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Assembly on Clinical Problems Annual Mentoring Award

  Meet the 2022 Winner: Ken M. Kunisaki, MD, MSCR, ATSF


Dr. Ken Kunisaki is a Pulmonologist at the Minneapolis VA Health Care System, Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Minnesota, and an ATS Fellow.
Dr. Kunisaki grew up across the Bay from where we are today (Hercules, California!), did his undergraduate work at UC Davis, medical school at The Ohio State University, and went to the University of Minnesota for residency in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics, a fellowship in Adult Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, and an MS degree in Clinical Research.
His academic research work is focused on clinical trials and observational studies in COPD, and he has a particular interest in HIV-associated lung and sleep health. When he’s not at work, you might find him on the mountain bike trails or planning his next rock-climbing trip.


This award is given in recognition of outstanding contributions to mentoring, training, and guidance of junior pulmonary/critical care medicine individuals and/or colleagues in research, or clinical care. 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, with the rank of Associate Professor or Professor (or equivalent).
    • be recognized as having the characteristics of a successful mentor (e.g., support, altruism, availability, professionalism).
    • demonstrate a track record of successful mentorship as documented by individual mentee accomplishments, impact on mentee career development, and mentee career advancement to independence in clinical medicine, teaching, or administration.
  • 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 goal.
  • Application elements:
  • Nominee's curriculum vitae must be included
  • Provide a table listing current and past mentees including mentees’ current employment/position, number of co-publications, grant funding, educational achievement, and/or other relevant metrics
  • Provide a short letter (three-page maximum) in support of your nominee addressing each of the above criteria. 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 up to three letters of support (each letter three-page maximum) from current/prior mentees or colleagues describing their experiences with regard to the nominee’s mentoring accomplishments
  • 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 mentor
    • Extent and impact of nominee contribution to mentorship 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.


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