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International Respiratory Congress Hosts China Delegation, SARS Information

For Immediate Release

Dallas (November 19, 2003) – The 49th International Respiratory Congress, the annual meeting of the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC), will host a delegation of health officials from China and Taiwan on Tuesday, December 9, 2003, in Las Vegas. The health officials will be gathering information about SARS and protective equipment during the world's largest respiratory health convention and exhibition December 8 through 11 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

“This is a great opportunity to help them learn more about how the U.S. health system protects people from the SARS virus and other respiratory ailments and to help us learn more about coping with epidemic-type outbreaks of respiratory-related illness,” says AARC Chief Operating Officer Kevin Shrake, MA, RRT, FACHE, FAAMA, FAARC.

When the SARS outbreak occurred, the AARC, which serves the nation's respiratory therapists as their only professional association, began developing Web casts, documents, electronic resources and educational opportunities to help provide respiratory care professionals with the resources they would need should the deadly virus become a threat in the U.S.

To facilitate an exchange of ideas and to learn from the China and Taiwan representatives who have firsthand experience with the disease, AARC leaders have invited key physicians and RTs to meet with the delegation. These leaders include Sam P. Giordano, MBA, RRT, FAARC, AARC's Executive Director; David J Pierson MD FAARC, the editor in chief of Respiratory Care, the AARC's science journal; Susan R. Gallo MEd RRT, secretary-treasurer of the AARC's board of directors; Robert M. Kacmarek PhD RRT FAARC, a leading cardiopulmonary researcher; Patrick J. Dunne MEd RRT FAARC, a respiratory care business leader; and Dean R. Hess PhD RRT FAARC, also a leading cardiopulmonary researcher.

In addition the AARC will offer newly developed resources for dealing with SARS should we see a resurgence in this disease. As the frontline providers of respiratory care, respiratory therapists have led the way for treating the illness and have an archived Webcast that provides an in-depth look at SARS in North America and a SARS Resource Document.

From there, Shrake says it's on to the Exhibit Hall, to see what's new in protective equipment and to visit with vendors to learn more about advances in respiratory technology.

“Our exhibit hall contains the largest and most extensive showing of the advances in cardiopulmonary equipment, treatment modalities, and more,” Shrake adds. “It is here that innovators and medical leaders come together to discuss these advances and to determine those things that will best be incorporated into the daily practice of respiratory medicine.

“The delegates from China will indeed be able to learn from our technology and come away with solid solutions for dealing with epidemic-like outbreaks of respiratory illness in the future,” Shrake adds.

The delegation includes representatives from China's Guangdong Provincial Health Bureau, Luohu District People's Government, Shaoguan Health Bureau, Guangzhou Municipal Health Bureau, Guangdon Maternal & Child Health Hospital, Guangzhou Hospital for Infectious Diseases, Guangzhou Center for Diseases Prevention and Control, Zhuhai Health Inspection Institute, Zhuhai Health Bureau, Shenzhen Hospital of Chronic Diseases, Shenzhen Donghu Hospital, Huizhou Center for Diseases Prevention and Control, Huizhou Central People's Hospital, Luohu District Health Bureau, Luohu District Center for Diseases Prevention and Control, Luohu Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shenzhen Luohu Maternal & Child Hospital, Shenzhen Luohu Healthcare Office, Zhanjiang Center for Diseases Prevention and Control, Shaoguan Center for Diseases Prevention and Control, and Shaoguan Health Bureau. Officials and professionals from Taipei City, Taiwan will also participate in the event.

Suggested Sidebar:
In addition to hosting the China delegation, the Respiratory Congress will feature an afternoon session devoted to international respiratory care issues on Wednesday, December 10.

From 1 to 4:55 p.m., respiratory therapist Lynn Beaton from British Columbia Children's Hospital, Richmond, British Columbia, Canada, will speak about her experiences in China. As a respiratory therapist traveling with a team of neonatal physicians from Canada, staffing issues in China caught Beaton's attention. “The magnitude of the number of patients these hospitals see in just a 24-hour timeframe in relationship to the manpower was overwhelming from a North American perspective,” says the therapist. Beaton will also discuss how a new educational program was formed with a partnership between Shanghai Children's Hospital of Fudan University and the Canadian Neonatal Network.

Katie Sabato, MS RRT, Children's Hospital, Oakland, Calif., will discuss the role of respiratory therapists in third world countries. During her talk from 2 to 2:55 p.m., Sabato will contrast the maximal success accomplished by two respiratory therapists who independently and successfully introduced mechanical ventilation to Belize to the struggles encountered in Africa where health care is worse than anywhere on the globe. Sabato will also highlight how respiratory therapists can become involved in medical missionary groups.

The lecture series will conclude, from 3 to 3:55 p.m., with a glimpse at how humor helps the healing process. In “Winning Hearts Around the World,” respiratory therapist Wesley A. Flener, CRT, Lincare Home Health, Louisville, Ken., will share his personal experiences with the healing power of laughter from around the world including China, Russia, and New York City.


Sherry Milligan
Communications Manager
972-406-4690, Milligan@aarc.org