De De Gardner is an Associate Professor at Texas State University in the College of Health Professions and the Department of Respiratory Care. Dr. Gardner earned her doctorate in public health with a focus on management, policy advocacy, and community health practice from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. Dr. Gardner is known for her leadership in respiratory care education, scholarship and service to the profession of respiratory care. Dr. Gardner was the inaugural Chair of the Department of Health Sciences at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHealth). In addition, she and her team developed the first entry level Master of Science in Respiratory Care (MSRC) program in Texas. Dr. Gardner created and implemented the online RRT to BSRC program, and the online RRT with Bachelor degree to MSRC program at UT Health. While under her leadership, the MSRC program was awarded a 10 year accreditation accommodation by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC) and the newly developed BSRC program was awarded provisional accreditation.
Dr. Gardner's clinical practice has focused on Disease Management of patients across the lifespan. This includes caring for patients in the neonatal, pediatric and adult intensive care areas, and outpatient respiratory therapy of patients who suffer from asthma and ALS. Disease management is a strategy for delivering care to a large group of individuals to improve outcomes and decrease costs. This practice encompasses a population-based approach to identify people at risk, intervene with specific programs of care and then measure clinical and other outcomes.
Because of teaching in respiratory care programs part of her research agenda has focused on disease management best practices for current and future clinicians and patients. Best practice encompass implementation science, program development and evaluation.
Dr. Gardner holds the registered respiratory therapy (RRT) and the neonatal-pediatric specialty (NPS) credentials. She has been recognized by two professional organizations for her leadership in cardiopulmonary medicine. First, she was inducted as a Fellow in the American Association for Respiratory Care (FAARC) and second, she was one of the first four Allied Health Fellows inducted into the American College of Chest Physicians (FCCP). Dr. Gardner is also a Texas State University Distinguished Alumni. In 2018, Dr. Gardner was recognized as the Texas Society for Respiratory Care Educator of the Year. She was also awarded the Mike West Patient Education Achievement Award for her dedication to patient education for patients with asthma and ALS and educating future healthcare providers. In November, Dr. Gardner was awarded the American Association for Respiratory Care Education Specialty Practitioner of the Year (SPOTY) award. This is the highest award for respiratory care educators.