LITTLE ROCK, AR. (Feb. 12, 2019) – The Respiratory Care Services Department at Arkansas Children’s Hospital (ACH) has received an elite honor from the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC), which named it a recipient of the 2019-2020 Apex Recognition Award. Arkansas Children’s Hospital is the only hospital in the state and one of only two children’s hospitals across the nation to receive this year’s designation. Only 12 awards were given to acute care hospitals nationally.

“Families frequently comment that they experience outstanding respiratory care when they visit Arkansas Children’s Hospital, so we are honored that this award confirms their observations,” said Mary Salassi-Scotter, MNSc, RN, BC-NE, vice president of Patient Care Services at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. “We are very proud of our dedicated, uniquely qualified respiratory care team who works hard to use and create national best practices to deliver excellent care and help Arkansas infants and children breathe easier.”

The AARC Apex Recognition Award was developed in 2017 as a way for the AARC Board to recognize respiratory care departments that demonstrate high-quality care. The award promotes patient safety by highlighting organizations that provide access to respiratory therapists who utilize evidence-based best practices. ACH’s Respiratory Care Services Department is a frequent podium and poster presenter at the annual AARC national meetings and has active membership in the national organization.

“As a vital component of a well-rounded health care team, respiratory therapists work hard each day to deliver quality patient care,” said Thomas Kallstrom, MBA, RRT, FAARC, AARC Executive Director/CEO. “The specialized services and skills unique to respiratory care departments provide the necessary foundation for the total patient experience. We are thrilled to honor these organizations as Apex Recognition Award recipients.”

The AARC is dedicated to supporting the respiratory care profession. The award program distinguishes organizations for their commitment to excellence in professional development, evidence-based care, patient safety, patient satisfaction and quality improvement. The Apex Recognition Award includes five categories for recognition: acute care hospitals, long-term care facilities, home medical equipment (HME) companies, entry-level educational programs, and dedicated transport teams.

About Arkansas Children’s

Arkansas Children's, Inc. is the only healthcare system in the state solely dedicated to caring for Arkansas' 710,000 children, giving the organization a unique ability to shape the landscape of pediatric care in Arkansas and transform the health of children throughout the region. The private, non-profit organization includes two pediatric hospitals, a pediatric research institute and USDA nutrition center, a philanthropic foundation, a nursery alliance, statewide clinics, and many education and outreach programs.

Arkansas Children’s Hospital (ACH) is a 336-bed, Magnet-recognized facility in Little Rock operating the state’s only Level I pediatric trauma center; the state's only burn center; the state's only Level IV neonatal intensive care unit; the state's only pediatric intensive care unit; the state’s only pediatric surgery program with Level 1 verification from the American College of Surgeons; and the state's only nationally recognized pediatric transport program. Additionally, ACH is nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report in five pediatric subspecialties (2019-2020): Cardiology & Heart Surgery, Nephrology, Neurology & Neurosurgery, Orthopedics and Pulmonology. Arkansas Children’s Northwest (ACNW), the first and only pediatric hospital in the Northwest Arkansas region, opened in Springdale in early 2018. ACNW operates a 24-bed inpatient unit; a surgical unit with five operating rooms; outpatient clinics offering over 20 subspecialties; diagnostic services; imaging capabilities; occupational therapy services; and Northwest Arkansas' only pediatric emergency department, equipped with 30 exam rooms. Generous philanthropic and volunteer engagement has sustained Arkansas Children's since it began as an orphanage in 1912, and today ensures the system can fundamentally transform the health of children in Arkansas and beyond. To learn more, visit

About the AARC

Founded in 1947, the American Association of Respiratory Care (AARC) is the leading national and international professional association for respiratory care. We encourage and promote professional excellence, advance the science and practice of respiratory care, and advocate for patients, their families, the public, the profession, and the respiratory therapist. Supporting more than 47,000 members worldwide, the AARC is a not-for-profit professional association headquartered in Irving, TX. Learn more about us at