It’s hard to know how to describe 2020. The COVID pandemic unleashed a worldwide health crisis that impacted our profession in ways few of us could have previously imagined. And yet, we answered the call. We treated our patients even as we battled physical and emotional exhaustion. We problem-solved, pivoted, and shared experiences as we learned how to deal with a new disease. And while we experienced heartache and loss, we can be proud of our profession, our colleagues, and this organization. Despite everything that was going on around us, we positively impacted chest medicine and world health. We invite you to click the “Impact” and “Stories” links to see highlights of what we achieved together. 

As we move through 2021, our efforts remain focused on our strategic plan and four key areas: people, education, products, and growth. Led by current President Steven Q. Simpson, MD, FCCP, we will concentrate on:

  • People—uncovering and overcoming implicit biases within CHEST 
  • Education— advancing a learning strategy that meets the multifaceted needs of members in their journey of lifelong learning  
  • Products—disseminating clinical resources as we learn more about COVID and other diseases 
  • Growth—increasing our impact as the global leader in advancing best patient outcomes 

Thank you for your contributions and commitment to helping us achieve these important goals. We’re proud to belong to this CHEST community with each of you.

Stephanie M. Levine, MD, FCCP
2020 CHEST President

Robert Musacchio, PhD





Harnessing Technology

A robust technological presence and plan is essential to our long-term growth. CHEST is investing in and developing important digital mechanisms designed to improve engagement, access, and learning. 

On the digital learning side, the CHEST Player Hub debuted at CHEST 2020 and opened up to the full community in February 2021. Game-based learning raises the level of user engagement and knowledge acquired is retained at a higher rate than other methods of learning. The player hub features 10 games using different formats, including match-three, investigation, and role-playing. Games are designed for both clinician and patient use.

Beta testing is beginning for our new immersive experiential learning effort that utilizes virtual reality technology to enable remote learners and live instructors to interact in true-to-life intubation scenarios. While these elements don’t replace our onsite educational programs, they do represent valuable ways of enhancing and expanding our learning opportunities to serve our members’ needs.

The chestnet.org website began its digital transformation with the goal of personalizing the user experience and improving product delivery. This multiphase project underwent the design and navigation phases and is now moving into the content phase.  

Strides in Policy and Advocacy

In April 2020, CHEST formally returned to the policy and advocacy arena, diving full force into the role by acquiring the National Association for Medical Direction of Respiratory Care (NAMDRC) and executing an external Technical Expert Panel (TEP) on noninvasive ventilation (NIV).

Under the guidance of the new Health Policy and Advocacy Committee (HPAC), comprised of members from the Board of Regents, Foundation Board of Trustees, and former NAMDRC leadership, our advocacy efforts benefit from the depth of experience and expertise on the committee from across the field of pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine.

“We, the clinicians, are the ones who most clearly see our patients’ needs and are in the best place to bring our voices together to advocate for them. Educating legislators and regulators about what we see in our practices—including telehealth, oxygen access, home ventilation, and smoking and vaping issues—contributes to our ability to provide the best care we can,” says Neil Freedman, MD, FCCP, Chair of HPAC.

In less than a year, CHEST joined forces with other partners opposing proposed reimbursement cuts to critical care providers and other critical services, supporting a bill to ease barriers to oxygen access, urging action on a national plan addressing distribution of personal protective equipment and allocation of resources, and asking for the prohibition of menthol as a characterizing flavor in cigarettes, among other actions.

The sobering reality of the COVID-19 era has only highlighted the importance of public policy and advocacy. We are committed to giving you the support needed as we work together to gain ground in this space.



Together We Rise

CHEST provided several avenues of support throughout the pandemic.

“For example, I had a very sick pregnant woman with COVID-19 on my team. I contacted two physicians who specialize in critical care during pregnancy - Drs. Stephen Lapinsky and Tim Crozier, whom I met through the CHEST Women’s Health Network. They were an amazing resource of information and support.”

Dr. Caroline D’ Ambrosio, M.D.

Out of the Darkest Hour

“We are healers at our core and we want to help people, but I think our exhaustion was sometimes heightened by a need to advocate for science in a world of misinformation in our dwindling free time.”

Dr. Gretchen Winter, M.D.


Struggles and Strengths

“It was so hard having countless discussions about end-of-life decisions like whether to get intubated or not, while a terrified patient was alone without his/her family in the room. This was by far the most challenging thing to deal with.”

Dr. Stephen Doyle, D.O.

Remembering one of our own

Heather Brooke Morgan Dethloff of Hainesville, Illinois passed away on September 15, 2020 at the age of 40 at her home surrounded by family. She is survived by her loving husband of 16 years, Brad Dethloff and many family, friends and colleagues.


A Patient-First Focus

The work of the CHEST Foundation has never been so vital. We improved patient access to information and resources that empower and improve lives. Whether online through the redesigned website or personal connections with the listening tour, the patients’ needs were front and center.

In 2020, the foundation awarded $1,025,000 in clinical research and community service grants. The applications came from around the world—Uganda, Brazil, Ethiopia, Canada, Italy, and the United Kingdom. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we created a community-based grant awarding $60,000 to patient service groups that provide aid to those living with chronic lung disease.

We were also able to award $120,000 in grant funding to provide immediate access to PPE, cleaning supplies, and basic care needs for at-risk individuals living with lung diseases with support from and in partnership with the Erin Popovich Endowment and the Feldman Family Foundation. Partnering with the American Mask Rally, the foundation provided 50,000 pieces of PPE to hospitals and frontline and essential workers.   

Empowerment looked like patient-focused guides, instructional videos, PSAs, and infographics designed to give patients and their caregivers the tools they need to make the best decisions possible. Education materials for over 80 disease states are available for free in print, online, and mobile formats.

Listening and Learning

In an effort to better understand the health disparities among communities in America and to be able to better address issues related to lung health care specifically, CHEST and the Erin Popovich Endowment sent a team of lay and clinical leaders to four different communities last fall. Over the course of September to November, teams travelled to Jackson, Mississippi; Chicago, Illinois; New York, New York; and South Texas (primarily the San Antonio area), focusing on marginalized communities, especially those of color and lower socioeconomic status.

This “listening tour” aimed to get beyond second-hand reporting and engage directly with both patients and health care providers to learn about the challenges they face related to lung disease prevention and pulmonary care and treatment. The teams were able to gather meaningful data and document a collection of oral histories that will serve long-term efforts to improve public policy and better care for vibrant communities that have often been overlooked and underserved.




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