Bonner Smith Outstanding Service Award

Joseph Coyle, MD, FCCP

Bonner SmithIn 2011, the profession and CoARC lost a true friend. Bonner Smith, JD, was a public member of the CoARC for over 13 years and served on almost every committee during his tenure. In 2013, the CoARC established a new award named after Mr. Smith. The award recognizes one individual annually for demonstrating outstanding and enduring service to the profession of respiratory care through its educational accreditation system. The award is intended to honor individuals for exemplary contributions as members of the Commission or its predecessor Joint Review Committee for Respiratory Therapy Education.(JRCRTE).

Outstanding Service AwardThe award was presented posthumously to Mr. Smith in 2013 at the CoARC Awards Ceremony during the AARC Summer Forum in Orlando, FL. Accepting the award, on behalf of Mr. Smith, was his wife, Shelly, and his daughter, Bonny.

  • 2022- Mel Welch Jr., MPH, RRT-NPS, FAARC
  • 2021- Allen N. Gustin Jr, MD, FCCP, FASA 
  • 2020 – Brad Leidich, MSEd, RRT, FAARC
  • 2019 – Thomas Hill, PhD, RRT, FAARC and Jana Anderson
  • 2018 – Ian Gilmour, MD, FRCP, FACA, FCCP
  • 2017– Kathy Rye, EdD, RRT, RRT-ACCS, RRT-NPS, FAARC
  • 2016 – Shelley Mishoe, PhD, RRT, FAARC
  • 2015 – Bill Goding, MEd, RRT
  • 2014 – George Burton, MD
  • 2013 – James Bonner Smith

Dr. Ralph Kendall Outstanding Site Visitor Award

Thomas D. Jones, MEd, RRT, CPFT Chairman 
Department of Respiratory Care 
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences 

Award presented at the 2023 AARC International Congress Awards Ceremony

Dr. Ralph KendallThe Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC) recognizes up to two active Site Visitors annually, for dedicated service and outstanding contributions to the CoARC’s mission of ensuring the high quality of respiratory care education. Nominations are made by the CoARC Commissioners.

nominee must have participated in at least three (3) CoARC site visits within the past two (2) years by the nomination deadline. In addition, nominees must not have any negative evaluations within the same two-year period, and have provided a special contribution to the site visit process.

The award was named for Dr. Ralph Kendall, MD as a permanent expression of CoARC’s grateful recognition of his outstanding service as a site visitor and mentor. Dr. Kendall became a site visitor for CoARC in 1989 and has performed approximately 28 site visits over the past 6 years. Dr. Kendall also served as Chair of the CoARC Site Visit Subcommittee from 2003 to 2009. His expertise and assistance to program personnel and in training new site visitors is unparalleled and through the establishment of this award will not be forgotten.

  • 2022- Gina Buldra, BS, RRT, RCP and Thomas Hill, PhD, RRT, FAARC
  • 2021- Diane Oldfather, MHEd, RRT, FAARC
  • 2020 – Kathy Rye, EdD, RRT, RRT-ACCS, RRT-NPS, FAARC
  • 2019 – Brad Leidich, MSEd, RRT, FAARC
  • 2018 – Marby McKinney, MEd, RRT, RRT-NPS, AE-C and Jospeh Coyle, MD, FCCP
  • 2017 – Thomas Harding, MS, RRT, RPFT
  • 2016 – Thomas Baxter, EdD, RRT
  • 2015 – Ian Gilmour, MD, FRCP, FACA, FCCP and Kelli Chronister, MS, RRT
  • 2014 – Diane Flatland, MS-RRT, NPS
  • 2013 – Monica Schibig, MA, RRT-NPS, CPFT
  • 2012 – Phyllis W. Brunner, BS, RRT
  • 2011 – Leann Papp, EdS, RN, RRT, RCP
  • 2010 – Dr. Ralph Kendall, MD and Michael W. Prewitt, PhD, RRT

The President’s Award for Excellence and The RRT Credentialing Success Award

The President’s Award for Excellence and the Distinguished RRT Credentialing Success Award is presented as part of the CoARC’s continued efforts to value the RRT credential as a standard of professional achievement. From a program effectiveness perspective, the CoARC views the RRT credential as a measure of a program’s success in inspiring its graduates to achieve their highest educational and professional aspirations.

In selecting programs for this recognition, the CoARC Board used objective criteria based on key accreditation metrics documented in the 2020 Annual Report of Current Status RCS. The CoARC extends its sincere congratulations to you, your faculty, students, and graduates for meeting these rigorous criteria.

The President’s Award for Excellence in Credentialing Success – programs were required to: (1)have three or more years of outcomes data; (2) hold accreditation without a progress report;(3) document RRT credentialing success of 100%, and (4) meet or exceed established CoARC thresholds for TMC high cut score and retention.

