Southern students meet with state representatives

Respiratory+Therapy

Respiratory Therapy

Brad Stout, Editor-in-Chief

Respiratory therapy students at Missouri Southern met with representatives of the Missouri state legislature Feb. 10 after being invited to Jefferson City to assist the Missouri Society for Respiratory Care (MSRC) with their Legislative Day efforts.

Under the direction of Sherry Whiteman, adjunct respiratory therapy instructor and officer with MSRC, the students were given the opportunity to address issues and help discuss potential legislation related to the field.

“When we go there, our goal is to promote the profession, let them know who we are — because we are a big part of their constituancy — and then talk with our representatives about bills that may impact us as a profession,” said Whiteman.

Three students from the respiratory therapy program, Justin Foltz, Katy Adams and Chaney Endicott, attended the event with Whiteman, in addition to Ronda Bradley, a respiratory therapist from St. Louis. As representatives of the MSRC, their primary goal was to address inadequate funding for ventilator patients in nursing homes across the state.

“We would like to see some changes and maybe some of legislation [to solve this issue],” said Whiteman, “so we discussed that with some of the representatives.”

According to Foltz, the group managed to get three representatives and at least four different comittees interested in their cause and they began to work with the group to develop it.

“They left it in our court, actually,” said Whiteman. “Bill White said to write something up and send it [to him], so that would be our next step.”

Though this year was the first time Southern’s respiratory therapy students and faculty attended Legislative Day, Whiteman expressed a desire to continue participating in the future.

“I think its really important to reach out to them,” said Whiteman. “The only way you’re going to get things done is if you push it through yourself. Somebody has to start, so why not us?”