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Interventional Pulmonology Assistant Certificate Program is First in United States

September 17, 2018 – El Camino Hospital and Foothill College are pleased to announce the graduation of the first recipients of the Foothill College Interventional Pulmonology Assistant Certificate. This inter-professional education certificate was awarded to 12 students at a ceremony at El Camino Hospital on September 12, 2018. The 18-credit certificate builds upon respiratory care practitioners’ skills and provides hands-on tools and materials to specially train them in the emerging medical subspecialty.

This certificate is the first-of-its-kind in the United States providing respiratory therapists, physician assistants and nurses with advanced training in interventional pulmonology, including diagnostic and therapeutic interventions. Interventional pulmonology is a subspecialty of pulmonary medicine that uses advanced diagnostic and therapeutic procedures to care for patients with benign and malignant diseases of the lung, airways and pleura.

"It’s truly magnificent to have El Camino Hospital and Foothill College serve the community together through this program. The recipients of the Interventional Pulmonology Assistant Certificate have committed to helping others through their hard work and dedication to healthcare," said Foothill College President Thuy Thi Nguyen.

"Through this partnership the first group of certificate recipients will continue to care for members of the community. We are proud of our students’ success and can’t wait to celebrate additional graduations in the years to come," added Nguyen.

El Camino Hospital first approached Foothill College in 2013 with the notion of developing an interventional pulmonology curriculum to meet the growing need of specially trained clinicians. Over the course of a couple of years, Foothill College developed the curriculum with input from the Interventional Pulmonology Program at El Camino Hospital and received accreditation for the certificate program. Foothill College launched the online interventional pulmonology assistant certification program in 2017.

“Developing an Interventional Pulmonology Assistant Certificate Program has long been a goal of our program,” said Ganesh Krishna, MD, medical director of the Interventional Pulmonology Program at El Camino Hospital and a Palo Alto Medical Foundation doctor. “Our collaboration with Foothill College will help advance growth in this specialty and provide respiratory care practitioners’ with the essential knowledge, skills and attributes necessary to respond to increasing future demands on the profession.”

“Practitioners who complete this program will have an in-depth understanding of the disease processes, familiarity with the medications and equipment used, and the ability to assist in a variety of procedures and anticipate the physician’s next steps,” Dr. Krishna continued.

The Interventional Pulmonology Program at El Camino Hospital is a leader in providing the latest, minimally invasive, state-of-the art diagnostic and therapeutic modalities, including offering airway recanalization, bronchial thermoplasty, clinical trials, confocal endomicroscopy, electromagnetic navigation guided (EMN) bronchoscopy, endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS) and transbronchial cryobiopsy. Through a trial the Taft Center for Clinical Research at El Camino Hospital, Dr. Krishna and the interventional pulmonology team performed the first robotic bronchoscopy procedure in the United States. In addition to leading-edge technology and procedures, El Camino Hospital, in collaboration with the Palo Alto Medical Foundation and University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), and Dr. Krishna lead one of only 30 interventional pulmonary fellowship programs in the country.