News & Events

Respiratory Therapist earns asthma educator certification

October 22, 2012

More than two years into a three-year Community Health Improvement Plan, Backus is making strides to meet the healthcare needs of eastern Connecticut as identified by Holleran, a national healthcare research firm that conducted a needs survey of the community in 2010.

Asthma was identified as one of seven prioritized health areas for the region. In fact, asthma rates in Eastern Connecticut are above state and national averages — roughly 18% of local adults reported that they have had asthma at some point in their lifetimes.

According to reports by parents, 17% of children have had asthma diagnoses in their lifetime and 74% of those still have the disease.

To help reduce asthma rates, Backus has developed a list of action steps. The first step involved developing a smoking cessation course, given the strong connection between tobacco use and asthma. The latest action involves the certification of Respiratory Therapy’s Ray Tarvin, RRT, NPS, AE-C, as an asthma educator by the National Asthma Educator Certification Board. Mr. Tarvin is only one of 66 educators in the state of Connecticut.

“Having the expertise of a certified asthma educator at Backus will allow us to develop and carry out impactful community education and outreach programs,” said Janette Polaski Edwards, MPH, MBA, Community Benefits Manager. “As a certified asthma educator, Ray knows how to communicate  effectively to program participants. This ability truly enhances the preventative community health programs we can offer, as well as help us to meet this critical action item which is a result of our Community Health Needs Assessment.”

As a certified asthma educator, Mr. Tarvin has three main goals — to teach standardized asthma care to patient care departments at Backus; provide the community with a formal asthma education program; andhelp asthmatic patients avoid emergency room visits through proper training and medication use.

“When I first graduated from college in 2002, I volunteered with the American Lung Association’s Open Airways Program,” said Mr. Tarvin. “Prior to that experience, I never realized how many children and adults live with asthma. There’s a lot of information out there about asthma, but very little in terms of formal education. With appropriate tools and resources, I want to help people to manage their own disease.”

Mr. Tarvin earned his degree in Respiratory Therapy from Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. In addition to being certified in respiratory therapy and asthma education, he also holds a neonatal pediatric certification. Mr. Tarvin has worked in the Respiratory Therapy Department at Backus Hospital since Nov. 2004.

“Ray exhibits a commendable enthusiasm for the field of Respiratory Care that is exemplified by his performance,” said Wayne Vojick, Director, Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation. “It is my privilege to witness this level of commitment to our community and quality patient care.”