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MECOR Course Directors

The Faces of the ATS MECOR Program

The American Thoracic Society (ATS) utilizes a multi-faceted approach to positively improve global lung health. One way that ATS promotes lung health worldwide, is through the its Methods in Epidemiologic, Clinical, and Operations Research (MECOR) Program. The ATS MECOR Program is an intensive course offered to physicians and related health care professionals in developing countries.

To ensure that each course runs smoothly, a distinguished public health professional is appointed to position of MECOR Course Director. Our course directors are passionate about ATS' mission, natural leaders, and exceptionally knowledgable in the field of pulmonology, critical care, and or sleep medicine. 

ATS MECOR Program's Course Directors are an accomplished group of clinicians that bring extensive professional experience to the program. They are committed to increasing lung disease research capacity in low and middle income countries with their expertise being a leader, mentor, and superb researcher.

Course Directors:


Obianuju Ozoh, MBBS, MWACP
Refiloe Masekela MD, PhD



Shannon Carson, MD
Stephen McCurdy, MD, MPH
Yahong Chen, MD, PhD



Adithya Cattamanchi, MD, MAS
Nirupama Putcha, MD, MHS
DJ Christopher


MECOR South East Asia Regional Course

Thomas Bice, MD, MSc
Erlina Burhan, MD, MSc, PhD


MECOR Latin America

Juliana Ferreira, MD, PhD


MECOR Turkiye

Ozge Yilmaz, MD
Zuhal Karakurt, MD


Course Director's Bios:

Obianuju Ozoh, MBBS, MWAC
Pulmonologist & Senior Lecturer @ Nigeria College of Medicine

Dr. Uju Ozoh is a Pulmonologist and Senior Lecturer at the University of Lagos, Lagos, Nigeria College of Medicine. She obtained her medical degree from the University of Nigeria Nsukka. She has a fellowship in pulmonology from the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria. She obtained further clinical training and experience as a pulmonologist at the Tygerberg Academic Hospital, University of Stellenbosch, Cape Town, South Africa, and from the Mount Sinai Medical Center sleep medicine program in New York City, USA. Her areas of research interest include airway diseases, pulmonary complications of respiratory exposures, chronic medical conditions, tobacco epidemiology, and obstructive sleep apnea. She is currently exploring the health effects of household kerosene use in Nigeria. Dr. Ozoh is an executive member of the Nigerian Thoracic Society and is committed to improving the practice of respiratory medicine in Nigeria through research, advocacy, and capacity building.


Refiloe Masekela MD, PhD
Professor Paediatric Pulmonologist, Head of Department of Paediatrics and Child Health @ University of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa
Dr. Masekela is a seasoned professor and pulmonologist. She obtained her undergraduate medical training at Wits University in 1997 and completed her internship and community service at Polokwane/Mankweng Hospital complex. She then completed her postgraduate training with a Masters in Paediatrics at the University of Pretoria in 2005, after which she went on to sub-specialize in Paediatric Pulmonology at the University Hospitals Leuven in Belgium and at the University of Pretoria. She was the first Paediatric Pulmonology Sub-specialist by Examination from the Colleges of Medicine in 2007. Dr. Masekela was elected as a Fellow of the College of Chest Physicians by peer-review. She has published 18 peer-reviewed publications and ISBN accredited journals and has also written two book chapters on respiratory diseases in children in the tropics in an international Infectious Disease textbook and the European Respiratory Society Monograph.


Shannon Carson, MD
Professor of Medicine and Division Chief , Pulmonary Diseases and Critical Care Medicine @ UNC School of Medicine
Presently, Dr. Carson serves as Professor and Chief of the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at UNC School of Medicine. He is also heavily involved with the American Thoracic Society serving as MECOR Steering Committee Chair. He has been a co-investigator in the NHLBI ARDS Network, and he was also a co-PI in the COPD Network for Comparative Effectiveness Research and Translation (CONCERT Network). He has been a consultant on projects for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services using Medicare data to assess the role and function of Long-term Care Hospitals in the care of patients with complex acute illness.Dr. Carson has an exstensive educational background. Dr. Carson obtained his Bachelor of Science Degree from North Carolina State University in 1985. Shortly after, Dr. Carson obtained his Medical Degree from the University of North Carolina in 1989. Dr. Carson completed his residency at the University of Chicago in 1992. In 1995, Dr. Carson completed his Fellowship training at the University of Chicago. His research interests include health services research and clinical trials in critical illness and comparative effectiveness research in COPD.


