The AARC sure knows how to honor its own and, as it does so, promotes the professionalism and recognition of RTs everywhere.

By Marian Benjamin

I’ve just returned from the 53rd Annual Convention & Exhibition of the American Association for Respiratory Care, and, as is the case every year, the meeting was packed with excellent educational sections, great products in the exhibit hall, and general meetings that honored the “doers” in the respiratory care discipline.

During the opening session, Sam Giordano, MBA, RRT, FAARC, AARC executive director, and Michael Amato, chair of the American Respiratory Care Foundation, took us back in time to the beginning of the AARC in 1947. The association has gone through several transformations since then, including name changes, starting as the Inhalation Therapy Association, then becoming the American Association for Inhalation Therapists in 1957, until, in 1969, the association acquired its current name. It was a fascinating walk through history.

Sam Giordano addresses attendees; new section chairs are sworn in.

The highlight of the opening session was the keynote address by John W. Walsh, president and CEO of the Alpha-1 Foundation. Walsh, who was diagnosed with alpha-1 deficiency at age 40, said that, despite the fact that COPD is the fourth leading cause of death and is on the rise, only $66 million is spent on research, much less than some other diseases. The good news, he said, is that the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has just granted $37 million for lung research—the largest grant of its kind. This money will be used to conduct the COPD Gene Study, which will use the COPD Foundation Research Registry, a confidential database of individuals diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, as a base for the investigation.

There were awards galore: Fellowship Research Awards; Literary Awards; Specialty Section Awards; and the Zenith Awards, given to supporting companies for the quality of their products, accessibility, support, responsiveness, and truth in advertising. Sixteen new fellows were inducted, and two other awards, the Jimmy A. Young medal and the Forrest M. Bird Lifetime Scientific Achievement Award, were presented to Neil R. MacIntyre, MD, FAARC, and Robert L. Chatburn, RRT-NPS, FAARC, respectively, for their service to the AARC and advancement of the respiratory care profession and achievements in the respiratory care field.

The AARC sure knows how to honor its own and, as it does so, promotes the professionalism and recognition of RTs everywhere.


Marian Benjamin is the editor of RT. For more info, contact [email protected]