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We believe in our ability to effect change

The ATS advocates for our members and the patients we serve, on all levels of the U.S. federal government. In 2024, we began working with state and local policy coalitions. From the US Administration, Congress, and the Courts, the Society is actively advocating on behalf of physicians, scientists, and health professionals of the ATS.

Respiratory Research Investments

Investments in research funding are essential to improving patient care, now and in the future. Today’s investments in basic, clinical, and translational research will enable researchers to expand the knowledge base on the detection, prevention, treatment and cure of critical care illness, respiratory disease, and sleep disordered breathing. The ATS is committed to working with Congress, the Administration, as well as other policy makers to maximize the public investment in biomedical research at the National Institutes of Health, Agency for Health Research and Quality, and Veterans Affairs.

Each year, ATS members visit Capitol Hill to serve as the voice for patients and emphasize the importance of research that helps treat their diseases and improve their lives. One area of research for which the ATS advocates is chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder or COPD. In this video, patients/caregivers share their stories and react to the dearth of research dollars dedicated to finding treatment for this disorder that affects 30 million Americans.

Clean Air

According to the World Health Organization, the combined effects of outdoor air pollution and household air pollution are associated with 6.7 million premature deaths annually, and only 1 in 10 persons in the world breathe clean air. Household air pollution exposure leads to noncommunicable diseases including stroke, ischemic heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer.

The Biden Administration EPA has initiated several proposed rules under the authority of the Clean Air Act that, if finalized and appropriately implemented, will reduce air pollution in the US as well as reducing US emissions of greenhouse gases. The ATS has reviewed these important proposed rules and has submitted comments to EPA on the proposals. The ATS has also weighed in on court challenges filed by industry to block weaken or delays EPA’s authority to address air pollution and climate change.

Below are some reason actions ATS has taken to advance clean air and a healthy climate: 

Tobacco Control

The WHO estimates that more than 8 million people die prematurely yearly from tobacco use. Combustible tobacco use is a leading cause of respiratory disease. The ATS is committed to reducing the death and disease caused by tobacco use.

Smoking tobacco continues to be the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. with over 46 million Americans smoking tobacco products. Each day 3,200 youth try smoking and 2,100 youth and young adults transition from occasional users to daily users. The economic toll of smoking costs hundreds of billions of dollars in healthcare costs.

The ATS supports international, federal, state, and local policy that reduces tobacco consumption. Additionally, the ATS is responding to the evolving array of tobacco products, like e-cigarettes (vaping), being offered by the tobacco industry to lure the next generation into tobacco dependency.


Each year, more than 10.6 million new cases of tuberculosis are diagnosed and more than 1.3 million TB-related deaths occur globally. Since the Society was established as the American Sanatorium Association in 1905, The ATS has been the leading physician organization dedicated to the elimination of tuberculosis worldwide.

The key to breaking the chain of transmission and ending TB is to find and treat everyone in the community with TB. This simple approach will not only benefit those people who are found and treated, but also protects others from ever being infected with TB.

Despite TB being curable, progress is moving slowly. Over the last decade, TB deaths fell by only 2 per cent per year. Deaths increased during the Covid-19 pandemic, as experts, equipment and money were diverted elsewhere. Sadly, TB will likely kill more people in low- and middle-income countries in 2023 than Covid-19, making it the world’s biggest infectious disease killer.

In addition to contributions to TB control through research and clinical practice guidelines, the ATS actively advocates for U.S. and international funding to control TB around the world. Learn more about ATS’s TB-related advocacy efforts:

Access to Healthcare

Protecting the health of the nation and the world requires investments in a strong public health system. Access to care is part of this investment. The Affordable Care Act is one instrument bringing measurable improvements to the health of the American public, including expanding health insurance to over 40 million previously uninsured citizens.

In addition, our public health system must track disease trends, detect patterns of disease, react in times of public health crisis, and anticipate and respond to emerging threats. The ATS advocates in Washington D.C. to secure appropriate funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, and other institutions that protect public health.

Coding & Billing

The ATS Advocacy staff in Washington, DC monitors, summarizes key information on coding, billing, documentation and regulation policy changes that are relevant to clinicians in respiratory, critical care and sleep medicine.