Eric J. Olson, MD, became the president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) board of directors on Monday, June 3, 2024, during the AASM annual membership meeting, which took place in Houston as part of the SLEEP 2024 annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies (APSS).

This is an excerpt of the remarks that he presented during the membership meeting.

Remarks by Dr. Eric J. Olson

I am deeply honored and profoundly humbled to be selected by the members as the 39th president of the AASM, a remarkable professional organization. I want to extend my heartfelt gratitude to everyone here today for your commitment to advancing sleep and circadian care and thereby improving the lives of those we serve.

Through many interesting volunteer activities, I now unbelievably have the great privilege to lead this organization that sets the standards for sleep medicine practices, accredits sleep centers, provides comprehensive education and training for all members of the sleep team, funds research to broaden our understanding of sleep and its disorders, and promotes public awareness and advocacy. I vow to lead in conjunction with the board and senior staff with integrity, kindness, and care.

We have much to be thankful for. Our field is at the intersection of multiple disciplines, which enriches our perspectives, our reach, and drives comprehensive strategies for managing sleep disorders. Sleep seems well suited to continuously harnessing the power of technology. Sleep is increasingly part of public discourse. Treatment options are expanding and personalizing. But there are many challenges. Workforce. Access. New models of care. Reimbursement. Prior authorization (to name a few). And there is work to be done.

Over the next year, we plan to prioritize four strategic objectives:

  1. Advocate with payers to improve reimbursement for sleep medicine and reduce unnecessary administrative burdens that negatively impact patients and clinicians
  2. Support sustainable sleep care delivery models that address patients’ needs and preferences.
  3. Support recruitment and retention of the work force
  4. Lead dialogue on impact of artificial intelligence on sleep medicine care

We also have one additional priority this year, and that is:  to celebrate. The Academy will enjoy its 50th anniversary in 2025, so you can look forward to a variety of opportunities to celebrate “Sleep and Dreams: 50 years of shaping the future of sleep medicine.”

Albert Einstein said, “The only way that we can grow is if we change.” It is difficult to know how this next administrative year will turn out. However, one thing that is certain is change. My promise is the Academy leadership will embrace the challenge and be guided by our mission, vision, and core values, including being member-driven, patient focused, adaptable, and inclusive.

In closing, I thank you again for providing me the honor of being president of the Academy.