Kari Woodruff, BSRC, RRT, RRT-NPS, FAARC
Member Since: 1996
Elections Committee Questions:
What AARC or Chartered Affiliate offices/positions have you held where you feel you made a significant contribution to our profession? What is the contribution and how will you apply it to your new position, if elected?
As President of the Colorado Society for Respiratory Care, I felt I made the most impact by starting the first affiliate student chapter. I strongly believed involvement in our society started from the ground up. We were at a point where we had many recycled board members and the same volunteers, some of which were taking different paths in their careers. With the help of several incredibly enthusiastic students, we developed structure, created bylaws, and raised funds to get the group started. The student chapter has now thrived for 10 years providing a volunteer force for the CSRC, strengthening our patient chapter engagement, serving on the board, and most of all engaging other students and practitioners they interact with. This group has expanded over recent years into conference and AARC house involvement as well. I feel strongly that this model can be introduced in other states to increase engagement and professionalism throughout the AARC.
What experience would you bring to the AARC to accomplish the goals set out by President Walsh?
I feel that I align myself most with President Walsh’s third domain of adding value to our profession by promoting professional growth, awareness, and community presence. I have worked hard through activities with the CSRC to increase awareness of respiratory therapists and the value they add to health care. I have been very involved with Colorado’s patient chapter, a group of patients from various patient advocacy groups in the state. I helped develop structure and conduits for these groups by aligning them with the student chapter and increasing the society involvement in various patient awareness efforts, such as organizing and assisting with awareness walks, health fairs, educational booths at the state capital, and patient educational events such as Tom Petty’s Moving Mountains Conferences. This alignment has not only raised the professional level of the RTs involved, but it has increased the level of advocacy with the support of patients we serve.
What ideas do you have to attract non-members to join the AARC?
As a part of the membership committee, I recognize there are so many routes to engage non-members. I truly believe we need to start at the affiliate level with recruiting new members and retaining current active and student members. When therapists see the local benefits of membership, they are more likely to wrap their arms around it. Once they grasp the local benefit, they then begin to learn the vast resources the AARC has to offer. Many affiliates are struggling to provide benefits and obtain engagement in their states. We need to assist these states so they have the tools to do so easily. Many affiliates have best practices that can be modeled in all other states to provide more benefits. Examples include: Student/patient chapters, grants/mentoring/advocacy programs, leadership workshops/forums. Many more are shared in the House but never duplicated. We can assist states in creating similar programs to boost member benefits locally.
How would you, as a member of the AARC Executive Committee, work to move the profession forward based on the work done by our current and previous presidents?
We need to engage current members in moving the profession forward, working toward raising the bar. There is a lot of resistance within the profession that needs to be overcome so that we are seen as “professionals” rather than just a “trade.” I see my role as engaging these individuals, rallying the troops, involving more in advocacy issues, working toward that advanced care practitioner role to provide more respiratory services to our patients both in and out of the hospital setting. Health care is moving toward keeping patients out of the hospital. Who better to manage them than a respiratory therapist!