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American Thoracic Society Partners with Heka Health to Power Its First Annual Walking Challenge at the ATS 2016 International Conference

May 3, 2016 - The American Thoracic Society (ATS) is partnering with Heka Health, a Silicon Valley based health technology company, to hold its first annual ATS Walking Challenge at the 2016 ATS International Conference, San Francisco, May 13-18. The ATS Walking Challenge, supported by Teva Respiratory, promotes healthy behaviors and encourages healthcare professionals to “walk the talk”, all in a fun and engaging manner. Additionally, participants in the Walking Challenge will be helping raise money for the ATS Foundation, which funds research, education, and training to prevent, treat, and cure respiratory diseases worldwide.


Americans are spending more time seated than ever, and researchers say that sedentary lifestyles are creating a health crisis. In a recent Los Angeles Times interview, Dr. James Levine, Director of the Mayo Clinic-Arizona State University Obesity Solutions Initiative (and inventor of the treadmill desk) summed up his findings in two sentences: “Sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV and is more treacherous than parachuting. We are sitting ourselves to death."


Evidence showing clinical outcomes can be improved through patient awareness, education, and engagement is at the heart of the ATS’s mission as well as Heka Health’s suite of connected health solutions. The shared vision to provide healthcare professionals with tools to empower their patients to prevent and manage chronic disease unites the ATS and Heka Health in their efforts to effectively drive improved health outcomes.

ATS Walks the Talk

The ATS Walking Challenge will foster friendly competition among attendees while also helping instill the benefits of walking on a consistent basis, all while walking for a good cause.


For each participant who logs 30,000 steps through the course of the challenge, Teva Respiratory will donate $100 to the ATS Foundation to fund research grants, up to $50,000.


As part of the ATS Walking Challenge, meeting attendees can either use a custom, ATS-branded activity tracker or their own fitness tracking device to compete against other meeting attendees - both as individuals and as members of assembly groups. A customized mobile app will provide steppers with real-time information on their steps during the event and leaderboards will highlight top steppers as the event unfolds.


“Our mission is to more efficiently connect individuals with the people and resources that can collectively support their overall well being,” said Tony Salah, CEO of Heka Health. “This partnership with the ATS and Teva Respiratory embodies our mission to align incentives across the siloed healthcare system with the ultimate goal of encouraging healthy behaviors and supporting improved health outcomes for all.”

About the American Thoracic Society

Founded in 1905, the American Thoracic Society is the world's leading medical association dedicated to advancing pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine. The Society’s 15,000 members prevent and fight respiratory disease around the globe through research, education, patient care and advocacy. The ATS publishes three journals, the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, the American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology and the Annals of the American Thoracic Society.

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