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Respiratory Therapy Program in College of Health Professions is honored by national association

A leading national association has recognized the Upstate Medical University Respiratory Therapy Program with a top award for best practices in the profession and promoting patient safety.

The Upstate program, which is part of the College of Health Professions, was named a 2019-2020 Apex Recognition Award winner by the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC).

The AARC named 16 organizations—including just three in Upstate’s category—from across the country as award recipients. The award was developed to recognize the contribution of respiratory therapists and to highlight best practices in respiratory care that are aligned with evidence-based medicine. By recognizing top educational programs like Upstate’s, the award can highlight high-quality programs for students looking to pursue respiratory therapy, according to the AARC. Respiratory therapists treat people who have breathing problems or other lung disorders.

“Your program is among an elite group of respiratory care educational programs from across the U.S. to receive this award,” AARC wrote when announcing the recognition.

College of Health Professions Dean Katherine Beissner, PT, PhD, said it’s great to see the program receive well-deserved praise.

“The program worked really hard to be eligible for the award and obviously it paid off,” she said. “Respiratory therapy is one of our hidden gems, so for it to be recognized is wonderful.”

The Apex Recognition Award recognized several facets of the Upstate program: qualifications and advanced certifications of faculty, evidence-based teaching strategies, the faculty’s expanding research agenda and the program’s commitment to community service activities, Beissner said.

The Upstate Respiratory Therapy Program prides itself on a small, close-knit cohort of students that support each other, she added.

“The students get individualized attention and they come out really strong clinicians,” Beissner said.

Respiratory therapy is one of the fastest growing fields in medicine and Upstate graduates are often highly sought after. Employment of respiratory therapists is expected to grow 23 percent over the next seven years, according to the U.S. Department of Labor; 2017 median annual pay was $59,710.

The Apex Recognition Award included five categories: acute care hospitals, long-term care facilities, home medical equipment (HME) companies, entry-level educational programs and dedicated transport teams. Upstate was recognized in the educational programs category.

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