Stephen McCurdy, MD, MPH
Professor of Medicine @ University of California, Davis
Dr. McCurdy presently serves as a Professor of Medicine at the University of California, Davis. Dr. McCurdy has an extensive educational background. Dr. McCurdy obtained his undergraduate degree in Biochemistry from UC Riverside in 1976, his Master of Public Health (MPH) degree from UC Berkeley School of Public Health in 1979, and his Medical Degree (MD) from UC San Diego in 1981. Dr. McCurdy completed an internship at UC Davis Medical Center in internal medicine. In addition, Dr. McCurdy completed his residency in internal medicine at UC Davis Medical Center. Dr. McCurdy's clinical interests include general occupational medicine, with special interest in toxicology and the health effects of pesticides and heavy metals. Dr. McCurdy completed a fellowship with UC Davis Medical Center in their Occupational and Environmental Medicine Department. 


Yahong Chen, MD, PhD
Professor of Medicine, Vice Director for Department of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, & Vice Director for Research Center for Chronic Respiratory Diseases @ Department of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, Peking University Third Hospital, Beijing, China
Dr. Yahong Chen is a professor of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Peking University Third Hospital. Dr. Chen has been involved with MECOR China since 2018. Her research interests include clinical translational research in chronic airway inflammatory diseases. Dr. Chen participated in the “China Pulmonary Health (CPH) Study" in 2012-2015, and "the epidemiology study of COPD and asthma in China". In addition, Dr. Chen has established the COPD database and makes updates regularly. During 2010-2011, Dr. Chen worked closely with colleagues to conduct further research on COPD immune pathogenesis. Supported by the Joint Institute from 2014-2016, Dr. Chen studied the effects of air pollution on DNA methylation in uncontrolled asthma patients. Dr. Chen has been awarded several national grants, including the National Key Research and Development Project and the Natural Science Foundation of China, and has published more than 100 peer-reviewed articles.


Adithya Cattamanchi, MD, MAS
Chief, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine and Professor of Medicine and Public Health @ University of California Irvine
Dr. Adithya Cattamanchi completed his MD, residency training in internal medicine and fellowship training in pulmonary and critical care medicine at the University of California San Francisco. His research focuses on the development and evaluation of novel diagnostics for tuberculosis and implementation of interventions to improve tuberculosis care in high burden countries. In addition to research, he is involved in research training and career development with a focus on implementation science.



Nirupama Putcha, MD, MHS
Associate Professor of Medicine @ Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Dr. Putcha is a pulmonary and critical care physician. She is a member of the Lung Research Conference Planning Committee and provides teaching to medical students and residents at Johns Hopkins. Dr. Putcha obtained her Medical Degree (MD) from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2007. She then completed her residency in Internal Medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennysylvania in 2010. Moreover, Dr. Putcha completed a fellowship in Pulmonary Diseases at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. Putcha hold three board certifications. These include: American Board of Internal Medicine (Critical Care Medicine), American Board of Internal Medicine (Internal Medicine), and American Board of Internal Medicine (Pulmonary Disease). 


Devasahayam Jesudas (DJ) Christopher, DNB, FRCP(Glasgow), FCCP(USA), FAPSR, FICS
 Professor of  Pulmonary Medicine @ Christian Medical College
Research chair, Indian Chest Society
Course Director, Diploma in Allergy & Asthma(DAA)
Dr. DJ Christopher is professor of Pulmonary Medicine at the Christian Medical College, Vellore. His basic medical training was from CMC, Vellore and he has had advanced training in United Kingdom and Australia. He is the Research chair of the Indian Chest society and its past President. He is the past President of Indian Association of Respiratory care & former chair of the RePORT India, a consortium for Indo-US collaborative research. He is the Course director of MECOR-India program & the Diploma in Allergy & Asthma (DAA), program CMC, Vellore. In addition, Dr. Christopher is a Member of the R&D Clinical Characterization and Management Research Expert group, World Health Organisation. 
He is a Fellow of the Indian Chest Society, Royal college of Physicians & Surgeons, Glasgow, American College of Chest Physicians and the Asia Pacific Society of Respirology. His research awards include; the Grand challenges. He is in the Stanford university, top 2% scientists in the World (2021 & 22). He has occupied the Ida Scudder endowed research chair.  
He authored 16 textbook chapters more than 230 publications in various National and International journals. He has delivered over 300 guest lectures. 




