Skip to content


American Thoracic Society Receives $400,000 from A. Sonia Buist - Highest Lifetime Donor in ATS History

Gift by Oregon physician will support a new program to enhance leadership in African women.

NEW YORK, NY – May 01, 2024 – A. Sonia Buist, MD, a past president of the American Thoracic Society and an advocate for global public health policy and respiratory health, has donated $400,000 to the Society, making her the ATS’s highest lifetime donor in its history. Her gift will support the ATS/MECOR Women’s Leadership Program, a new visionary program to enhance leadership capabilities in African women.

In 1994, Dr. Buist founded the Methods in Epidemiologic, Clinical, and Operations Research (MECOR) program to address the limited opportunities for training in pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine in low—and middle-income countries.

Today, 30 years later, MECOR’s impact extends globally and boasts more than 2500 graduates.

“We are truly grateful to Dr. Buist,” said ATS President M. Patricia Rivera. “She is a visionary and inspiration to many. Now, with this historic gift, she has laid the groundwork for countless female scientists in Africa to realize their full potential as leaders in respiratory medicine.”

“Beyond building research capacity in Africa, Sonia is championing the overall development of African scientists,” said Obianuju Ozoh, MBBS, MSc, ATSF, of the ATS African Interest Group.

Dr. Buist will be formally recognized at the ATS 2024 International Conference beginning May 17 in San Diego.

“We hope that Dr. Buist’s donation will inspire additional support for other ATS initiatives to improve lung health worldwide,” added Dr. Rivera.

Consider making a gift to support the ATS MECOR program.