Health Policy Committee

Chair Stuart C. Sweet, MD, PhD Saint Louis, MO
Vice Chair Sharron J. Crowder, PhD, RN, ATSF INDIANAPOLIS, IN
Committee Member Anna Volerman, MD Chicago, IL
Committee Member Beverley J. Sheares, MD, MS New Haven, CT
Committee Member Donald R. Sullivan, MD, MA, MRes Portland, OR
Committee Member Folashade Afolabi, MD Dallas, TX
Committee Member Helena Schotland, MD, ATSF, FAASM New York, NY
Committee Member Indira Gurubhagavatula, MD, MPH Philadelphia, PA
Committee Member Jerry S. Zifodya, MD, MPH New Orleans, LA
Committee Member Jessica P. Castner, PhD, RN Grand Island, NY
Committee Member Kathleen M. Akgun, MD, MS, ATSF West Haven, CT
Committee Member Laura C. Myers, MD, MPH Oakland, CA
Committee Member - PAR Representative Mary E. McGowan Davis, WV
Committee Member - CCR Representative Nicholas A. Kolaitis, MD, MS San Francisco, CA
Committee Member Sean J. Callahan, MD Salt Lake City, UT
Staff Valerie Adelson Washington, DC

The principal function of the Health Policy Committee is to serve as a resource for the staff of the ATS Government Relations Office and to advise the ATS Executive Committee and Board of Directors on issues of policy importance and priorities for ATS action. The Health Policy Committee strives to achieve health equity, and advocates for improved health and access to care for patients with critical illnesses and pulmonary and sleep-related conditions. It monitors federal healthcare legislation, policies, and regulations and provides federal agencies with expert knowledge to assist their efforts to improve the provision, funding, and coverage of services and support the prevention of respiratory disease. The Committee periodically develops position statements on proposed or existing federal healthcare policies when appropriate. Finally, the Health Care Policy Committee also reviews federal policies regarding pulmonary and critical care workforce needs and provides expert opinions in coordination with the Council of Chapter Representatives.

Benchmarks, 2023-2024:
• Apply equity, diversity, inclusion, lenses to all committee activities, advocacy recommendations and publications in particularly including member participation and impact of potential changes on health equity.
• Monitor key health policy issues, establish ATS positions and priorities, and develop new programs to educate and inform members about the impact of government policy on health care; provide expertise to the ATS Executive Committee to support advocacy response efforts;
• Partner with ATS Publications, Web Editor and appropriate staff to inform ATS membership about health policy issues relevant to our pulmonary, critical care and sleep membership, including Annals ATS and ATS Scholar articles, periodic announcements (such as the Washington Letter), web offerings, webinars or podcasts, and symposia at the International Conference;
• Work with the ATS Government Relations Office to establish advocacy priorities for virtual Hill Day, District Advocacy Activities and future ATS International Conferences held in Washington D.C. (including the 2023 International Conference). Invite speakers from Congressional offices and federal agencies to attend virtual meetings of the committee to discuss matters of relevance and interest to members.
• Collaborate with other ATS Committees/partner organization representatives as appropriate including:
1. International Health Committee (including its Healthcare Policy Working Group) to develop policy priorities regarding advocacy for global lung, sleep health and critical care services with an emphasis on preventive and treatment services in developing and under-developed healthcare settings.
2. Environmental Health Policy and Health Equity and Diversity committees to address systemic inequities such as environmental influences on health outcomes; race-based disparities of care, culturally and linguistically competent health care and the demonstrated impacts of implicit bias and microaggressions throughout health care.
• Work with the ATS Government Relations Office to pursue state advocacy opportunities through collaboration with Council of Chapter Representatives, Public Advisory Roundtable, relevant ATS committees and peer organizations to develop partnerships that can assist with monitoring state level legislative and regulatory activity and contribute expertise to support state level advocacy efforts. Identify specific issues of shared focus to use in developing state advocacy infrastructure
• Collaborate across advocacy related committees through quarterly committee leadership calls to educate the membership about ATS advocacy efforts and monitor ATS advocacy metrics, and foster increased engagement in advocacy among early career ATS members;
• Coordinate bi-annual meetings with the ATS FIRS representative to provide committee with an update on FIRS activities and with the ATS representatives to the American Medical Association House of Delegates to provide the committee with an update on AMA activities and policies.
• Work with International Conference Committee Program Committee and ATS staff to develop symposia workshops and other educational content to be presented at the ATS International Conference, including the Fellows Track Symposium, Center for Career Development, and the Student Scholars Program.
• Provide the ATS Executive Committee with recommendations regarding advocacy efforts in cities where the conference is being held.
• Nominate a diverse slate of candidates for ATS Respiratory Health Awards.
• This committee is responsible for reviewing content it has previously posted to the ATS website to determine if it should be updated and moved to the new site or archived/deleted. Using parameters established by the ATS Digital Content Committee as a guideline, committee members will make necessary modifications to ensure the content is accurate and conforms with established ATS standards. Reviews are to be completed by December 1, 2023.