Emerging Professionals — The Future of the Industry, Live and in Person


Emerging Professionals — The Future of the Industry, Live and in Person

By the AACVPR Student Task Force

When Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation professionals convene for an AACVPR Annual Meeting, oftentimes the demographic is skewed toward those who have had experience in the field. More recently, however, we have noticed a slight, albeit important, shift in the makeup of the AACVPR Annual Meeting attendee pool. The shift isn’t necessarily earthshattering, nor is it particularly unique to AACVPR, but it’s one that AACVPR has committed to addressing proactively.

More and more, prospective and new-to-the-field professionals are coming to AACVPR, looking for guidance. AACVPR has determined to utilize a catch-all definition for this knowledge-seeking group: “Emerging Professionals.”

For quite some time, AACVPR has had an option to join the organization as a Student Member. This membership category has traditionally captured both pre- and post-graduate students pursuing a degree in exercise science, nursing or other industry-related areas. Benefits were limited compared to Professional or EducationAdvantage Members, and pricing was adjusted as such.

Several years ago, AACVPR leaders took a step back to examine this area of its membership and realized there was room for improvement. Certainly, the benefits package matched the price and the definition of who would qualify was sound. However, several questions were asked: Were the benefits aligned with the student demographic in terms of value? Did the price of admission justify the outcome for the individual? Was this a model that should define an individual by their “status” or their “need”?

Fast forward to 2018 and progress in this area has been measurable, to say the least. AACVPR methodically chose to highlight the Annual Meeting as an in-person event that carries value for individuals who are students and/or new to the field. What better way to create personal connections, hear from industry experts, meet colleagues and learn best practices and industry trends in one compact event? AACVPR’s Program Planning Committee took it upon themselves to create a dedicated two-session track for Emerging Professionals, focusing on basics like developing a scientific poster and how professional associations can help your career. These two lunch sessions were well attended and well received. Additionally, AACVPR continues to provide “onsite buddies” to those who are first-timers or new to the field. This means that newer members have a friendly face to guide them through the Annual Meeting, as well as provide dedicated networking time during a reception in which they can interact with each other and AACVPR leadership. The emphasis here is on networking and outreach.

One of the greatest developments has been the inclusion of our international attendee pool. We find more and more that individuals travelling from abroad fall into this demographic, primarily either as research students or those building rehab programs from scratch in developing nations. While AACVPR supports international attendance annually through a series of scholarships, we could not have assumed the synergy between our international attendee pool and our domestic Emerging Professional pool unless we saw it first-hand.

So what’s next? AACVPR, after four years of methodical buildup, will be discussing the trends and needs of this population and begin to implement change. We anticipate change coming in the form of many areas of the association — membership restructuring, education and resource development, new networking opportunities that are both virtual and in-person, and an emphasis on providing guidance to those who need it early on in their cardiac/pulmonary rehab careers. All of this is to support the ultimate goal of proactively advancing the industry as our newest constituents begin to shape it.

If you are reading this as an “Emerging Professional” and have thoughts about what AACVPR can offer you, tell us! We need your feedback. Reach out to AACVPR Headquarters with your suggestions — we’re listening!


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