ATLANTA–The Georgia State University Department of Respiratory Therapy (RT) will celebrate 50 years of educating respiratory therapists during National Respiratory Care Week, Oct. 20-26.
When the program began in 1969, Georgia State was the second college or university nationwide to offer a bachelor’s degree in RT and continues to be a leader in the field. More than 1,400 respiratory therapists have graduated from the Georgia State program in the Byrdine F. Lewis College of Nursing and Health Professions. The nationally recognized RT program offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
The American Association for Respiratory Care this year awarded the Georgia State program its inaugural Apex Recognition Award, created to recognize high-quality respiratory care. The Georgia State program was one of only three higher education institutions to receive the award, along with Rush University and SUNY Upstate Medical University.
RT program graduates earned a 100 percent pass rate on licensure exams for multiple years in a row, winning the department a Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care Distinguished RRT Credentialing Success Award for more than seven years.
Georgia State’s program influences the field of respiratory care internationally A few hundred students from Saudi Arabia completed the traditional RT master’s degree program, and students from Taiwan and India are now benefitting from Georgia State’s expertise via the integrated master’s degree program, making them ready to take the licensure exam.
RT faculty have left their mark on students studying the RT field worldwide. This fall, Dr. Doug Gardenhire, department chair, published the 10th edition of “Rau’s Respiratory Care Pharmacology.” Dr. Joseph Rau, former department chair of respiratory therapy, published the first edition of “Respiratory Care Pharmacology” in 1978. When he retired in the mid-2000s, he passed the author’s duties to Gardenhire. Previous versions of the book have been the top seller on Amazon in the RT field.
Respiratory therapists work closely with physicians to care for patients with breathing disorders. In most parts of the world, RT is a subspecialty for physical therapists and physicians. In the U.S., the profession began in 1943 when Dr. Edwin R. Levine established the first inhalation therapy program in Chicago.