8 AARC members named 2018 SPOTY Recipients

 Published: November 20, 2018

By: Heather Willden


Representing the various specialties in respiratory care, only eight individuals from across the U.S. were named recipients for the 2018 Specialty Practitioner of the Year award.

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Congratulations to our 2018 Recipients:

Adult Acute Care – Thomas Piraino, RRT, FCSRT

 Photo of Tom Piraino “Respiratory Therapists have such an opportunity to provide excellent, evidence-based care that makes a difference in people’s lives. It makes me proud of RTs and being an RT when we are turned to for suggestions or recommendations regarding the care of the hospitals sickest patients.”

Diagnostics – Jeffrey Haynes, RRT, RPFT, FAARC

Photo of Tom Piraino “Patients and the families of the ill want just one thing, the best care possible. I get a great sense of satisfaction knowing that my patients get high quality, evidence-based diagnostics and therapeutic care.”

Education – Ellen A. Becker, PhD, RRT, RRT-NPS, RPFT, AE-C, FAARC

Photo of Tom Piraino “We are part of a team who helps patients and their families during some of their scariest life events.”

Management – Kim Bennion, MsHS, RRT, CHC

Photo of Tom Piraino “With my career in Respiratory Care, I have able to care for patients with acute and chronic pulmonary illnesses. I am there at the diagnosis, throughout the course of their chronic diseases, assist them with advance care planning, identifying and documenting their choices for care and assisting patient with goal attainment scaling as well as end-of-life care. These opportunities have elevated me as an individual both physically and spiritually. I hope to have given some small comfort back to my patients.”

Neonatal-Pediatrics – Ryan M. Sharkey, MSc, RRT, RRT-NPS

Photo of Tom Piraino “I am proud to be a respiratory therapist because of the unique skill set RT’s have. It allows us to be an integral part of the interdisciplinary team and use our expertise to help patients. It is so rewarding to see those challenging patients that required a lot of time and energy progress and get discharged.”

Ambulatory and Post-Acute Care Section – Ronda Z. Bradley, MS, RRT, FAARC

Photo of Tom Piraino “I am proud to be a respiratory therapist because I feel we are the most qualified and educated people to provide the hands-on care needed for pulmonary patients. We are the advocates for our patients, families and our profession.”

Sleep – Peter Griffin Allen, BSRC, RRT, RRT-NPS, RRT-SDS, RPSGT, RST

Photo of Tom Piraino “Respiratory Therapists have been my heroes since I started in the field. They inspired me to always put the patient’s welfare first. My hope is to continue working within the respiratory and sleep communities, to give back in whatever way possible.”

Surface & Air Transport – Tom Pietrantonio, BSRT, RRT, RRT-ACCS, NREMT

Photo of Tom Piraino “Every day is an opportunity to make a difference in the lives we touch. We have the ability to use our hands and expertise to comfort those in situations of distress. Professionally speaking, there is so much potential in the respiratory care profession to grow and advance. Good things are coming, and I’m proud to be a part of it.”

About the Award

Each Specialty Section selected its recipient for the AARC Specialty Practitioner of the Year Award. Criteria for this award evaluated the nominee’s professional service, leadership, as well as whether the individual has furthered the art of science of respiratory care through outstanding contribution to, or service in, a specialty area of practice.

“It is an honor to have the opportunity to recognize members who work hard to promote and advance their section, the AARC, and the profession overall,” said Dr. Shawna Strickland, PhD, RRT, RRT-NPS, RRT-ACCS, AE-C, FAARC, AARC associate executive director of member services. “Members who receive this award are great examples and leaders to our community. We are excited to express our appreciation for these individuals through this award.”

The AARC is dedicated to supporting the respiratory care profession, and this award program distinguishes individuals for their commitment to the association, their section, the profession, and, most importantly, delivering high-quality care to their patients. The 2018 Practitioner of the Year Award recipients represent the following specialty sections: Adult Acute Care, Respiratory Diagnostics, Education, Respiratory Care Management, Neonatal-Pediatrics, Post Acute Care, Sleep, and Surface & Air Transport.

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

Heather Willden

Heather Willden is the Director of Governance and Strategic Initiatives for the AARC where she works with state affiliates as the HOD liaison. She also manages DEI efforts and strategic initiatives. Connect with her about these topics by email, AARConnect or LinkedIn. When she's not working, you can find her podcasting with her husband, exploring new hiking trails, photographing, and spending time with her family.

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