7 AARC members named 2020 SPOTY Recipients

 Published: August 13, 2020

By: Addie Schiefer


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Representing the various specialties in respiratory care, seven individuals from across the U.S. were named recipients for the 2020 Specialty Practitioner of the Year award.

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Congratulations to our 2020 Recipients:

Adult Acute Care – Felix Khusid RRT, RRT-ACCS, RRT-NPS, RPFT, FAARC, FCCM, FCCP, ATSF

Felix Khusid “The ability to breathe is fundamental to human life. Accordingly, the inability to breathe easily is terrifying, causes patients great suffering, and can lead to death. I take great pride in the fact that as a respiratory therapist, everyday I come to work and have an opportunity to save a life or alleviate suffering by helping my patients breathe.”

Ambulatory & Post-Acute Care – Anne Emerick, BS, RRT

Anne Emerick “I am proud to be a respiratory therapist because of the direct impact I have with regard to helping people with their lung conditions. Knowing that I am able to improve their quality of life is incredibly rewarding.”

Diagnostics – Jennie Weltz Horpedahl, BSRT, RRT, RRT-NPS, RPFT, AE-C

Jennie Weltz Horpedahl “Respiratory therapists make a difference in the lives of their patients at all stages of life and disease process. I am proud to be member of a profession that is an integral part of the multidisciplinary health care team and the patient’s medical journey.”

Education – Arzu Ari, PhD, RRT, PT, CPFT, FCCP, FAARC

Arzu Ari “After working as a staff respiratory therapist, education coordinator, department manager, and faculty member for the past 27 years, I realize I’m in love with my job, my department, my university, my colleagues, and everything about it. As an academic, I have the opportunity to guide and empower the next generation of respiratory therapists. At other jobs, you might only get to work on something that truly interests you for a few hours of your workday, but as an academic, you can devote all of your time to pursuing your passions in teaching, research, and service. I am proud of my profession that continues to be recognized for holding high standards year after year. I’m also proud to be a respiratory therapist because I can make a difference.”

Leadership & Management – Thomas P Malinowski, MSc, RRT, FAARC

Tom Malinowski “I feel very privileged to have worked with an extraordinary number of outstanding respiratory therapists in a variety of different care environments. One of the best perks to being a respiratory therapist is knowing that regardless of your interest, you can contribute and find a way to show the value of the respiratory therapist to health care.”

Neonatal-Pediatrics – Emilee Lamorena, MSc, RRT, RRT-NPS

E Lamorena “As respiratory therapists, we are the experts of the cardiopulmonary system – our two most prized organs, the heart and lungs. Our specialized expertise makes us the best consultants for the clinical management of respiratory diseases, including pharmacological, therapeutic, and mechanical ventilation strategies. There is nothing more difficult than watching someone you love struggle for a breath – and every single day, we are able to bring some comfort to both patients and families to make them breathe easier. As a neonatal-pediatric respiratory therapist, we have a huge impact on patients and families – often from the moment of birth. We are given the unique opportunity to help children take their first breaths, and provide hope and support to families in very critical moments. Every single day, someone’s life is changed because of our care. I am proud to be part of a profession that saves lives and brings hope and healing to so many people.”

Surface & Air Transport – Kellie Micheletti, RRT, RRT-NPS

Kellie Micheletti “I love the saying ‘There is no hero in health care,’ because in real life it’s all about teams. As a respiratory therapist I am proud to be an integral part of that team on the front lines taking care of sick patients every day. It’s rewarding and meaningful knowing you have a chance to make a significant difference in the outcome of your patient’s life. Loving my job and being proud of what I do makes it easy to do the very best job I can each and every day for the patients and families I work with. I’m thankful to have a career that I am able to continue to learn and be challenged every day.”


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 Shawna Strickland, PhD, CAE, RRT, 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 remains dedicated to supporting the respiratory care profession. 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 2020 Specialty Practitioner of the Year Award recipients represent the following specialty sections: Adult Acute Care, Ambulatory & Post-Acute Care, Respiratory Diagnostics, Education, Leadership & Management, Neonatal-Pediatrics, and Surface & Air Transport.

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

Addie Schiefer

Addie Schiefer is the Content Manager for the AARC where she creates engaging content for the association via the AARC website, newsletters, and social media. Connect with her about potential stories by email, AARConnect, or LinkedIn. When she’s not working, you can find her listening to a true crime podcast, traveling to new places with her husband, hanging out with her dog JoJo, or browsing the aisles of the nearest Target.

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