Kristina E. Ramirez already had earned a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology when a family member began treatment with a respiratory therapist. Once she witnessed the expertise and care provided by that therapist, Ramirez knew she had found her calling.
Ramirez applied to the program at UT Health San Antonio in 2010 and graduated with her bachelor’s degree in 2012. This December, Ramirez joined the faculty of the department of Respiratory Care as an assistant professor and director of clinical education. She said she is looking forward to beginning research projects in the area of asthma.
“This is exactly where I want to be,” she said. “I couldn’t be happier.”
Ramirez worked as a respiratory therapist while earning her master’s in public health from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, which she received in 2014. After earning her master’s, she served as a clinical instructor and taught courses part time in the respiratory care department at the School.
Her work in the field demonstrated countless times the many ways respiratory therapists help patients and their loved ones, she said.
“We as clinicians are able to give them more knowledge so they are able to understand it, but also the support and the empathy that they need,” she said. “I really feel like that makes a difference in people’s lives.”
As a graduate of the program, Ramirez understands first hand the rigor her students will encounter and how well prepared they will be when they launch their careers.
“We tell all our students not to work while you are in the program because it is a full-time job,” she said. “I tell the students all the time, ‘You will learn well above what you need to learn to do your job well.’”