By Kate Hunger
Respiratory care wasn't his long-term plan when he first came to the U.S. 27 years ago, but Ruben Restrepo, M.D., RRT, FAARC, professor of the respiratory care department says he found his calling in the profession.
"I had chosen respiratory therapy as a stepping stone to get licensed as a foreign physician back in 199 when I came to the U.S.," he shared. "What I did not expect was to fall in love with the profession after having the opportunity to work as a pediatric intensive care respiratory therapist shortly after graduation from Georgia State University."
Restrepo's contribution to the field have been recognized with his induction in October as a Fellow of the American College of Chest Physicians. Fellows are eligible to vote in CHEST elections and hold office.
"it is a significant recognition of the service given to the American College of Chest Physicians," Restrepo noted of the FCCP designation. "Only a handful of respiratory therapists have earned this recognition in the U.S."
Restrepo joined the School of Health Profession's faculty in 2005. He said he is inspired by improving patients' breathing and by teaching.
"Although it may sound very cliché there is nothing more rewarding than making sure patients don't have difficulty breathing," he said. "Early in my career I became a clinical instructor and was offered a tremendous opportunity to teach full time as faculty. Teaching has always been my passion."
Being able to teach and continue a clinical practice has been a rewarding combination for Restrepo. He mentored recent graduates Sylvia Cuevas, Pooja Bhasin, Christopher Molina, and Kristina Ramirez, who presented at the American Association for Respiratory Care Congress held in Indianapolis in October.
"The AARC conference is the largest respiratory care congress in the world," Restrepo said. adding that the presentations alongside those of experienced respiratory therapists" demonstrates the tremendous value of the master's program in respiratory care."