

Program Committee Members

  • Members are appointed by the Program Committee chair-elect in early January through mid-February.
  • The number of members appointed is decided by the chair-elect based on the numbers of programs and abstracts to be reviewed However, a Program Committee should not exceed more than 30 members
  • Should be a mix of junior and senior members of the Assembly, who wish to become more involved in the activities of the Assembly and the International Conference
  • Appointing members from outside the U.S. and Canada should also be considered.
  • Must be members of the American Th oracic Society.
  • Must be primary or secondary members of the Assembly for which they serve as member.
  • It is suggested that members serve on the Program Committee for three consecutive years.
  • Rotation of the members should be staggered so that only about one-third of the Committee is made up of new members.

It is suggested that the outgoing Program Committee chair be appointed as a member to the new Program Committee for continuity.

If you would like to be considered by the Program Committee chair-elect for a position as a member of the Program Committee, send him/her an email in the spring!

A list of Program Committee chair-elects can be found on the ATS website under Assemblies.

Planning Committee

The ATS Assembly Planning Committees are composed of an assembly Planning Committee chair, who is appointed by the Assembly Chair and select committee members The chair of the Planning Committee must be a member of the American Thoracic Society and a primary member of the assembly.

Members of the committee, approximately 10 to 12, are appointed by the Planning Committee chair and tend to be junior and senior assembly members interested in becoming more involved with the assembly All members of the ATS Assembly Planning Committees must be members of ATS in order to serve on the Planning Committee Members of ATS Planning Committees must also belong to the assembly either as a primary or secondary member.

Ideally, the members of the Planning Committee have had some assembly experience, possess the ability to assess the needs of the membership and have strong leadership skills Th is profi le is important for the functioning of the Planning Committee, which is responsible for the development of a comprehensive program of work that outlines the short- and long-term goals and objectives of the assembly.

Many assemblies have developed working groups (sub-committees) of the Planning Committee. Working groups of the assembly are chaired by a member of the Planning Committee, and they are designed to focus on specifi c issues, including but not limited to:

  • Facilitating eff ective collaboration between assembly Executive Committees and assembly members;
  • Developing assembly/committee project proposals;
  • Identifying learning gaps in specifi c disease categories; and
  • Assessing assembly membership needs.

Assembly Planning Committees meet in person once a year at the ATS International Conference Th roughout the year, the committees holds conference calls on a monthly or quarterly basis.

If you would like to be considered by the Planning Committee chair for a position as a member of the Planning Committee send him/her an e-mail. For a complete list of Planning Committee Chairs, visit the ATS Website.

Nominating Committee

The Nominating Committee’s charge is to select a slate of candidates to serve as:

  • Assembly Chair (on a biennial basis);
  • Program Committee Chair-elect (on an annual basis);
  • Nominating Committee Members (two selected on an annual basis); and
  • Other candidates as necessary.

The Nominating Committees are composed of a chair and three other members; the chair is appointed by the assembly chair, and two members are elected by the Assembly Membership in April via the ATS Web site The third member is an International member and is appointed by the assembly chair.

Nominating Committee Chair:

  • The ideal candidate will be able to project the leadership needs of the Assembly for one to two years and match those needs with a slate of qualifi ed candidates
  • The chair would work in conjunction with the three other members of the committee.
  • The Nominating Committee chair serves as a member of the assembly Executive Committee.

Nominating Committee Members:

  • It is essential that all members of the Nominating Committee have prior assembly experience and possess the ability to match the leadership needs of the assembly with potential candidates.

The final vote for one assembly chair, one program committee chair-elect and two nominating committee members takes place on the ATS Web site on March 1st. Election results are announced at the Assemblies’ respective membership meeting at the International Conference. Hotel and meeting room locations will be listed in the Final Program. We encourage as many members as possible to attend the meeting and to vote online. Your participation is important.

Web & Communications Director:

TERM: The Assembly Web director serves a two-year term with a third-year extension if needed The assembly Web director is an appointed position by the assembly chair

Role:

The assembly Web director’s role is:

  • Review assembly Web site content and update as needed;
  • Organize all assembly online forums;
  • Organize assembly journal clubs;
  • Organize and submit ATS clinical cases;
  • Serve as a member of the ATS Web Editorial Board;
  • Serve on the assembly Executive Committee and propose new ideas for the assembly’s Web site; and
  • Help identify authors and reviewers for articles submitted to the ATS Web site such as “Best of the Web.”

Web & Communications Director:

  • The ideal candidate will possess knowledge of Internet-based off erings.
  • The ideal candidate will be able to assess the assembly’s Web site needs and the needs of its assembly members with regards to online off erings
  • The assembly’s Web director works in conjunction with the assembly’s Executive Committee and theATS Web site Editor.
  • The assembly’s Web director serves as a member of the assembly Executive Committee.
  • The assembly’s Web director serves as the assembly’s liaison on the ATS Web Editorial Board.

Meetings

The Web Editorial Board meets in person once a year at the ATS International Conference and has a minimum of two conference calls per year.

If you would like to be considered for this position, send the assembly chair an e-mail. A list of current Web directors can be found on the ATS Web site under Assemblies.

How do I Become an Assembly Leader?

Service on both the Program and Planning Committees, as well as service as Program Committee Chair, is recommended prior to nomination for Assembly Chair Assembly Chairs serve for two years

Suggested Leadership Tracks:

Serve as a member of the Program & Planning Committees

Track 1:

  • Appointed Planning Committee Chair (two-year term)
  • Nominated for Program Committee chair-elect (must have served on Program Committee previously)
  • If elected, Program Committee chair-elect (one-year term) and transitions to Program Committee Chair (one-year term)
  • Nominated as Assembly Chair

Track 2:

  • Nominated for Program Committee chair-elect without having served previously as Planning Committee Chair (must have served on Program Committee as member previously)
  • If elected, Program Committee chair-elect (one-year term) and transitions to Program Committee Chair (one-year term)
  • Nominated as Assembly Chair
  • Past Assembly Chair is appointed Nominating Committee chair

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