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ARCF Awards Major Grants


August 9, 2016


The American Respiratory Care Foundation (ARCF) has issued three major grants to respiratory therapy investigators to support studies that will clarify issues important to RTs and the patients under their care.


Cutting edge topics


Justin Hoffman, BS, RRT, and the Cleveland Clinic Foundation have been awarded a $30,000 grant from the ARCF in conjunction with the Alpha-1 Foundation and the American Association for Respiratory Care to conduct a project entitled “Respiratory Therapist Case-Finding Study of Alpha-1 Deficiency.”


The project will be conducted among patients who are referred for pulmonary function testing and meet certain inclusion criteria. These patients will automatically have an order for an Alpha-1 blood test placed in their electronic medical record. The overarching goal is to shorten the length of time between the onset of symptoms and a diagnosis of Alpha-1.


“Alpha-1 is a rare disease, and from initial onset to diagnosis is approximately seven years, if not longer,” explains Hoffman, who is working on his master’s degree in respiratory care at Youngtown State University in Youngstown, OH. “I wanted to pursue this opportunity and create a new standard of care for the respiratory community.”


Michael Davis, BS, RRT, will examine the topic, “The Role of Tissue Factor in Inflammatory Airway Disease,” with the support of a $20,000 grant from the Parker B. Francis Grant Fund. A doctoral student in physiology and biophysics at the Medical College of Virginia/Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Davis will be examining whether or not the airways produce and release tissue factor (TF) when inflamed, elucidating the signaling pathways involved in its production/release, and evaluating the effects of TF on the airways once released. 


“Simply put,” says Davis, “Is it there, how does it get there, and what does it do once it is there?” The findings, he continues, could lead to both a better understanding of the pathophysiology of inflammatory airway disease and more therapeutic options for patients.


A $10,000 grant from the Jerome M. Sullivan Research Fund will go to Gerald Zavorsky, PhD, CSCS, ACSM-RCEP, RPFT, FACSM, an associate professor of respiratory therapy at Georgia State University in Atlanta, for a study entitled “Prediction Equations for Pulmonary Diffusing Capacity for Nitric Oxide in African-Americans.” Dr. Zavorsky decided to conduct the study because there are currently no predictive equations for diffusing capacity for nitric oxide in this patient population.


Should this novel measurement be implemented in pulmonary function labs in hospitals, it will be easier to determine whether a patient is below the lower limit of normal, which would signify abnormal gas transfer,” says Zavorsky.


Foundation support builds scientific record


All three grant winners credit the ARCF for furthering their research and believe the Foundation is playing a major role in adding to the scientific evidence supporting respiratory care.


We are lucky to have this resource available,” says Davis. “If we can increase awareness about these grants, hopefully more RTs will be able to get involved in translational research, which will not only improve our profession but also directly empower us to improve the standard of care for our patients.”


Hoffman says he was excited to receive the grant to study Alpha-1 and wants other RTs to know that the Foundation is there to support similar research performed by other therapists. “I know what this award means to the profession, and to allow someone like myself to pursue further research, not only in the field of respiratory but to conduct a study in Alpha-1, is coveted for that population as well,” he says.


Says Zavorsky, “I was very happy that the ARCF funded this study. I feel it is important for the ARCF to fund research in the area of respiratory therapy and any support to it would be appreciated.”