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Assembly on Clinical Problems Annual Educator Award

Meet the 2022 Winner: Bernie Young Sunwoo, MBBS



Dr. Bernie Sunwoo is Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, and the Medical Director of Sleep Medicine at the University of California San Diego. She earned her BSc(Med) MB BS from the University of New South Wales in Australia with First Class Honors. After completing her residency in Australia, she moved to the United States, and completed fellowships in both Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine and Sleep Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania before joining faculty.


Selected to the Department of Medicine Master Clinician Program at UC San Diego, Dr. Sunwoo is passionate about developing as a master clinician with clinical interests in complex and rare lung diseases and sleep disordered breathing including hypoventilation syndromes. Dr. Sunwoo has been repeatedly voted a San Diego County “Top Doctor” by her peers in the San Diego County Medical Association. She has distinguished herself by winning prestigious teaching awards at every academic institution in which she has served as faculty. In addition, Dr. Sunwoo serves as Associate Program Director of the UC San Diego Pulmonary/Critical Care Medicine Fellowship Program and has spearheaded multiple curriculum changes relating to rare and interstitial lung diseases and sleep medicine. She served as the Section Editor of the “Sleep Fragments” section of the Annals of the American Thoracic Society. Dr. Sunwoo also teaches effectively with broader reach through authorship and participation in the ATS International Conference and other meetings, speaking on hypoventilation syndromes, the overlap syndrome and rare lung diseases.


This award is given in recognition of outstanding expertise as a clinician and educator, and a significant contribution to clinical education in pulmonary/critical care medicine. We encourage nomination of diverse nominees, including but not limited to gender, sexual orientation, race/ethnicity, country, area of focus and primary occupation.

Award Presentation:

Awardees will be presented with a framed certificate during the annual CP Membership Meeting at the ATS International Conference, during the Clinical Problems business meeting at which time the Chair of the Clinical Problems Assembly and Planning Committee chair will jointly present the award to the awardee. The awardee will have the opportunity to speak about what this award means to them. Awardees will also be announced on ATS platforms including the website and social media accounts. A letter of recognition and contribution will also be sent to the designated institutional leader.


  • Nominee: Recipient must be a primary member of the Clinical Problems assembly as this award seeks to highlight ATS members with direct and specific contributions to the ATS Clinical Problems Assembly.
    • have been an active clinician and teacher in pulmonary/critical care medicine for at least 10 years
    • spend a significant portion of their time participating in the education of medical trainees at any level (medical students, residents, fellows).
    • have significantly advanced the field of education in pulmonary and critical care medicine by demonstrating significant leadership and/or making contributions to education through activities such as creating curriculum, serving as an educational director, or engaging in educational research.
    • be recognized by their students and peers as an outstanding educator.
  • Nominator: Nominations can be received from all members, but preference will be given to Clinical Problem assembly nominating members. Nominations from outside of the assembly will be accepted as long as the area of work matches the award goals.
  • Application elements:
    • Nominee's curriculum vitae must be included
    • Provide a short nomination letter (three-page maximum) in support of your nominee addressing each of the criteria outlined above. We encourage the nomination letter to specifically discuss contributions by the nominee to the Clinical Problems assembly and how the nominee and/or their work advances diversity, equity and inclusion within the ATS.
    • Provide supporting documentation (three pages maximum) outlining objective evidence of educational excellence. This can be in the form of trainee letters, educational evaluations/comments, curricula development, or other appropriate metrics.
    • Name, title and email address for nominee’s division chief, or other institutional leader who should be notified of this nomination and award, if selected
  • Scoring Metric(s): Applications will be reviewed by the Clinical Problems planning committee, utilizing a scoring scale ranking each of the following metrics on a scale of 1-5, where 5 is the best and 1 is the worst:
    • Nominee expertise as a clinician and educator
    • Extent and impact of nominee contribution to clinical education in pulmonary/critical care medicine
    • Past, present or anticipated future contribution to the ATS Clinical Problems assembly
    • Nominee characteristics, such as DEI contributions
  • Repeat or carry over applications: Nominations that are unselected will be carried over to the following year applicant pool, at the request of the nominator, without updates to the application required. Following a second year of review, a new application will need to be drafted in order for the same nominee to be considered for the same award.


Nominate Here


View Previous Award Recipients

2021- Jeremy Richards, MD, MA

2020 - Maryl Kreider, MD, MSCE

2019 - *No Award Given

2018 - Peter F. Clardy, MD

2017 - John P. Kress, MD

2016 - Lynn T. Tanoue, MD

2015 - Michael A. Hutcheon, FRCP(C), MD

2014 - James R. Jett, MD & David H. Roberts, MD

2013 - Robert M. Kotloff, MD

2012 - Terry P. Clemmer, MD

2011 - John W. Kreit, MD

2010 - Jess Mandel, MD

2009 - James R. Patterson, MD

2008 - Steven E. Weinberger, MD

2007 - Bartolome Celli, MD

2006 - Atul Mehta, MD

2005 - Darryl Y. Sue, MD & Richard M. Schwartzstein, MD

2004 - Richard A. Matthay, MD & John H. Hansen-Flaschen, MD