During the CHEST 2020 Closing Session on Wednesday, October 21, outgoing CHEST President Stephanie Levine, MD, FCCP, thanked CHEST leadership, staff, and members for their support of CHEST and dedication to patient care during what has been a uniquely challenging year and officially passed the mantle of the presidency to Steven Q. Simpson, MD, FCCP.
In his first address to members as CHEST president, Dr. Simpson likewise recognized the challenges health-care professionals around the world continue to face and the critical role CHEST members continue to play on the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s an honor for me to address you—the doctors, APPs, respiratory therapists, and nurses—who are providing the lion’s share of support for patients with severe and critical COVID-19,” Dr. Simpson said. “And it’s an honor for me to follow in the footsteps of Stephanie Levine, who’s led our organization calmly during the pandemic with compassion and thoughtful wisdom. I don’t have enough words to express what a great job she’s done.”
As the pandemic continues, Dr. Simpson urged members to not only continue to provide the best care possible for their patients, but to also make sure they care for themselves and for each other during these trying times. He reminded members that CHEST’s web-based Wellness Center features tools and wellness resources to help members maintain their personal health and well-being and to maintain the high performance demanded of clinicians in these challenging times.
“That’s something that many of us neglect and we shouldn’t—we forget to take care of ourselves, and we especially forget to do it in trying times like pandemics,” he said. “Please look after yourself, because without you, your patients are lost. You are the ones who are caring for the sickest COVID[-19] patients, and for that matter, the sickest patients of all types. They need you and your family needs you.”
As CHEST and its members continue to be drivers of optimal pulmonary and critical care medicine, Dr. Simpson also commented on the important role we all have to play as drivers of positive social change.
“Because CHEST is a part of our societal fabric, our own structure and function are not immune to implicit biases. It is true that CHEST has had an African American president. It is also true that CHEST has had an Indian woman president. This does not, however, give us the right to pat ourselves on the back for being nonracist and nonsexist,” he said. “It’s important for us to dig deeper as an organization and to never rest on issues of equality and inclusion. I accept the responsibility of furthering the CHEST mission to not just be nonracist, but to be antiracist. This is quite possibly my top priority for our organization.”
Dr. Simpson is professor of medicine in the division of pulmonary and critical care medicine at the University of Kansas. He is also senior advisor to the Solving Sepsis initiative of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
He has authored more than 180 scientific articles, book chapters, editorials, abstracts, and electronic media publications. He was awarded the 2009 Eli Lilly Distinguished Scholar in Critical Care Medicine Award of the American College of Chest Physicians and the 2013 Roger C. Bone Memorial Lecture in Critical Care Medicine, which recognizes career contributions to the field. Dr. Simpson has also been recognized as a Distinguished CHEST Educator every year from 2017 to 2020.
The Closing Session also included recognition of new FCCP delegates, a tribute to past CHEST President Edward C. Rosenow III, MD, Master FCCP, and concluded with a tribute to health-care professionals who have lost their lives on the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic. The session is available to registered attendees for on-demand viewing on the virtual CHEST 2020 meeting platform through January 18, 2021.