What is an AARC Fellow? (And Why You Should Care!)

 Published: July 26, 2023

By: Debbie Bunch


August 26, 2023

AARC members can reach high levels of performance in many areas of the profession, from education and management to clinical care, research, and more.

These are members who have reached the pinnacle of excellence in their given area of the field and made a true mark on the profession as a whole.

Like other professional organizations, the AARC recognizes the high achievers in its midst with a “Fellow” designation. New inductees into the AARC Fellowship Program are announced at the AARC Congress each year.

Who decides which members become Fellows of the American Association for Respiratory Care, or “FAARC’s”?

According to members of the AARC Fellowship Committee, it’s a two-step process. And step one begins with you because all candidates for the FAARC must be nominated by at least two AARC members.

The nomination process

“AARC members can locate and review the eligibility criteria, nomination deadline, and nomination form on the AARC’s website, along with the names of AARC Fellows named since 1998,” said Trudy Watson, BS, RRT, FAARC. “There are so many dedicated individuals in our profession who qualify for and deserve this prestigious recognition but have not yet been nominated.”

Her hope is that as more and more members learn about this program, even more, deserving individuals will have their names thrown into the ring so they too can be considered for the FAARC designation.

Committee Chair Frank Salvatore, MBA, RRT, FAARC, agrees, stressing that every AARC member should consider who among their colleagues might be deserving of this special designation.

“As of the conferment of the FAARC to the 20 individuals at the 2022 Congress, there have been 418 individuals recognized as Fellows since 1998,” he said. “I’m sure in a profession of over 100,000 RTs there are many worthy individuals who meet the criteria.”

Salvatore encourages potential nominators to review the  Criteria and Rules for AARC Fellowship  and then if they feel the person they are thinking about meets the criteria, fill out the application.

The deadline for nominations for the 2023 Class of AARC Fellows is coming up on Aug. 15.

The selection process

What happens in step two of the process? According to Salvatore and Watson, once all the nominations are in, a stringent review process begins.

“After the AARC Executive Office staff screens the nomination materials received online by the established deadline to verify length of membership, active license, professional credential, and nomination letters — one of which must be submitted by a member who is an AARC Fellow — the nomination materials are forwarded to the seven members of the selection committee to review and score using the committee’s rubric,” said Watson.

The committee assigns points to each candidate in the areas of leadership or service and each nominee must meet an established cut score and receive unanimous support from the committee to be named an AARC Fellow.

Salvatore says the committee, which is made up of AARC Fellows, puts in hours and hours of work each year to make sure their final selections are worthy of this prestigious honor.

“The committee reviews hundreds of pages of documents each year to decide who will get to be a Fellow of the AARC,” he said.

Your role matters!

Both Salvatore and Watson stress how important the designation is to those who receive it.

“Having the FAARC initials after your name is seen by those of us in the profession as that person having done something significant within our profession,” said Salvatore.

“Our health care colleagues recognize that the designation of ‘fellow’ in any professional association signifies commitment, dedication, and leadership, and AARC’s FAARC does exactly that.” said Watson.

As Watson and Salvatore indicated earlier, there are many, many AARC members out there who would qualify for this honor, but it will take a concerted effort by the membership as whole to ensure more of those who deserve the FAARC get it.

So take a few moments out of your day to brainstorm deserving members of the profession who you feel would qualify to become a Fellow of the American Association for Respiratory Care, and then nominate them for the 2023 Class of Fellows.

Email newsroom@aarc.org with questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you.

Debbie Bunch

Debbie Bunch is an AARC contributor who writes feature articles, news stories, and other content for Newsroom, the AARC website, and associated emailed newsletters. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, traveling, photography, and spending time with her children and grandchildren. Connect with Debbie by email or on AARConnect or LinkedIn.

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