Meet Your Trustee: Joe Lewarski
Joe has been working in healthcare for 34 years and has been a respiratory therapist for 32 of those years. He is an RRT and a Fellow of the American Association for Respiratory Care (FAARC). He holds undergraduate degrees in respiratory therapy and business administration and a master’s degree in healthcare administration. Joe has held numerous senior management and executive leadership positions in a variety of healthcare organizations and environments, including acute care, homecare, pharmacy, and medical device companies. Joe is a past AARC Homecare Section Chair and served two terms on the AARC board of directors, including a term as Vice President of External Affairs and a past recipient of the ARCF award for excellence in homecare.
How do you feel you are connected to respiratory care?
I have been a respiratory therapist most of my adult life and have had the opportunity to work in hospitals, post-acute care and the medical device industry, while concurrently working with leading academic, clinical and healthcare thought leaders who helped mentor and guide me on this journey. The profession has led me down an interesting path and I have been very fortunate that my love and interest in this important field of medicine has allowed me so many opportunities.
What do you believe the Foundation brings to the profession and why did you decide to take on the trustee role?
I think the Foundation mission statement says it all, the ARCF is “dedicated to promoting respiratory health through the support of research, education, and patient-focused philanthropic activities in respiratory care.” Respiratory therapy is my profession and believe it is critical to actively support and contribute to the profession in any way you can. I was humbled by the opportunity to be a trustee and hope my experience and passion bring value to the organization and help continue drive the mission of the organization.
What do you believe are the most important goals for the Foundation to accomplish over the next few years and why?
Healthcare is a very complex and dynamic environment. The adage “what got you here won’t get you there” truly applies. Evidence-based, outcome focused care that is cost effective requires changes in practice and behaviors. Pulmonary disease is at the center of this issue and the respiratory therapist a critical player. Expanding the role of the respiratory therapist will require advanced training and education, along with evidenced-based research. Promoting and helping to fund these activities through awards, scholarships and grants is more important now than ever.
What would you like rank and file RTs to know about their Foundation and why do you believe it is important for them to support it?
The Foundation, it’s leadership and the organizations and individuals that support it through funding are fully committed to the mission, which is more than a statement but is really a culture and belief system that is critical to keep the momentum and advancement of the profession. Supporting the Foundation is to support the future of the respiratory therapy and respiratory health.
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