PHILADELPHIA — As the multiple disciplines that make up pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine gather here, the 2013 American Thoracic Society (ATS) International Conference will have a “big tent” atmosphere devoted to the needs of both clinical medicine and basic science.

With sessions and topics touching every discipline in the field, the meeting will blend new and novel educational opportunities with traditionally high-demand programs. As an example, the ATS conference will offer sessions to address changes in the Maintenance of Certification (MOC) process required by the American Board of Internal Medicine.

“Members now have to complete MOC every 5 years,” said conference chair David Au, MD, of the University of Washington in Seattle. “This is a big change for us, and we have been planning for it for several years. ATS members can obtain 30 MOC points by attending the meeting and completing a pretest and posttest. During the pretest, participants will be directed toward sessions that contain content applicable to the posttest.”

ATS 2013 will also offer American Board of Pediatric MOC credits for pediatric specialists.

Additionally, ATS has partnered with National Jewish Health to certify selected sessions for Nursing Continuing Education Contact Hours.

In an attempt to build on the existing content base of the conference, the 2013 meeting will introduce the Science Core to attendees. The inaugural Science Core focuses on lung tissue injury and repair, with special emphasis on mechanobiology, extracellular matrix, and methods to study injury and repair mechanisms.

According to the ATS the core provides a “thematically linked set of symposia and abstract-based sessions that are coordinated on consecutive days … and will also feature internationally known scientists who will also be able to interact with attendees at abstract-based sessions and other venues during the meeting.

“We have always provided great science at the conference, but the Science Core will bring more coordination to the programming and, in the process, further improve the quality of the conference,” said Au.

One of the novel sessions will bring together editors of the New England Journal of Medicine and JAMA to moderate a session on key articles of interest to attendees that have been published recently. The discussion will include some of the late-breaking science that will be reported simultaneously at the ATS conference and published in one of the journals.

“The two sessions, one on Monday and the other on Tuesday, will include time for attendees to ask questions of the editors and authors of published papers,” said Au. “The editors will have an opportunity to comment on how and why they choose certain articles out of the thousands of submissions they receive each year.”

Evolution of the ATS program extends to the exhibit hall. For the first time, attendees involved or interested in basic science will have their own section of the exhibit hall, where they can learn more about products and services designed to aid research.

The conference will offer programming that allows attendees to “sample” educational and research topics, focus intensely on one or a select few topics, or accomplish both.

The ATS has identified “high-impact symposia” that can help attendees meet their educational goals, including:

  • Prevention and early treatment of acute lung injury
  • History, current status, and future directions in alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency
  • Developmental origins of asthma and allergies
  • The role of autophagy in lung disease
  • Obesity in critical illness
  • Challenges of hospital readmission
  • Reasons for failures in sepsis therapeutics and clinical trials
  • Implementation of COPD guidelines in clinical practice
  • Conscientious objections in the ICU

Late-breaking science traditionally attracts large crowds. Late-breaking data reported this year include results from several trials of cardiovascular interventions in obstructive sleep apnea.

Source: MedPage Today.