Incoming president looks forward to strengthening, expanding CHEST family

Doreen J. Addrizzo-Harris, MD, FCCP
Doreen J. Addrizzo-Harris, MD, FCCP

Pulmonary and critical care clinicians played key roles during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic and in the years that have followed. As 2023 approaches and Doreen J. Addrizzo-Harris, MD, FCCP, prepares to assume the CHEST presidency, she pledges to help CHEST members build off those experiences and emerge even stronger, individually and collectively.

“I’ve watched our last three presidents lead by great example…with innovation and nimbleness, in a time when we were so isolated from each other and so tired from the long hours that we worked each day,” Dr. Addrizzo-Harris said during the CHEST 2022 Opening Session on Sunday, October 16. “They, along with the Board of Regents, the CEO, and our phenomenal staff, were able to keep CHEST amazingly alive and vibrant and more connected than ever. They are truly inspiring. For 2023, I hope to take this incredible energy to the next level.”

In March 2020, she saw firsthand how CHEST could be a major force in health care, organizing dozens of volunteer physicians to help meet the pandemic care burden in New York City, where she was in charge of ICU staffing at NYU Langone Health’s Bellevue Hospital Center.

“I knew all too quickly that we wouldn’t have enough intensivists,” said Dr. Addrizzo-Harris, who is also a professor at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine. “It was a quick call very late one night, probably around 1 am, that I made to CHEST CEO, Bob Musacchio, that helped materialize a monumental effort…Many of these physicians were CHEST members themselves. They were fearless and unselfish, and they came to help us in our time of need.”

That experience, and others over the years, have reinforced the idea of CHEST members as family. That family has included numerous coworkers and mentors, as well as Dr. Addrizzo-Harris’ own father, a pulmonologist, and her husband, a thoracic surgeon.

“If you know me, there’s nothing more important than family,” she said. “My family motto, taught to me when I was growing up by my dad, was ‘one for all, and all for one.’ And this motto holds true here at CHEST.”

As CHEST President, Dr. Addrizzo-Harris plans to expand that family by strengthening collaboration and cooperation with the many sister societies in the US. In addition, she will advance ongoing international outreach initiatives launched by current CHEST President, David Schulman, MD, MPH, FCCP.

In the coming year, members will also see a renewed focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion.

“We will continue to strive to make diversity seamless and a part of everything we do,” Dr. Addrizzo-Harris promised. This includes strengthening the work done by CHEST through the CHEST Foundation to improve patient care, foster greater representation in the field, and enhance clinician education.

“Whether it’s through supporting our clinical research grants, expanding patient education and advocacy, or programs like the First 5 Minutes™ and the Harold Amos scholarship program, we want to train our leaders for the future.”

CHEST has always focused on helping members throughout the trajectory of their careers, and helping members takes on even greater importance in the aftermath of the pandemic. Dr. Addrizzo-Harris encouraged all members to reach out to CHEST leaders to get involved and stay engaged during her term.

“As we emerge from this public health emergency, we need to figure out how to meet the changing needs of our communities,” Dr. Addrizzo-Harris said. “I want CHEST to represent the field, our teams, and our patients’ interests. I want CHEST to bring an expanding membership the same sense of support, joy, and challenge that it has brought to me.”