Patterson Earns Top Honors

Thursday, February 18, 2021
Kathy Patterson

GateWay Community College is pleased to announce the recognition of Respiratory Care Faculty Kathy Patterson as an American Association of Community Colleges Dale P. Parnell Distinguished Faculty, one of the highest honors for community college professors nationally.  


Patterson, a Northwest Phoenix resident, provides instruction to Respiratory Care students at all levels and specializes in pulmonary rehabilitation at GateWay.


“Her passion for students and their success is evidenced every day through her service in so many initiatives,” said GateWay Interim President Amy Diaz. “ She continually supports her students in any way she can and her mentorship is priceless. This award is well deserved.”


It’s easy to see why.


Patterson spends countless hours giving her time to various efforts and causes. As the faculty advisor to the Association of Respiratory Care Student (ARCS) club, she collaborated with the club officers to develop and promote the Phillip M. Burford Memorial Scholarship for Respiratory Care. In addition, she provided support of one student's idea to start the Flag Program to promote Air Quality Awareness in partnership with the ADEQ. 


One of her most noteworthy endeavors is her role in developing and growing the Pulmonary Rehabilitation program within the Healthcare United at GateWay (HUG) Clinic, a pro-bono clinic that provides services to community members who suffer from respiratory diseases, such as COPD. 


As liaison to this community outreach, Patterson has provided care to pulmonary rehab patients and coordinated topics for patient education lectures. These lectures are provided by respiratory care students as part of their development into respiratory therapists, while ingraining the importance of volunteerism and service. 


With such a distinguished career of service, one of Patterson’s most important contributions and leadership has been her efforts to promote the GateWay Community College Service Learning relationships for the students with the American Lung Association’s (ALA) Better Breathers Clubs. She also volunteers at the ALA local office.


As a licensed respiratory therapist, Patterson volunteers at Camp Not-A-Wheeze, a summer camp in Arizona for children with serious asthma.


Her efforts, along with her students, have raised funds for ALA, Camp Not-A-Wheeze and the HUG Clinic. In addition, they have participated in ALA’s Annual Lung Force events, focused on lung health and lung cancer awareness. Patterson also provided leadership for a $5,000 American Medical Association grant award that the college received to conduct anti-vaping awareness for young adults.


Patterson credits her Catholic faith as her guide in life.


“It helps me to get through the bad things that happen and cherish the good things. It leaves an inner joy,” said Patterson. “Happiness depends on what happens to you, but joy comes from within.”


In addition to her community service, she even found time to author the Pulmonary Rehabilitation chapter in a laboratory competency textbook, which is used in classrooms currently and probably for generations to come.


“I will cherish this award as I think of all the other faculty that I work with who work just as hard with the students and help them to succeed,” said Patterson. “I hold on to it for all of us!”


Patterson is expected to receive her AACC award this spring.