The Distinguished RRT Credentialing Success Award – programs were required to: (1)have three or more years of outcomes data; (2) hold accreditation without a progress report; (3) document RRT credentialing success of 90% or above, and (4) meet or exceed established CoARC thresholds for TMC high cut score and retention.

Keep in mind that the conferral of this achievement award does not imply the CoARC’s recommendation, endorsement, or ranking of your program in relation to other CoARC accredited programs. Publications or announcements of this award shall not imply such recommendation, endorsement, or ranking. The primary responsibility of CoARC is to accredit programs based on their compliance with established accreditation standards.

DR. H. Fred Helmholz, MD Education Lecture Series

Allen N. Gustin

2023 – “Ethical Dilemmas in Critical & Palliative Care: Drawing the Line Between Benefit & Futility Allen N. Gustin Jr., MD, FCCP, FASA 

Dr. H. Fred HelmholzThe Dr. H. Fred Helmholz Education Lecture Series was established by CoARC in 1997 to recognize outstanding educators for their contributions to Respiratory Care Education.

It is certainly a fitting tribute that this Lecture Series serve as an ongoing reminder of Dr. Helmholz for he was a true pioneer in our profession.

His tireless efforts on behalf of respiratory therapists touched many of us and his influence will be felt for decades to come.

Dr. Helmholz was active in probably every single aspect of respiratory care. His medical career included research and clinical practice in high-altitude medicine, oxygen therapy, pulmonary function testing, and mechanical ventilation.

The AARC honored Dr. Helmholz with Honorary Member status and he was awarded the prestigious Jimmy A. Young Medal in 1993. He had a major presence at the International Congress, presiding as a judge for the Sputum Bowl Finals for many years. His sense of humor and sportsmanship were never more evident than by his willingness to wear whatever costume Jim Fenstermaker dreamed up, appearing as a Southern Gentleman, Santa Claus, Julius Cesar, and one of the Flying Elvises. The H. Fred Helmholz Sportsmanship Award is presented every year to the team which best demonstrates the passion, wisdom, and wit he brought to the competition.

Dr. Helmholz served as a member of the NBRC Board of Trustees from 1976 to 1988 and as President in 1985. The NBRC honored Dr. Helmholz with its Albert H. Andrews Award and Sister Mary Yvonne Jenn RRT Lifetime Achievement Awards, becoming the first Board Member to achieve Trustee Emeritus status.

He was the first Honorary Member of Lambda Beta, the National Honor Society for Respiratory Care, and through donations, his books of poetry continues to support scholarships for respiratory care students.

His commitment to education led him to establish a respiratory care program at the Mayo Clinic, where he did most of the teaching for several years. And until a few years ago, he was involved as a standardized patient for the Mayo Multidisciplinary Medical Simulation Center.

Dr. Helmholz was appointed by the CHEST to the Board of Schools for Inhalation Therapy in 1965, the initial group responsible for overseeing respiratory care education. When the Board of Schools transitioned to the Joint Review Committee for Respiratory Therapy Education under the AMA in 1969, Dr. Helmholz served as Chairman until 1976, running the organization out of his own offices at the Mayo Clinic, often at his own expense. He served the Joint Review Committee and CoARC, its successor, as a site visitor for decades.

Each year, CoARC invites an educator to present the H. Fred Helmholz Lecture at the AARC Summer Forum. As you can see from the list of previous speakers below, the Lecture provides an opportunity to recognize individuals who have made significant contributions to respiratory care and education. Many of these individuals had the privilege to know and work with Dr. Helmholz, and we hope that this annual lecture appropriately perpetuates his legacy.


  1. Currently serve as an educator in any CoARC approved Respiratory Care Program. (If appropriate, a group of individuals representing a program, can also be nominated).
  2. Have contributed to Respiratory Care education by developing an effective curriculum, teaching strategy, resource assessment/survey tool, by utilizing educational technology to benefit student learning, or by having a “good idea” resulting in Respiratory Care educational excellence.
  3. Be nominated by a CoARC Commissioner.

Below is the history of the Dr. H. Fred Helmholz, MD Education Lecture Series presentations:

2022 – “Characteristics of Successful Respiratory Care Programs – The Sequel to 2012 Lecture. This presentation would be an opportunity to revisit that survey, using the programs that received the 2021President’s Award for Credentialing Success.” – William F. Galvin, MSED,

Helmholz-Lecture by Bill Galvin 7.2022

2021 – “Do We Give Up Too Soon?  Helping All Learners Achieve Excellence”
– Ellen Becker, PhD, RRT, RRT-NPS,

2020- NA-COVID-19

2019 – “Supporting Graduate and Student Engagement” – Kenneth Winn, MHA, RRT

2018- “Making Brain Science Work for Teachers” – Dennis R. Wissing, PhD, RRT, AE-C, CPFT, FAARC

