American College of Chest Physicians: On the front lines of pulmonary and critical care in China

GLENVIEW, Ill., May 14, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — China’s air pollution problem has made headlines for more than a decade, and young people wearing face masks on high pollution days crowd the homepages of news outlets on a regular basis. Much focus has been centered on regulation and prevention measures aimed at combating air quality issues, but little attention has been paid to the impact these issues have had on the health of the 1.357 billion people living in China or the planning and infrastructure requirements needed to provide that care. The World Health Organization reports that chronic respiratory diseases are the second leading cause of death in China. Rates of childhood asthma have also grown, and research has found that parents have little understanding or knowledge of asthma, which directly impacts the care those with asthma may receive. Chinese officials estimate that air pollution claims up to 500,000 lives each year.

The American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST) has been working on the ground for nearly five years in China to prepare physicians in the first-ever government-recognized medical subspecialty in China in the area of pulmonary and critical care medicine—an area where many Chinese will require care due to the pollution and air quality issues. CHEST has forged formal partnerships with both the Chinese Thoracic Society and the Chinese Association of Chest Physicians to advance these efforts. 
 CHEST has focused on training and education and supporting those providing direct patient care in China by doing the following:
– CHEST worked with government officials in China to designate 12 clinician-training sites for formal pulmonary and critical care subspecialty training. The first class of graduates will complete training in late 2016. Last fall, CHEST hosted Chinese officials and program training directors from the China-CHEST Pulmonary Critical Care Medicine program at CHEST 2015 in Montréal, and a similar group plans to attend the CHEST 2016 Annual Meeting in Los Angeles. 
– CHEST recently held CHEST World Congress 2016 in Shanghai, drawing nearly 2,000 attendees practicing chest medicine.
– Last year, CHEST partnered to present the first Sino-American Respiratory Medicine Forum on COPD in Beijing for several hundred clinicians practicing chest medicine in China. COPD is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in China with tobacco smoking, biomass fuel use and genetic susceptibility being the major risk factors. COPD poses a high economic burden with the total expenditure per patient costing up to 40 percent of an average family income in China. (Source: Journal of Thoracic Disease)
The CHEST Foundation, the philanthropic arm of CHEST, has awarded humanitarian grants to projects focused on training clinicians in pulmonary and critical care medicine, for those practicing in remote villages in China. 
“We’re working to provide essential tools to both clinicians working in major hospitals in Beijing and those on the front lines practicing in remote clinics in rural China,” said Barbara Phillips, MD, MPH, FCCP, CHEST President. “Our commitment to providing education, training and partnership to improve the quality of life and quality of care in China is unwavering.”
About the American College of Chest Physicians
The American College of Chest Physicians is the global leader in advancing best patient outcomes through innovative chest medicine education, clinical research and team-based care. Its mission is to champion the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of chest diseases through education, communication and research. It serves as an essential connection to clinical knowledge and resources for its 18,700 members from around the world who provide patient care in pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine. For information about the American College of Chest Physicians and the journal CHEST, visit

CONTACT: Andrea Rodriguez,