The American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC) is the leading national and international professional association for respiratory care. The AARC encourages and promotes professional excellence, advances the science and practice of respiratory care, and serves as an advocate for patients and their families, the public, the profession and the respiratory therapist.
Founded in 1947, the AARC is a not-for-profit professional association with more than 52,000 members worldwide. Our primary membership consists of respiratory therapists, allied health practitioners who are trained at the 2- and 4-year college level to assist physicians in the care of patients with lung disorders and other conditions. Respiratory therapists can be found in all areas of health care, including hospitals, home care, nursing homes, and physicians' offices—in short, anywhere patients are being treated for lung diseases.
A network of 50 state societies involves members in local and state activities, and ten Specialty Sections meet the needs of practitioners involved in specific care areas or settings.
The AARC is sponsored by the American Thoracic Society, the American College of Chest Physicians, and the American Society of Anesthesiologists.
A Board of Directors, in conjunction with a House of Delegates, governs the Association. A Board of Medical Advisors, representing the Association’s three sponsoring organizations along with other major physician groups, serves in an advisory capacity.
The AARC co-sponsors and appoints representatives to the National Board for Respiratory Care, the body that administers nationally recognized credentialing examinations for respiratory therapists and other allied health practitioners. The Association also supports the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care, the accrediting body for schools of respiratory care, and the American Respiratory Care Foundation, a non-profit organization supporting research, education, and charitable purposes.
The four-day AARC Congress is the premier educational event in the respiratory care profession. Every year, the meeting brings together more than 6,000 respiratory therapists and other health professionals from around the world, who gather to hear the latest developments in respiratory care.
To inform the public about the respiratory care profession and promote lung health, the AARC sponsors National Respiratory Care Week the last week in October. Respiratory therapy departments all across the country get involved in activities, hosting educational screenings, programs, and fund raisers for asthma camps for kids, patients in need of assistance, and other worthy causes.
In addition to the AARC Congress, the Association develops and conducts a plethora of meetings, educational courses, and symposia throughout the year to provide members with opportunities to earn Continuing Respiratory Care Education credits. The newest additions to the AARC’s education line-up are online. The Association also presents regular webcasts featuring leading speakers and topics in respiratory care, which are archived for viewing any time at Webcast Central.
The AARC interacts with local, state, and federal government on public policies that affect our patients and our members. From Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement issues to health-care reform proposals, the AARC keeps Congress, state, and local policymakers up-to-date on the issues that are important to patient care and respiratory practice.
The AARC also sends representatives to more than 20 outside groups and organizations that work on common issues, including the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association Panel of Consultants, and the federal government’s National Asthma Education and Prevention Program among other groups.
The Association publishes a peer-reviewed journal, RESPIRATORY CARE, and a news and feature magazine, AARC Times. The foremost scientific journal in the respiratory care profession, RESPIRATORY CARE is listed in Index Medicus and features original research and case reports on topics such as chest radiographs, pulmonary function tests, and blood gas analyses. AARC Times is the profession’s leading general interest publication, containing management tips, human-interest features, profiles of respiratory care leaders, and more. Both are now available online as well.
The AARC supports patients and families with lung disease via www.asthmaallergy.net. The website features news links, information on diseases and conditions, tips on living with lung disease, and forums where patients and families can share experiences. The site also includes a comprehensive listing of hospitals and home care companies nationwide that have earned the Association’s Quality Respiratory Care Recognition (QRCR) designation for meeting strict standards related to the provision of respiratory care.
The Association maintains an international presence via an annual International Fellowship Program sponsored in conjunction with the American Respiratory Care Foundation. Along with the International Respiratory Congress, which attracts respiratory care professionals from around the world, the program enables the AARC and its members to promote an ongoing exchange of information that leads to better respiratory care for all.