BALTIMORE – Today, Dr. Douglas B. Kirsch became the 33rd president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) board of directors. Kirsch assumed the role during SLEEP 2018, the 32nd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC (APSS), which is a joint venture of the AASM and the Sleep Research Society (SRS). He will serve a one-year term.
Kirsch will lead the 10,000 physicians, scientists and allied health professionals who are members of the AASM in an effort to improve access to high quality care for patients who have a sleep disease. The AASM is the leading professional society in the medical subspecialty of sleep medicine.
“Diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders by qualified physicians and accredited sleep centers directly improve health and quality of life for patients, and I believe we can prove that sleep medicine also saves lives and reduces health care costs,” said Kirsch. “I look forward to working with AASM members as we develop an enhanced view of the benefits of sleep medicine and embolden our approach to patient-centric, value-based care.”
Kirsch, who is board-certified in neurology and sleep medicine, is the medical director of sleep medicine and sleep laboratories for Sleep Medicine at Atrium Health in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he sets guidelines and strategy for more than 40 practicing sleep clinicians within the health system and more than 13,000 home sleep apnea and polysomnography tests across two states. He is also an associate professor at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine.
Previously, Kirsch served as a faculty member at University of Michigan, an instructor at Harvard Medical School, associate director of the Brigham and Women’s Sleep Medicine fellowship program and assistant director of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Sleep Disorders Service. He also was the president of the Massachusetts Sleep Society (2012-2014). Kirsch graduated from the University of Massachusetts Medical School in 1999.
Kirsch, who has been a member of the AASM since 2004, has participated on several AASM committees and served as chair of both the Maintenance of Certification Committee and the Program Committee for the SLEEP annual meeting.
As Kirsch prepares for his term, the AASM is contracting with an international patient-centered research company to develop and validate a patient-reported outcome monitoring tool specifically designed to monitor obstructive sleep apnea symptom progression with treatment.
“This assessment tool will enhance physicians’ ability to accurately monitor patients’ sleep apnea symptoms, track progression of the disease and assess the impact of treatment,” said Kirsch. “Through this process, we aim to help sleep specialists demonstrate to health care systems and payers the importance and value of treating sleep apnea.”
Kirsch regularly speaks at a variety of regional and national meetings about sleep medicine, including the topics of home sleep apnea tests and consumer sleep technology. He recently participated in a workshop, “Study Design Considerations for Devices Including Digital Health Technologies for Sleep Disordered Breathing (SDB) in Adults,” on the campus of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in Silver Spring, Maryland, during which he gave the presentation, “Discussion of Current SDB Digital Health Technologies and Future Trends.”
Kirsch also represented the AASM in a recent visit on Capitol Hill, during which he and other AASM leaders visited the offices of more than 30 U.S. senators and representatives to advocate for the urgent need for a sleep caucus and to discuss Stark Law reform, the dangers of drowsy driving, research funding and the importance of sleep for active duty military personnel and veterans.
To arrange an interview with Dr. Kirsch, or for more information about the AASM (www.aasmnet.org), please contact Matt Kasik at 312-565-4611 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the American Academy of Sleep Medicine
Established in 1975, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) improves sleep health and promotes high quality, patient-centered care through advocacy, education, strategic research, and practice standards. The AASM has a combined membership of 10,000 accredited member sleep centers and individual members, including physicians, scientists and other health care professionals. For more information about sleep and sleep disorders, including a directory of AASM-accredited member sleep centers, visit the Sleep Education website.