2017 – “The Value of Degree Advancement Programs for Progression of the Respiratory Therapy Profession” – Joseph P. Coyle, MD, FCCP and Shane Keene, DHSc, RRT-NPS, FAARC

2016 – “Meeting Thresholds and Maintaining an Excellent Respiratory Care Program” – Gary White, MEd, RRT, FAARC

2015 – “Professional Volunteerism” – Kerry George, MEd, RRT, FAARC

2014 – “Enhancing the Science and Practice of Respiratory Care Through Academic Progression and Life-long Learning” – Toni L. Rodriguez Ed.D, RRT FAARC

2013 – “Teaching Students How to Stay Up-To-Date on Mechanical Ventilation Issues” – Susan P. Pilbeam, MEd,RRT, FAARC

2012 – “Excellence in Respiratory Care Education: Creating an Exemplary RC Program” – William Galvin, MSEd, RRT, CPFT, AE-C, FAARC

2011 – “Career Pathways in Respiratory Care” – David L. Vines, MHS, RRT and Thomas D. Jones, MEd, RRT, CPFT, LRCP

2010 – “A Pedagogy for Today’s Learner” – Mark Taylor, MSW, EdD

2009 – “Evidenced-Based Guidelines and Practice: How are We Doing in Respiratory Care?” – Joe Sorbello, MEd,RRT

2008 – “Viva la Experience: Theory and Practice of Experiential Education in Respiratory Care” – Jeff Ward, MEd, RRT

2007 – “Respiratory Care as a Profession: Are We There Yet?” – David Shelledy, PhD, RRT, RPFT, FAARC

2006 – “Using Simulation Technology to Prepare the Next Generation of Respiratory Therapists” – Viva Jo Siddall, MS, RRT

2005 – “Follow the Yellow Brick Road to Threshold Success” – Erna Boone, MEd, RRT and Bob DeLorme, EdS, RRT

2004 – “The Dynamic Web Classroom” – Sal Sanders, MS, RRT, CPFT

2003 – “Managers and Educators Working Hand-in-Hand” – Mike Nazarro, MPH, RRT and “Teaching Your Students and Staff About Inhaled Toxic Agents” and “What Can We Teach About Bioterrorism? Teach Everything!” – Thomas J. Johnson, MS, RRT,

2002 – “The Role of the Advisory Committee & Employers in Shaping the Future of Respiratory Care” – Garry Kauffman, MPA, RRT

2001 – “Teaching Patient Assessment to the Respiratory Care Student” – Robert Wilkins, PhD, RRT

2000 – “Student Recruitment and Retention: A Marketing Perspective” – William Turner, PhD

1999 – “Computer Technology – New Paradigms in Education” – Jon Nilsestuen, PhD, RRT, FAARC, Marilyn Childers, PhD, RRT and Stephen Fracek, PhD

1998 – “Critical Thinking in Respiratory Care” – Shelley Mishoe, PhD, RRT, FAARC

1997 – “The History of Respiratory Care” – H. Fred Helmholz Jr., MD


Two CoARC George G. Burton, MD Scholarships

Dawn Headrick & Anita Respondek

Graduate Students at Texas State University
PROJECT TITLE: “Effects of Clinical Simulation Technologies on the Success of Students in the RC Credentialing Exam”

George G. BurtonThe CoARC has established a scholarship to support up to $2,000 annually to a student of a CoARC-accredited program for educational or accreditation research with practical value to the respiratory care profession.

General Instructions

Submission of Application Forms

Use the attached form to apply for the CoARC George G. Burton, MD Student Educational Research Scholarship. Use English only and avoid jargon and unusual abbreviations. The application should be single spaced and include: graphs, diagrams, tables and charts where needed. Any oversized documents, graphs, diagrams, tables and charts should be put in an appendix.

Please sign and submit all documentation as one PDF. Email the completed packet to Bonnie Marrs:

All completed applications should be submitted by February 1st for consideration of the annual award. Any incomplete applications will be denied. The CoARC will utilize appropriate consultants to assure a complete review of the application. Applicants will be notified by April 15th of the decision regarding award of a scholarship. The scholarship and certificate are presented at the CoARC Awards Ceremony during the AARC Summer Forum. The CoARC will cover the travel expenses for the award recipient to attend the Awards Ceremony to receive the award.

The CoARC reserves the right to recall funds granted for a project, if they are being misused or if sufficient progress is not being made.

Progress Reports

Summary reports must be submitted within six (6) months of approval and upon completion of the project and must be properly identified with the title and name of the principal investigator. Publications related to the research must acknowledge the support of the CoARC; The award recipient must notify the CoARC Executive Office upon publication and include the link/reference where the publication can be found.

For more information on the application process, contact the CoARC Executive Office at 817-283-2835 ext. 102.

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