Thomas Bice MD, MSc
Clinical instructor of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine @ UNC School of Medicine

Dr. Bice is an Intensivist providing tele-critical care services with the Novant Health system. He is an Adjunct Professor in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. He received his medical degree from Tulane University School of Medicine. He completed his Internal Medicine residency at the Mayo School of Graduate Medical Education in Rochester, MN, and then a fellowship in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at the University of North Carolina, where he also obtained a Master of Science in Clinical Research. His research interests include weaning from mechanical ventilation, outcomes of prolonged mechanical ventilation, implementation science, medical ethics, and critical care outcomes research.


Erlina Burhan, MD, MSc, PhD
Pulmonologist @ Persahabatan Hospital, Jakarta
Faculty Member @ Faculty Medicine Universitas Indonesia
Dr. Erlina Burhan completed her general medical education (dr.) at Andalas University, Padang, in 1989, then continued her education at Sheidelberg University, Germany, where she obtained a Master of Science degree (MSc) In addition, she obtained a pulmonary specialist degree from Universitas Indonesia, Jakarta, in 2004.



Juliana C Ferreira, MD, PhD
Associate Professor @ University of Sao Paulo, Brazil
Juliana Ferreira, MD, is an Associate Professor in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil. She currently serves as Associate Program Director for the Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Fellowship and as a member of the PhD Program in Pulmonology at the University of Sao Paulo. Her research interests include mechanical ventilation, medical education, and global health. She was the first recipient of the Philip Hopewell Prize for Global Respiratory Health Research in 2022.
Dr Ferreira has been involved with MECOR since 2003, first as a student and later as faculty and course leader for Level 3 until 2017, and the Basic level until 2021. She also participated as faculty in MECOR India in 2014, MECOR Indonesia in 2016 and 2018, and MECOR Turkey in 2021. She is currently the Program Director of the MECOR course in Latin America.




Ozge Yilmaz, MD
Department Chair and Professor @ Celal Baya university Faculty of Medicine
Dr. Yilmaz serves as the Department Chair and Professor at Celal Baya University Faculty of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics and Department of Pediatric Allergy, respectively. Contemporaneously, Dr. Yilmaz serves as an associate editor for the Turkish Thoracic Journal. Dr. Yilmaz received her high school degree in 1994 from Izmir American Collegiate Institute and received her medical degree in 2001 from Hacettepe University Medical Faculty. In addition, Dr. Yilmaz gained hands on experience while completing her specialty studies in Pediatrics at Celal Bayar University Faculty of Medicine. Further, Dr. Yilmaz gained specialty training through her fellowship in Pediatric Allergy at Celal Bayar University Faculty of Medicine. Since her educational training, Dr. Yilmaz has been published over 43 times in numerous international journals. These publications highlight the innovative findings Dr. Yilmaz has uncovered due to her extensive research within the field of pulmonary medicine. Dr. Yilmaz is an excellent researcher and has been granted four awards for such skills. These awards include; the Turkish Thoracic Society’s “Young Researcher Award”, the Turkish Thoracic Society’s “International Publication Award”, the Turkish Thoracic Society’s “Experimental Research Assembly Oral Abstract Award”, and the American Thoracic Society’s “MECOR Research Award”.
Zuhal Karakurt, MD
Professor of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine @ University of Health Sciences Hamidiye School Of Medicine, Sureyyapasa Chest Diseases and Thoracic Surgery Teaching and Research Hospital
Dr. Karakurt is currently works as a Professor in the Department of Pulmonary and Critical Care at Istanbul's University of Health Sciences Sureyyapasa. In 1993, she got her medical degree from the University of Marmara, School of Medicine (English), and from 1996 to 2000, she attended Sureyyapasa Chest Diseases and Thoracic Surgery Teaching and Research Hospital of Pulmonology. In 2013, she became an intensivist subspecialist in Turkey. She served as Chief of Sureyyapasa Hospital from September 2014 to August 2022. She is employed full time as an intensivist professor in the Sureyyapaşa critical care unit.
In 2008, she enrolled in MECOR Turkey Level 1 in Izmir, Turkey. In 2011, she attended GLOBAL MECOR in Kenya after graduating from Level 3. She joined MECOR as a Faculty member in 2015 and has been working as a MECOR Co-Coordinator in Turkey with Prof. MD. Ozge Yilmaz since 2016. Her academic evaluation has improved as a result of the MECOR program. She has around 250 research papers, 90 published papers, and 20 chapters in international books. She leads a mentoring program at Sureyyapaşa Center. Both her academic position and her Center Academic status improved after she graduated from MECOR. Her research interests include respiratory failure, sepsis, mechanical ventilation, chronic obstructive lung disease, and the MECOR program, which teaches students how to do research and publish a manuscript. She is also interested in cooking, dancing, and other forms of art.