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Toni Rodriguez, Ed.D, RRT

Why do you volunteer for the American Lung Association in Arizona?

I volunteer for the ALA because with over 40 yrs experience as a respiratory therapist I have seen many people die from chronic respiratory disease so it is a pleasure to work with an organization that helps them learn to live with their condition and supports programs to prevent others from joining the ranks.  Unlike conditions like diabetes and heart disease, chronic lower respiratory disease has for years been off the public radar screen but with recent advances in genetics, pharmacology and treatment methods now is the time for coordinated efforts aimed at improving visibility and the quality of patient lives. I am committed to the success of the Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease Coalition and it's work  of advocacy, communication and education , an ACE in the hole so to speak for every patient with respiratory disease and the organizations who work in their behalf. As the now third leading cause of death in this country it is unconscionable to do nothing when I am able to contribute. 


Dr. Toni Rodriguez is currently the Chair of the Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease (CLRD) Coalition. She brings to the coalition more than 40 years of respiratory care experience from the hospital setting to the world of education with a variety of published work, vast volunteer commitments, and professional accomplishments along the way. 

Dr. Rodriguez began her career in the hospital setting serving as both a Department Supervisor and a Staff Technician in Pennsylvania. When she came to Arizona in the 1980s, she began her work in Education serving as faculty, Clinical Coordinator, and Program Director for Respiratory Care Programs. She even owned her own business preparing packages for credentialing exams and conducted review seminars for NBRC exams. 

Dr. Rodriguez currently serves as the Program Director for Respiratory Care at Gateway Community College and strives to partner with external organization to make the program innovative and unique. Gateway students rotate through the American Lung Association in Arizona office, contributing valuable volunteer time while also learning about the work and mission of the Association. The Gateway Community College Respiratory Care Program also raises money for Camp Not-A-Wheeze, hosts a Better Breathers Club and provides the “HUG” clinic, a pro-bono service to the community that also provides students with an integrated learning experience. 

Dr. Rodriguez’ professional work is highly regarded by all the professional organizations she has given to along the way. She has served as the President of the Arizona Society for Respiratory Care, served as President of the American Association for Respiratory Care, and was awarded a Lifetime Membership in the American Association for Respiratory Care, to name a few. 

Dr. Rodriguez’ tremendous leadership and passion for respiratory therapy and patient care make her the perfect Chair for the CLRD Coalition. She looks forward to creating a viable and productive coalition working with all CLRD partners to strengthen what we can provide to our fellow Arizonans. 

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