Dr. Clete A. Kushida, the 2009 – 2010 President of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), is a leading sleep medicine clinician and sleep scientist. He is an associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Stanford University Medical Center, acting medical director of the Stanford Sleep Disorders Clinic, and director of the Stanford University Center for Human Sleep Research.
Kushida received a doctorate in neurosciences/biopsychology from the University of Chicago in 1986, and a medical degree from the University of Chicago School of Medicine in 1990. He completed a residency in neurology at the University of California, San Diego, Medical Center; and a sleep medicine fellowship at the Stanford University Medical Center. He earned board certification from the American Board of Sleep Medicine in 1996.
Kushida has been active in the AASM since becoming a member in 1994, serving as chair of the Standards of Practice Committee and as AASM secretary-treasurer. He was elected to the AASM board of directors in 2005.
He also has held numerous leadership positions in other professional societies and organizations, serving as secretary-treasurer of the American Board of Sleep Medicine and secretary of the American Sleep Medicine Foundation, and on the medical advisory board of the Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation. Currently he is the inaugural president of the California Sleep Society and a member of the editorial boards of the journal SLEEP and the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.
Kushida has conducted basic and clinical sleep research since 1977, and he is the principal investigator of the Apnea Positive Pressure Long-term Efficacy Study (APPLES), a National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)-sponsored research project measuring the effectiveness of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The multi-site study focuses on how CPAP usage affects memory, learning, sleepiness, mood and quality of life.
He also directs several other research studies, focusing on topics such as the physical features and neurocognitive changes associated with OSA, the epidemiology and treatment of restless legs syndrome/periodic limb movement disorder, primary care sleep education and training, and countermeasures for sleep loss.
One of Kushida’s goals as president is for the AASM to continue developing national research collaborations and scientific networks to maximize the funding opportunities that are available to sleep scientists. Having invested in sleep research for more than 30 years, the AASM will remain dedicated to advancing the scientific study of sleep and sleep disorders by directly providing funds for research grants through the American Sleep Medicine Foundation. Since 2000, the ASMF has awarded nearly $3 million to 37 projects.
As the acting medical director of the Stanford Sleep Disorders Clinic, which was founded in 1970 and is accredited by the AASM, Kushida understands the issues that are most important to sleep specialists and to other allied health professionals in the field. Under his direction the AASM will continue to be the leader in setting standards and promoting excellence in sleep medicine health care, education and research.
Having co-authored numerous AASM practice parameters papers, Kushida is committed to advancing evidence-based standards and developing clinical guidelines that promote the “best practices” in sleep medicine. Most recently, the AASM published, “Clinical guideline for the evaluation, management and long-term care of obstructive sleep apnea in adults” in the June 15, 2009, issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.
As the national movement for health-care reform advances, the AASM will continue educating public and private insurers about the beneficial effects of diagnosis, treatment and management of sleep disorders by board-certified sleep specialists in AASM-accredited sleep disorders centers and laboratories for sleep-related breathing disorders.
As president of the California Sleep Society, Kushida knows that sleep professionals can effectively promote and protect the profession at the local level by uniting together. Under his leadership the AASM will continue to advance an initiative to help members in every state establish and incorporate a state sleep society.
Other issues on which Kushida will focus include encouraging growth in the number of sleep medicine training programs that are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, partnering with the Association of American Medical Colleges to incorporate sleep into the curriculum of medical colleges across the country, recognizing academic sleep programs that have demonstrated the highest commitment to excellence through the AASM Comprehensive Academic Sleep Programs of Distinction, exploring new ways to introduce the field of sleep to young students and scientists, working together with other international sleep organizations to increase the availability of educational resources for sleep specialists in other countries, and providing the public with accurate information about sleep and sleep disorders.