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Yale-PCCSM Members Honored by American Thoracic Society

May 25, 2022
by Jane E. Dee

Members of Pulmonary, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine (Yale-PCCSM) at Yale School of Medicine (YSM) in the Department of Internal Medicine were honored during the American Thoracic Society (ATS) 2022 International Conference in San Francisco. The awards recognize the contributions of Yale-PCCSM members to the field of lung diseases and include a lifetime achievement award, mid- and early-career awards, and a winning pitch for an innovative medical sensor.

In addition, Naftali Kaminski, MD, chief of Yale-PCCSM, was honored with the Amberson Lectureship, one of the highest awards given by ATS. The Amberson Lecture recognizes a career of major lifetime contributions to respiratory disease. This award also honors exemplary professionalism, collegiality and citizenship through mentorship and leadership in the ATS community. The lecture is given in honor of James Burns Amberson, an international authority on chest disease and tuberculosis. (Please see link to accompanying article below.)

Thoracic Oncology Lifetime Achievement Award

Lynn T. Tanoue, MD, MBA, professor (pulmonary) and Vice Chair for Clinical Affairs for the Department of Internal Medicine, received the ATS Thoracic Oncology Lifetime Achievement Award. The award recognizes an internationally recognized investigator with a record of sustained exemplary achievement who has made the most outstanding scientific contributions in clinical, translational, or laboratory-based research relevant to the field of thoracic oncology.

Tanoue is a clinician, mentor and educator at YSM, a founding member of the multidisciplinary Yale Cancer Center Thoracic Oncology Program, and director of the Yale Lung Screening and Nodule Program. During the pandemic, Tanoue spearheaded the Yale Department of Internal Medicine’s plans for confronting the initial COVID-19 surge in the spring of 2020. She is credited with rapid organization of physicians from all departments within Yale Medicine, YSM’s clinical practice, to meet acute workforce challenges during that challenging and uncertain time to ensure best patient care. Tanoue is also founder and member (violin) of the Yale Medical Symphony Orchestra.

Recognition Award for Scientific Accomplishments

Erica Herzog, MD, PhD, professor (pulmonary) and Associate Dean of Student Research, received the American Thoracic Society (ATS) Recognition Award for Scientific Accomplishments. This annual award recognizes outstanding scientific research contributions in basic or clinical arenas to enhance the understanding, prevention, and treatment of respiratory disease, critical illness, or sleep disorders. It also recognizes exemplary professionalism, collegiality, and citizenship through mentorship and scientific involvement in the ATS community. Awardees are selected based on contributions made throughout their careers or for major contributions at a particular point in their careers. Herzog is one of four recipients to receive the award this year.

This is the third major award Herzog has received from the ATS. Herzog won the Jo Rae Wright Award for Outstanding Science in 2015 and an unrestricted research grant in 2010. “That was actually a really important award for me because it was at a time when I was branching my career into a new direction, looking at neuronally mediated mechanisms of fibrosis,” Herzog said. “The ATS took a chance on that project and provided critical support that led to some really amazing discoveries down the line for which I'm now being honored.”

Herzog directs the Yale Interstitial Lung Disease Center of Excellence and co-directs the Yale Fibrosis Program. Her lab focuses on the relationship between neuronal guidance proteins and aberrant repair and remodeling responses in a variety of fibrosing lung diseases, including Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, scleroderma, and sarcoidosis.

Critical Care Early Career Achievement Award

Lauren Ferrante, MD, MHS, assistant professor (pulmonary), and director of the Operations Core at the Yale Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center, received the 2022 ATS Assembly on Critical Care Early Career Achievement Award. The award is given to an individual who has made the most outstanding scientific contributions in clinical, translational, or laboratory-based research relevant to critical care. This award recognizes individuals who have made these contributions early in their careers.

Ferrante’s research program is centered upon improving the functional outcomes of older ICU patients. She is a strong advocate for integrating geriatrics principles into critical care medicine. She is multi-principal investigator (PI) of the VALIANT study, funded by the National Institute of Aging, that is evaluating long-term outcomes for older adults who have been hospitalized with COVID-19. She is also PI of the PREDICT study, in which she and her colleagues have built a prediction model that identifies ICU survivors at high risk of persistent functional impairment as they’re leaving the hospital.

“I was honored and humbled to receive this award from the ATS Critical Care Assembly, which is my professional “home” in the American Thoracic Society. Being recognized by a community of my colleagues is a great honor and I am very grateful.”

Bear Cage Competition

First year Yale Pulmonary and Critical Care Fellow John Huston, MD, won the Bear Cage Competition (Building Education to Advance Research). Huston pitched his research project called PREDICT: Passive Respiratory Exposure Detection - Investigating COPD Triggers, using a low cost, wearable sensors to detect chemical and viral exposures in patients with lung disease. This “Shark Tank”-style pitch session is for early-career professionals to share their innovative research proposals with ATS members, who then evaluate it for its clinical applicability. Each finalist presents their idea during a 10-minute presentation then receives feedback from the judges and audience. John was the 1st place winner of this year's competition and received a cash award of $10,000 to help support their research and ongoing mentorship from committee members.

Several other trainees also were recognized:

Reginald Brewster – Minority Trainee Development Scholarship Award

Snigdha Jain, MD – Abstract Scholarship

Jennifer Langstengel – ASPIRE Fellowship Award

Christopher Morton, MD – Pediatric Pulmonary Training Directors Association Award

Gail Stanley – Abstract Award

Also at the conference, Jose Gomez Villalobos, MD, MS, presented the clinical year in review, and several members of the section were elected to official roles in the ATS: Charles Dela Cruz, MD, PhD, Chair of the Assembly on Tuberculosis and Pulmonary Infections; Ferrante, Program Chair for the Assembly on Critical Care Medicine; Andrey Zinchuk, MD, MHS, Program Chair for Sleep Medicine.

The Section of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine is one of the eleven sections within YSM’s Department of Internal Medicine. To learn more about Yale-PCCSM, visit PCCSM’s website, or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Submitted by Jane E. Dee on May 25, 2022