Lung diseases cause an estimated 380,000 deaths annually and account for substantial morbidity in Americans. With the recent advances in genomics and DNA sequencing technologies, and targeted personalized medicine;tremendous progress has been made, however, there are numerous health disparities that need to be urgently addressed. For instance, disproportionately higher number of African Americans and Hispanics are likely to be exposed to air pollutants compared to Caucasians that is one of the major factors that contribute to the health disparities seen in asthma and COPD. African Americans are three times more likely to succumb to asthma compared to Caucasians. Despite the lower smoking rates, the incidence, the severity and mortality related to lung cancer are much higher in African Americans. Caucasians followed by Native Americans have the highest death rate due to Cystic Fibrosis (CF) compared to any other race/ethnic back grounds. We, therefore, propose to bring to the forefront the latest developments in translational approaches to various lung diseases, and highlight the existing health disparities with the idea of finding appropriate solutions. The proposed conference will focus on five major thematic areas: 1. Pulmonary Hypertension (including PH associated with sickle cell disease);2. Airway Diseases (Asthma and COPD);3. Acute Lung Injury;4. Interstitial lung diseases (idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, sarcoidosis, systemic lupus erythematosus);and 5. Lung Cancer. We do realize that there are additional pressing areas in lung diseases, especially infectious diseases such as influenza, pneumonia and TB;however, we plan to address these topics in future conferences. We firmly believe that such focused conferences will foster inter-disciplinary collaborations, give the necessary exposure and encouragement to young scientists, and provide continued medical education.
Despite several decades of IOM reports detailing the increasing issue of health disparities in vulnerable populations, there has been no significant improvement in this area especially in cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases;and health disparities are responsible for the majority of deaths. Both acute and chronic debilitating lung diseases take tremendous toll on productivity and are a major drain on health care resources. This conference will increase awareness about lung health disparities among academic trainees and faculty and serve to facilitate more academic pursuits in this critical area, especially for ou under-represented minority trainees.