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Respiratory Care Week: Oct. 22-28

Every year during the last week of October, Respiratory Therapists are celebrated all over the country.  The first official Respiratory Care Week was in 1982 when President Ronald Reagan recognized it as a national proclamation

Cook Children’s employs over 175 Respiratory Therapists throughout the hospital network. This includes the main hospital campus, the new Prosper hospital, the Dodson pulmonary and sleep clinic, Home Health, and transport.

Respiratory Therapists are at the head of the patient's bed alongside physicians and nurses to help diagnose and treat a myriad of respiratory issues. RT’s are responsible for collecting and running blood gas samples, performing bedside spirometry, breathing treatments, ventilation management, as well as resuscitation when needed. You can find a respiratory therapist in every area of the hospital, from outpatient to inpatient, surgery, all ICU’s, and the Emergency Department.

Cathy Carroll, Director of the Respiratory Therapy Department, says, “I’m so grateful for all the hard work that my entire team does.  Their efforts have not gone unnoticed.  The work ethic and involvement are admirable. We are fortunate to have a team of dedicated respiratory therapists!”

Respiratory Therapy has been around for a long time. The first respiratory therapists were known as Inhalation Therapists. Below is a brief timeline of the history of Respiratory Therapy.  There have been lots of changes throughout the years, but the profession has grown and grown.

For more information about the profession please visit this link.

The History of Respiratory Therapy

1943: Edwin R. Levine, MD, establishes a primitive inhalation therapy program using on-the-job trained technicians to manage post-surgical patients at Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago.

July 13, 1946: Dr. Levine’s students and other interested doctors, nurses, and oxygen orderlies meet at the University of Chicago Hospital to form the Inhalation Therapy Association (ITA).

April 15, 1947: The ITA is formally chartered as a not-for-profit entity in the state of Illinois. The new Association boasts 59 members, 17 of whom are from various religious orders.

March 16, 1954: The ITA is renamed the American Association of Inhalation Therapists (AAIT). In February 1966, it was again renamed the American Association for Inhalation Therapy (still, AAIT).

November 7–11, 1955: The AAIT holds its first annual meeting (now the AARC International Respiratory Congress) at the Hotel St. Clair in Chicago.

1956: The AAIT begins publishing a science journal, Inhalation Therapy (now RESPIRATORY CARE).

1960: The American Registry of Inhalation Therapists (ARIT) is formed to oversee a new examination leading to a formal credential for people in the field.

November 18, 1960: The ARIT administers the first Registry exams in Minneapolis.

October 8, 1963: The Board of Schools of Inhalation Therapy Technicians is formed in Chicago.

1969: The AAIT launches the Technician Certification Program to offer a credential to people working in the field who do not qualify to take the Registry exams.

January 9, 1970: The Board of Schools of Inhalation Therapy Technicians becomes the Joint Review Committee for Respiratory Therapy Education (JRCRTE).

1973: The AAIT becomes the American Association for Respiratory Therapy (AART).

1974: The profession’s two credentialing programs merge into the National Board for Respiratory Therapy (NBRT); the AAIT forms the American Respiratory Therapy Foundation (ARTF) to support research, education, and charitable activities in the profession.

1982: California passes the first modern licensure law governing the profession of respiratory care; President Ronald Reagan proclaims the first National Respiratory Care Week.

1986: The AART becomes the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC); the ARTF becomes the American Respiratory Care Foundation (ARCF); the NBRT becomes the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC).

1990: The AARC begins developing Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPGs) for treatments and modalities common in the field; the ARCF launches an International Fellowship Program to bring health care professionals from around the world to the U.S. every year to tour health care facilities in two cites and then attend the AARC International Respiratory Congress.

2000: RESPIRATORY CARE journal is accepted into Index Medicus, the principal bibliographic database of the National Library of Medicine and its online counterpart, the MEDLINE service.

2003: The AARC launches Lung Health Day to promote better lung health to consumers. The Day takes place every year on the Wednesday during National Respiratory Care Week.


Timeline and History of Respiratory Therapy - AARC