Summer Forum and Congress Planning Kicks Off

 Published: January 24, 2018

By: Heather Willden


2018 program committee members
2018 AARC Program Committee: (Back L to R) Brady Scott, Thomas Lamphere (Chair), Garry Kauffman and Richard Branson; (Front L to R) Sarah Varekojis, Kimberly Wiles and Ira Cheifetz

A group of dedicated volunteers came together this past weekend to kick off the 2018 AARC Program Committee and begin planning sessions for the AARC Summer Forum and Congress. The Committee works hard to develop relevant program topics for members. Committee volunteers review submissions, and then collaborate to select content that meets the needs of members across the entire association.

“What differentiates AARC educational offerings from other local, regional or national meetings is the quality of our content,” said Doug Laher, MBA, RRT, FAARC, associate executive director for the AARC. “We hear this time and time again from our members, and this could not be accomplished without the collective expertise of our Program Committee. They work tirelessly to ensure the AARC Summer Forum and Congress meetings offer current, cutting edge and scientific content that are delivered by national and internationally acclaimed faculty.”

2018 Program Committee Members

  • Thomas Lamphere, BS, RRT-ACCS, FAARC
    Committee Chair
  • Richard Branson, MS, RRT, FAARC
  • Ira Cheifetz, MD, FCCM, FAARC
  • Garry Kauffman, MPA, RRT, FAARC
  • Brady Scott, MS, RRT-ACCS, FAARC
  • Sarah Varekojis, PhD, RRT, FAARC
  • Kimberly Wiles, BS, RRT, CPFT

Consideration for all AARC members

In addition to reviewing all presentation submissions, committee members consult topics with colleagues to learn what items are of greatest interest to the membership, which will help them prioritize and strategically select what to include. According to Dr. Varekojis, associate professor and director of clinical education at The Ohio State University’s College of Medicine, the committee must determine the relevancy of the topic, if the topic will have broad appeal, and if the presentation will offer a takeaway message to the participants.

“I have to consider the needs of both program faculty and hospital educators when selecting presentations for the meetings,” said Dr. Varekojis, who represents the education section. “Educators in hospitals and in schools have strong interests in many clinical topics as well, and I try to ensure the education offerings complement the other presentations whenever possible.”

The goal for committee members, as they review presentations, is to organize a high quality meeting that fulfills the needs of the attendees.

“I was impressed by the great deal of detail, thought and consideration that goes into making a successful AARC Congress and Summer Forum,” said Scott, director of clinical education and assistant professor at Rush University. “As this year’s program started to take shape, I got excited for our attendees, as I am confident they will find these meetings are of high value.”

According to Kauffman, who represents the management section, preparation for the committee can be a year-round process.

“Throughout the year, we track key healthcare leadership issues and trends and utilize this information as we evaluate the lecture proposals from RT leaders,” Kauffman said.

Serving on the committee gives members a chance to grow professionally and develop a stronger network of colleagues.

“Serving on this committee has been a very rewarding experience, and has given me the opportunity to develop wonderful relationships and has allowed me to grow professionally as well,” Dr. Varekojis said. “Ultimately I hope I am able to include more content and offering of relevance to hospital or clinical educators and to elevate the importance of their role in expanding and further developing our profession. “

According to Scott, he hopes his work on the committee helps create a program that proves useful for attendees.

“Useful in a way that the knowledge gained translates to better, more efficient ways of providing quality respiratory care that ultimately leads to better patient outcomes,” Scott said. “If even one patient benefits from knowledge gained at the AARC Congress or Summer Forum by their respiratory care clinician, then I would say this goal was met.”

Email 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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