The Robert M. Kacmarek Lecture to Debut at AARC Congress 2021

 Published: June 17, 2021

By: Debbie Bunch


photo of shoe stomping cigarettes in an effort to stop tobacco use

For decades now, attendees at the AARC Congress have flocked to hear the Donald F. Egan Scientific Memorial Lecture. One of three named lectures at the Congress every year, this lecture typically fills the lecture hall with attendees who know they will be presented with a profoundly important talk to the profession of respiratory care.

The lecture was named for an early supporter of the profession and the author of the first textbook in the field, Fundamentals of Respiratory Therapy. This textbook is still used in classrooms all over the country today in its 11th edition.

Scott DabbeneRobert M. Kacmarek, PhD, RRT, FAARC.

This year that lecture will be renamed for the man who has spearheaded the editing of that iconic textbook over the past number of years, the late Robert M. Kacmarek, PhD, RRT, FAARC, who passed away this past spring.

But Dr. Kacmarek’s work on the textbook only represents the tip of the iceberg regarding the contributions he made to respiratory care.

With hundreds of published papers to his credit, he added immeasurable evidence to the practice of respiratory care. In addition, as a long-time member of the Respiratory Care editorial board, he helped to shape the future of the Journal and ensure its current status as the premier publication in the field.


He spent decades as director of respiratory care at Massachusetts General Hospital and was also a professor of anesthesia at Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Kacmarek served both the AARC and the NBRC in many capacities as well. Foremost among them was developing the clinical simulation exam that replaced the former oral exam required for credentialing. He called it a game-changer for the profession, which added fairness to the process and allowed many more clinicians to become registered.

Dr. Kacmarek received the Association’s highest honor, the Jimmy A. Young Medal, in 2008.

The AARC is proud to rename this prestigious lecture in honor of Robert M. Kacmarek.

Email 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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