The Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, TN, was flooded with respiratory professionals last week, as the AARC hosted its International Respiratory Congress. Attendees came for the continuing education and got the chance to take advantage of unparalleled networking opportunities created by the collegial atmosphere and thousands of clinicians who gathered for the event as well.
With 139 sessions to choose from, there was something for everyone on the Program, and the Exhibit Hall was packed with the latest in respiratory technology. Everyone enjoyed plenty of downtime with friends and colleagues at the Welcome Party and the Sputum Bowl competition too.
Day One: Off and Running
The meeting kicked off on Sunday with a welcome address by AARC President Carl Hinkson, MSc, RRT, RRT-ACCS, RRT-NPS, FAARC, who shared his vision for the upcoming year and unveiled a new brand and logo for the Association designed to take the AARC into the rest of the 2020s and beyond.
The Keynote Address was up next, and well-known organizational consultant Sharon Newport, CAE, proved to be the perfect person to get the Congress off to a rousing start. Attendees came away with new insights into how they can align the ME with the WE in their careers to unleash the power of the individual and the community to transform lives and make a lasting impact.
Immediately following the keynote, Congress-goers headed to the Exhibit Hall, where leaders in the Association cut the ribbon and ushered everyone in to begin exploring all that respiratory technology has to offer. All the major companies in the business were on hand this year to show off their products and services, talk with attendees about how they could add value to the care they deliver to their patients, and make plans for follow up visits after the meeting.
The Open Forum got underway mid-morning, with the first of what would be 200 poster and abstract presentations in sessions focusing on everything from respiratory diagnostics and neonatal/pediatrics to education and management. This annual presentation of hands on research conducted by and for respiratory professionals is always among the best attended events at the meeting, and 2023 was no exception.
The first day of the meeting ended with the Association’s annual Awards Ceremony, where leaders in the AARC, NBRC, ARCF, and CoARC honored those among us who have gone above and beyond for the profession.
Richard H. Kallet, MS, RRT, FAARC, FCCM, received the AARC’s highest honor, the Jimmy A. Young Medal, for the major impact he has made in critical care research over his long career, which included a stint as research coordinator for ARDSnet, the federally funded program widely recognized for helping to improve care for patients with the acute respiratory distress syndrome.
Days Two and Three: Packed with Continuing Education and More
Lectures, symposia, and networking opportunities continued in full force on Monday and Tuesday, with Congress-goers fanning out across the Gaylord to learn more about the topics that most closely pertain to their jobs at home and investigate new areas of interest as well.
Attendees had the chance to sit in on the Annual Business meeting Monday morning, where they heard reports from AARC leaders, the ARCF, the Board of Medical Advisors, and the House of Delegates. Leaders then reviewed old business and introduced new business.
- New officers and directors were installed during the session as well, including AARC President-Elect Dana Evans, MHA, RRT, RRT-NPS, FACHE, FAARC, who will work closely with President Hinkson over the coming year to prepare for her tenure as president in 2025-2026.
The first plenary session of the meeting took place mid-afternoon, as Carolyn Rochester, MD, FCCP, delivered the 11th Thomas L Petty Memorial Lecture.
In a talk called “New Concepts in the Diagnosis and Management of COPD,” she brought attendees up-to-date on recommendations in the 2023 GOLD Guidelines and how they can put those recommendations to work in their practices. Chief among them is a renewed focus on pulmonary rehabilitation and how it can make a significant impact on people living with chronic lung disease.
Wednesday started off with an inspiring Flag Folding Ceremony honoring those in the profession who have served or are currently serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. The ceremony was conducted by RT veterans of service and active duty service members, who awed the audience with their precision and reverence in carrying out the folding of the flag.
The Open Forum Editor’s Choice session was up next with presentations on the top abstracts submitted to the Forum this year. The session was packed, as Congress-goers came to hear the authors give short talks on their work and then answer questions from the audience on the significance of their studies.
The second plenary session of the meeting featured Michael Klompas, MD, MPH, who delivered the 3rd Robert M. Kacmarek Scientific Memorial Lecture, titled “Ventilator Associated Pneumonia, COVID-19, and the Path Forward.” Dr. Klompas zeroed in on the current state-of-the-art regarding ventilator-associated pneumonia and ventilator-associated event definitions, offering valuable insights on these often conflicting and confusing concepts and how they have been impacted by the pandemic.
Tuesday ended with a time-honored tradition in the Association dating back to the 1970s — the Annual Sputum Bowl Finals. Teams from across the country who had won in preliminary rounds earlier in the week came together to battle it out for the top prizes in front of an audience ready to cheer their favorites on to victory.
In the end, these teams came out on top and were hailed by all for their respiratory expertise: First place, Texas Society Champs; Second Place, Face Down Sats Up, and Third Place, No VAP November.
Day Four: The Final Sessions
Congress-goers arrived for the last day of the meeting ready to scoop up more continuing education credits and enjoy the company of their colleagues.
Wednesday also saw the final plenary session, as Natalie Napolitano, MPH, RRT, RRT-NPS, FAARC, shared her expertise in the pediatric ventilation space during the 39th Phil Kittredge Memorial Lecture. In a session titled “To Intubate or Not? That is the Question—Determining NIV Failure in Pediatrics,” she presented evidence on NIV failure and covered the pros and cons of continuing NIV vs. moving on to intubation and invasive mechanical ventilation.
While the Exhibit Hall closed on Tuesday, the best exhibits of the meeting were honored with special awards. Aerogen, 561 went home with Best in Show in the Over 200 Feet category, with Hamilton, 641 taking second place and Monaghan, 509 taking third. Best in Show in the 200 Square Feet and Under category went to Draeger, 341, with Sentec, 514 receiving second place and Airgas Therapeutics, 921 third.
AARC Congress 2023 came to an end with a great Closing Ceremony address called “Breaking the Glass Ceiling!” delivered by Joel Brown, MSM-HCA, RRT, FAARC. Brown drew on his wealth of experience in leadership coaching to help RTs identify the real and perceived barriers that may be holding them back in their careers and the proven tactics they can use to master career advancing strategies.
Attendees left the session inspired to take all they had learned at the Congress back home and put it to work not only in planning their own career paths but also in helping to improve the care they deliver to their patients every day.
Attendees, claim your credits!
AARC Congress 2023 was approved for 20.43 CRCE and attendees may go here to claim their credits and generate their certificate.
AARC Congress 2023 would not have been possible without the generous support of our friends in industry. Thank-you to our 2023 AARC Corporate Partners, Avanos, Philips, Medtronic, Aerogen, Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, Masimo, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, Linde, and Medline + Hudson RCI, who help make events like the AARC Congress a reality.
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