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Meet Your Trustee: Tonya Winders

As the mother of five children, four of whom have allergies and asthma, Tonya Winders has had no choice but to become an advocate for better respiratory care. But she’s taken that advocacy to a level most parents in her situation could never even imagine.

As president and CEO of the Allergy & Asthma Network — the leading nonprofit organization dedicated to ending the needless death and suffering due to asthma, allergies, and related conditions — she’s making a difference not just in her own children’s lives, but in the lives of hundreds of thousands of other people who suffer from these chronic lung conditions as well.

In this interview, she explains why thinks respiratory therapists and the ARCF are a part of the solution —

Why did you decide to support the respiratory care profession by becoming a Foundation trustee?

Respiratory therapists play a critical role on the collaborative health care team. Not only do they often treat and educate in the hospital setting, they are also becoming more involved in the community-based setting. As telehealth takes hold, respiratory therapists will be key to achieving optimal health outcomes as pulmonary disease educators. The ARCF was an excellent opportunity to help advance the practice of respiratory therapy.

Where do you see the Foundation heading in the next few years and why?

I would like to see the Foundation help respiratory therapists shift from inpatient to outpatient settings and increase their role as pulmonary disease educators employing innovative models like telehealth. We also need to fund more research and continuing professional education to advance the practice.

The Foundation depends on support from members of the profession. What would you say to them about the Foundation and why they should contribute to the organization?

The ARCF exists to advance the practice of respiratory care, which is fundamental to the future of quality patient care in chronic disease management. You should support the ARCF because we are here to support you. Get involved — apply for research awards or funding for advanced professional development. Help the next generation of respiratory therapists grow and evolve as the health care landscape evolves.

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