I was reminded by Angela last week that this would be my “last CTS President’s message”…. as I prepare to transition to CTS immediate past president, it is truly hard to believe how quickly the year 2021 has passed. It was certainly a busy year, which is probably why it passed in the blink of an eye. Despite the environment that surrounded us, CTS has made many significant steps made as we have continued to work to meet the educational needs of our members and ensure the financial health of our organization. The pandemic has provided unique opportunities to innovate and improve. Most importantly, as we continued to ramp up the momentum of our online webinars with a revised pricing structure more favorable to CTS and free to members, we were able to consolidate to a single in-person annual conference, launch a new CTS Job Board, outreach in revised membership tiers, and focus on website redesign.
California, the former epicenter of the US pandemic, now has the lowest infection rate among all states as of October 22, 2021 thanks to the unwavering stand on masking, testing, and social distancing policies in place and emphasis on an evidence-based approach to vaccination wherever possible. As a CTS community, we have certainly done our part to promote vaccinations; more than 70% of California has now received at least one dose of the vaccine, more than any other state. There is hope of controlling the epidemic, and the CTS Board has unanimously voted for the 2021 CTS Annual Conference to be held in-person Friday March 11, 2022 through Sunday March 13, 2022 at the Portola Hotel and Spa, Monterey, CA with appropriate COVID restrictions in place. We are looking forward to seeing you there!
On behalf of CTS, I want to congratulate the entire CTS community for doing their part as front liners during the fourth and current COVID-19 Delta surge. While we have distinguished ourselves as the state with the lowest coronavirus in the USA, that wasn’t quite true for the Central Valley which got hit the hardest, resulting in the region’s most populous city’s medical center - UCSF-Fresno —going into disaster mode in early September. Although now at a very high plateau, the region seems to be past its peak. The rest of the state seems to have also plateaued if not down trending.
COVID-19 is unfortunately surging again; with the number of cases in some areas back up to previous peak numbers while uncertainty looms regarding variants, ef- fectiveness of the current vaccines and anti-COVID therapeutics. Fortunately, we are better prepared this time with surge ICU’s and other resources including the availability of various monoclonal antibodies. Most of us at CTS, like many of you, are on the front line working long hours and providing essential care to our pa- tients. I am extremely proud to be a part of the CTS thoracic community. I want to express a message of solidarity to our entire group for doing what you do -- thank you.
The biggest announcement this month is the retirement of CTS Executive Director, Phil Porte. Phil and his entire team at GRQ have done a tremendous job over the past several years furthering organizational growth and strength. With 7 institutional members and over 700 individual members, CTS is well positioned to continue to meet its mission to improve California lung health and, through advocacy and education, advance the science and practice of pulmonary and critical care medicine.
On behalf of the CTS Executive Committee, Michelle Cao, George Su, Tisha Wang, Nicholas Kolaitis and Ni-Cheng Liang, I want to thank all our members for your continued support of CTS. We were very excited to be able to connect with so many of you on our virtual platform despite the COVID limitations during the past year. I also want to thank Dr. Devereaux for putting together the excellent COVID State of the ICU zoom series dur- ing our winter surge.
CTS is 80 years old this year. As one of the oldest and largest ATS chapters, we are proud of our record of innovation, education and professional development not just within ATS but the PCCM/S community in Cali- fornia and the nation.
"From the farmers who grow them to the tables that serve them, turkey is part of our nation's heritage. We are proud to be the advocate for Ameri- ca's turkey industry for over 75 years." – National Turkey Federation
CTS Position Statement on the November 3rd Election: October 2020 Ordinarily, the 2020 elections would have stood out simply due to the pivotal decisions that we face as individuals and healthcare professionals as we look towards the policies and politicians that will represent us and shape our lives, communities, and practices. The mere existence of the Afforda- ble Care Act, with hotly debated topics including reimbursement for healthcare providers, the tax- payer and individual cost and breadth of health insurance coverage, and the ever increasing bur- den of EMR would have been ample cause for potent discussions involving clinicians, patients and politicians. Statewide, discussions about healthcare benefits for gig economy workers, tighter regu- lations on dialysis centers, and taxes on business property also result in vigorous debates pertinent to our professional expertise. From a social policy standpoint, how the pillars of institutional racism are carried forward, or systematically dismantled, by the people we elect and measures we support directly affects the healthcare disparities that we see in our practices every day. (1)
This past month, CTS accomplished something that many would consider challenging. While it may not be equivalent to going to the moon, there were moments before and during CTS’s first virtual 2020 Annual Southern California Conference that made it feel like we were voyaging to the moon.