The 24th Annual Conference of The Union North America Region opens in Chicago, Illinois

This three-day scientific conference brings together experts of national and international renown to focus on topics of importance to public and respiratory health, with particular emphasis on tuberculosis (TB) and lung disease.

Professor Guy Marks, President of The Union, welcomed delegates to the first day of the conference during the George Comstock Lecture. In his presentation, ‘The Rocky Road to the Elimination of TB’, he discussed successful interventions and pitfalls in TB elimination, including an overreliance on treating people with TB while neglecting TB prevention. Prof Marks laid out the steps to follow for ending TB: finding and effectively treating people with TB; reducing transmission; and preventing TB infection from developing into active TB disease.

Prof Marks went on to speak about the future of The Union: “Now, in our centennial year, we face old and new challenges. TB is still with us, non-communicable lung disease (in particular, asthma and COPD) are major challenges throughout the world. The tobacco industry remains a scourge, but air pollution and climate change are emerging as major threats that will require concerted action on many fronts, including research, advocacy and international collaboration.  

“The Union is renewing itself, starting with our strategic plan. Attempting to be ‘a more perfect Union’, we will begin with a change to our vision, our mission and a re-statement of our values.”

The following two days of conference sessions include Dr Ariel Pablos-Mendez, who will deliver the ‘Beyond TB lecture’, focusing on the role of universal health coverage in TB care.

Additional sessions will see conversations and debate around progress to date on achieving TB elimination, practical issues in TB infection (TBI) treatment and the latest findings from the TB Epidemiologic Studies Consortium on paediatric and adult TBI diagnosis.

The Union stand will welcome delegates to a ‘Meet The Union’ event on, Friday 28 February to meet with members of The Union’s Board, including Prof Marks. They will have the opportunity discuss questions regarding the governance of The Union, The Union’s successes as it prepares to celebrate its centennial year, and the current challenges around TB care and prevention as well as lung health more generally.

The 24th Annual Conference of The Union North America Region is organised by Union member organisation, the British Columbia Lung Association. Members are affiliated by region, and come together to discuss regional perspectives on global health issues including TB, lung health and related topics.

The conference will run until Saturday 29 February. Follow @TheUnion_TBLH on Facebook and Twitter for updates.

Discounted regional conference attendance is one benefit of membership to The Union. To find out more about joining The Union, visit: