Patricia Rivera, MD, ATSF, professor of medicine in the division of pulmonary and critical care medicine, has been elected the secretary-treasurer of the American Thoracic Society (ATS) and will serve as president of the organization in 2023.


“This a banner day for the division and the UNC School of Medicine,” said Shannon Carson, MD, professor of medicine and chief of the division. “The ATS is working to improve health for people with pulmonary disease and critical illnesses, such as COPD, lung cancer, asthma and acute respiratory distress. And now with a devastating global pandemic driving critical illness in all continents, the role of this organization is more important than ever. We will be well represented during an incredibly important time.”

Rivera joined the UNC faculty in 1995 and co-founded the first Multidisciplinary Thoracic Oncology Program in the country, a premier program that became the model for multidisciplinary care and defined the vital role pulmonologists play in the care of patients with thoracic malignancies. Most recently, she founded the Multidisciplinary Lung Cancer Screening Program at UNC and continues to direct both programs.Additionally, her work on the international stage with lung malignancies has been highly beneficial over the years.

“In our increasingly complex health care environment, there are many driving forces challenging our vocation, and I will work to identify gaps in underrepresented areas that may benefit from additional support and resources, and to build programs to address these gaps,” said Rivera. “I consider mentoring the future leaders in our field, and of the ATS, to be a principal responsibility, and I will promote inclusion and diversity.”

Rivera is dedicated to advancing research, education, and advocacy in order to prevent and improve respiratory diseases on an international scale. She has received numerous awards at UNC and national societies, and is particularly passionate about developing the next generation of leaders while increasing the representation of women and underrepresented minorities.

Learn more at ATS.