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James F. Donohue, MD, was honored with the Breathing for Life Award at the Tenth Annual American Thoracic Society (ATS) Foundation Research Program Benefit on Saturday, May 19, 2018, in San Diego, California. The Breathing for Life Award is the highest honor given by the Foundation for philanthropy, scientific achievement, and commitment to mentorship.

Dr. James Donohue was filmed for a video that honors him with the Breathing for Life award.

(Republished with permission from the American Thoracic Society website)

Dr. James F. Donohue chaired the ATS Foundation from 2010 to 2016. During that time, annual contributions to the Research Program nearly tripled to $1 million, and the number of research grants awarded doubled.

Dr. Donohue, who is division director emeritus of pulmonary diseases and critical care medicine at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, is known as a master clinician and clinical scientist who led trials of the most commonly used inhaled therapies for COPD and asthma.

Larry Johnson, MD, director of pulmonary and critical care medicine at University of Arkansas for medical sciences, says that having Dr. Donohue as his clinic mentor in his first year of residency at UNC Chapel Hill was part of the reason he decided to join the university’s fellowship program in pulmonology and critical care. “A lot of doctors wanted Jim as their physician.” Shannon Carson, MD, UNC Chapel Hill’s division chief, adds, “Jim’s patients are devoted to him.”

Dr. Donohue played a major role in building the pulmonary diseases and critical care division at UNC Chapel Hill. He was the second physician to join the division in 1976 and served as division chief from 2002-11. Today, the division has 32 faculty members and 11 fellows.

“Jim was a thoughtful leader who played to people’s strengths,” says Patricia Rivera, MD, director of UNC Chapel Hill’s Lung Cancer Screening Clinic and Pulmonary Function and Bronchoscopy Laboratory. And yet, “with all that he has achieved, he has maintained tremendous humility and kindness and respect for others.”

To find a video about Dr. Donohue and learn more about the American Thoracic Society, please visit