Experience of a Young Investigator – Jason Ackrivo, MD

February 15, 2018 by Vanessa Claude

Every year CHEST accepts submissions for original research abstracts to be presented at our annual meeting. Jason Ackrivo, MD, was chosen to present his abstract at our CHEST 2017 meeting in Toronto, as well as receive the Young Investigator Award. He also had the opportunity to present his abstract in Sydney, Australia, for the APSR (Congress of Asian Pacific Society of Respirology) meeting. We followed up with Dr. Ackrivo and had him share his experience.

What made you want to submit your abstract to be presented at CHEST 2017 in Toronto?

I am a pulmonary fellow at the University of Pennsylvania, and I am helping build a new clinic focused on the management for patients who require home-assisted ventilation. By way of my friend Dr. Howie Panitch, I found out about the Home-Based Mechanical Ventilation and Neuromuscular Diseases NetWork. This group seemed to be a perfect fit for my interests, and to my knowledge, is the largest organized group in the United States of clinicians within this unique subspecialty. After discovering this, it only seemed natural to share my current research with all of these like-minded leaders in this field. Next thing I knew, I was submitting an abstract to CHEST.

What was the CHEST 2017 submission process like?

It was pretty straightforward…nothing too cumbersome that would prevent me from submitting in the future. I was notified of CHEST’s call for abstracts by email, which I receive regularly as a CHEST member. I simply followed the instructions in the email, linking to CHEST’s call for abstracts website. Once there, I filled out an online questionnaire about my contact information, created an open submission account for my abstract, and I uploaded and submitted my abstract via the Web-based portal. About a month or two later I found out that I was accepted!

Can you tell us about the abstract that you submitted and presented? Did you choose a new research endeavor or research that was already in progress?

I submitted one of my new abstracts. My abstract in 2017 was entitled “Baseline Risk Factors for Non-Invasive Ventilation Use in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.” There was a cohort of 1,150 patients with ALS who were followed longitudinally at a neurology clinic over a 10-year period. We looked at characteristics present at diagnosis that were associated with eventual use of noninvasive ventilation (NIV). We found that certain demographics (eg, age, race) and other clinical characteristics (eg, forced vital capacity) were strongly associated with NIV use.

How was your experience presenting at CHEST 2017 and receiving the Young Investigator Award?

My experience presenting was terrific. It facilitated my introduction to other top clinicians from around the United States and the world who were engaged in similar work. These relationships will hopefully lead to collaborative projects in the future. And I was extremely excited to find out that I had won the Young Investigator Award! At first the news was almost too much to take in—I found out about my trip to Sydney and the award around the same time. However, once the news sunk in, I couldn’t wait to get to Sydney.

How was your experience being able to present at APSR in Sydney, Australia? What were the differences from your experience in Toronto?

My trip to Sydney was one I’ll definitely remember for the rest of my life. As someone who loves traveling, I was so excited to visit Australia for the first time. Once I was settled in at Sydney, the staff at the APSR were extremely welcoming and recognized me everywhere I went, which really helped calm my nerves. One of the other Australian speakers within my presentation hour had very similar research interests to mine, and we had a blast sharing our mutual research ideas. We still stay in touch to this day!

Compared to Toronto, besides the warm weather and abundant sunshine, Sydney and the APSR felt like a smaller scale conference, which definitely has its advantages. At a smaller conference like the APSR, I think that it was easier for me to plan out my day without feeling like I am pulled in multiple directions at once like at larger conferences. Also, at smaller conferences, you are much more likely to bump into people that you’ve already met. As a foreigner, this made it really easy to schedule coffee, lunch, drinks, etc. Lastly, while I was all business at my talk in the APSR, I must say that my trip to Sydney felt a lot more like a vacation compared to Toronto, which was more business.

How do you see yourself moving forward in your career?

I am aiming to finish my Master of Science in Clinical Epidemiology degree at the University of Pennsylvania this summer, 2018, and I finish my fellowship at University of Pennsylvania in December, 2018. I have submitted an F32 grant to the NIH and if funded, I would be on that training grant throughout 2019. Beyond that, I hope to continue as a physician-scientist engaging in clinical research investigating the respiratory care of individuals with neuromuscular disease and those who require home-assisted ventilation. It’s a ripe field with so many unanswered research questions.

Are you interested in submitting an abstract of your original research for presentation at CHEST 2018?

The submission deadline is March 2, 2018. Learn more about submitting.