We have a Winner! Stephen Russell

The NYSSRC is proud to announce that Stephen Russell, a senior RT student at Erie Community College (ECC) in Buffalo, is our essay contest winner. This is the second year that RT students in New York have had the opportunity to participate. The essay consists of a 750-1000 word paper describing why the student believes that advocating for our patients and our profession is important and what they would do given the opportunity. The winning student will participate in the AARC’s PACT (Political Action Contact Team) in Washington DC on April 1st.

The PACT team is busy making appointments with their Congressman and Senators to educate them on HR 2619-Medicare Respiratory Therapist Access Act. HR 2619 would amend the Medicare Part B statute to include reimbursement for “pulmonary self-management education and training services” furnished by a qualified RT in the physician practice setting for patients diagnosed with COPD, asthma, pulmonary hypertension, pulmonary fibrosis, and cystic fibrosis.

In January the NYSSRC solicited the RT Program Directors in New York to ask for their support and roll this out to their students. The essays were blinded and sent to a NYSSRC committee to review and grade with a standard rubric. The 3 semi-finalists were then sent to the AARC’s Executive Committee to review and choose the finalist. This year the contest was so close Shawna Strickland, AARC Associate Executive Director of Education said “Wow! This was such a tough decision! I wish you were able to fund them both.” Shawna was speaking of what a difficult decision it was to choose between two of our finalists. One of the goals of the NYSSRC is to mentor students in a meaningful way. We believe that by integrating them into what we do will give them a sense of ownership to go back and share that with others. In Stephen’s essay he said, “Having first-hand knowledge of how the advancement of our field is advocated for, I will be well suited to navigate future endeavors as an ambassador for respiratory therapists nationwide.”

Stephen will graduate from ECC in May. Please join the NYSSRC in congratulating Stephen and all of this year’s participants for their time and dedication to their new field. The NYSSRC will also sponsor a student to participate in a House of Delegates Meeting in Las Vegas this fall.