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NECC Alumni Provide State-of-the-Art Care at Boston Children’s Hospital

Submitted by on December 18, 2019 – 8:04 pm

John Priest ’09 (left) and Mike Cusano ’05 (right).

They were once Northern Essex students uncertain of their next career move. Now they are some of the top specialists of a unique cardiac and respiratory care treatment system at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Respiratory Care program graduates and colleagues Mike Cusano ‘05 and John Priest ’09 are proud providers of Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO), a system that offers prolonged cardiac and respiratory support for children and young adults in need of critical care. As one of the highest levels of life support that can be provided, ECMO has required both to go through years of extensive training to attain their current positions.

“This is a great achievement, since we both advanced to this level from only having associate degrees,” says Cusano. “It also shows that there are many paths that can be taken in the field of respiratory therapy.”

Cusano and Priest are now pursuing advanced degrees as they continue their work with ventilator management in intensive care unit settings.

NECC’s respiratory care program recently received the Distinguished Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) Credentialing Success Award from the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care. The award recognizes programs that demonstrate success in inspiring graduates to achieve their highest educational and professional aspirations.

Northern Essex offers an associate degree in respiratory care. For more information, please visit