University of Vermont

College of Medicine

Vermont Medicine Magazine

Parsons Receives American Thoracic Society Distinguished Achievement Award

Polly Parsons, M.D.
Professor and Chair of Medicine Polly Parsons, M.D. (Photo by Raj Chawla, UVM Medical Photography)

The American Thoracic Society (ATS) recently presented the 2013 Distinguished Achievement Award to Polly Parsons, M.D., E.L. Amidon Professor and Chair of Medicine at the University of Vermont, at the organization’s annual meeting, held May 19 to 21, 2013, in Philadelphia, Pa.

The award is given to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to fighting respiratory disease through research, education, patient care, or advocacy. Up to two awards may be given each year.

Parsons earned her A.B. from Harvard and her M.D. from the University of Arizona. She completed a residency in internal medicine and a pulmonary medicine fellowship at the University of Colorado where she joined the faculty in 1985, rising to full professor, before joining UVM in 2000 as director of pulmonary and critical care medicine, and chief of critical care services. In 2006, she was appointed the chair of medicine.

The recipient of several grants from the National Institutes of Health, Parsons has long-standing interests in research, education, and patient care. She has more than 140 publications and has served on research review and advisory committees including the Scientific Council of the Francis Families Foundation, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) Clinical Trials Review Committee, and the Federal Drug Administration Pulmonary and Allergy Drug Advisory Committee. Currently she is a member of the NHLBI Scientific Advisory Council and serves on the editorial boards of Chest and the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Parsons’ interest in education led to her becoming the president of the Association of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Program Directors, chair of the education committee for the Association of the Professors of Medicine, and a member of the American Board of Internal Medicine Critical Care Medicine and the General Internal Medicine Test and Policy Committees. She is currently the chair of the Accreditation Committee for the Alliance of Academic Internal Medicine.

Since joining the ATS, Parsons has been active in the organization and was honored in 2006 with the Elizabeth A. Rich, M.D. Award. Her ATS service has included membership on Critical Care Assembly committees and she has chaired the ATS Training Committee, the Multi-society Task Force on Pulmonary Medicine and Critical Care Competencies and the Multi-society National Task Force to Develop a Critical Care Research Agenda. She is a currently a member of the Membership in Transition and Training and the Finance Committees.

Founded in 1905, the American Thoracic Society is an international society with more than 15,000 members. The ATS is the world’s leading medical association dedicated to advancing our clinical and scientific understanding of pulmonary diseases, critical illnesses and sleep-related breathing disorders.