That’s a Wrap! Congress 2021 LIVE!

 Published: December 9, 2021

By: Debbie Bunch



With the COVID-19 pandemic still with us, the AARC made the decision to hold a virtual Congress again this year, and the final sessions took place Thursday afternoon. The Program was chocked full of lectures and presentations on the hottest topics of the day, and special events such as the annual Awards Ceremony and Flag Folding Ceremony went on as planned too.


Time was even built into to the sessions to allow attendees to network with each other — and with the leading speakers who were there to bring therapists up to speed on the latest developments, including those related to COVID-19.

Here’s a quick look at the major events that took place over the four days of AARC Congress 2021 LIVE! –

The Keynotes

Scott DabbeneTiffany Christensen.

The Congress opened on Dec. 1 with an inspirational talk by cystic fibrosis patient and patient advocate Tiffany Christensen, who shared her experiences with the disease (including two double-lung transplants), along with her passion for integrating patient and family perspectives into patient care and resolving the issues surrounding systemic racism in health care as a whole.

Scott DabbeneShawn Harper.

Former NFL offensive lineman Shawn Harper, who played for the Rams, Oilers, Colts, and NFL Europe over his seven year football career, came to the stage during the Closing Ceremony to talk to RTs about leadership and success, focusing on how evaluating your own belief systems can help lift you out of a “stuck” position and into the career of your dreams.

The Plenaries

The 9th Thomas L. Petty Memorial Lecture addressed the changing definition and perception of COPD. David Mannino, MD, filled attendees in on the work being done by the COPDGene Project, which has led to an expansion of spirometric definitions for the disease and supported the use of other metrics in diagnosis as well, including radiographic findings and patient symptoms. The upshot, according to Dr. Mannino, is that COPD can have varying manifestations that require different interventions.

Richard Kallet, MS, RRT, FAARC, delivered the annual Robert M. Kacmarek Scientific Memorial Lecture, focusing on the topic, “Mechanical Ventilation in ARDS Quo Vadis?” Kallet reviewed the history of mechanical ventilation for ARDS, highlighting controversies that have long reigned, then delved into new developments that have changed the landscape of care for patients, including NIV, HFNC, and ECMO. He ended his talk by asking the question, “Where are we going?” and offered several insights into the answer.

Airway care for our youngest patients was highlighted during the 37th Phil Kittredge Memorial Lecture, delivered by Teresa Volsko, MBA, RRT, FAARC. She went over the anatomic and physiologic characteristics that must be taken into consideration with the pediatric population and reviewed the equipment and techniques that can be used to ensure safe and effective care when managing the airways of infants and children.



The OPEN FORUM kicked off with the Editor’s Choice Session, which featured the top eight abstracts accepted to the Forum in 2021. Each of the authors presented their work presentations and then took questions from Congress participants. Topics this year ranged from “Use of Continuous Albuterol in a Pathway for Treatment of Pediatric Acute Asthma” to “Increased Risk of Post Extubation Stridor with COVID-19 Pneumonia” and more.

The rest of the Forum unfolded over the four days of the meeting, with well over 100 sessions divided into subject areas. Congress-goers learned more about aerosol and oxygen therapy, pulmonary disease, neonatal-pediatrics, mechanical ventilation, mechanical ventilation and tracheostomy, education, and management from their peers here in the U.S. and around the world.

The Exhibit Hall

Vendors displayed their wares in a virtual exhibit hall that ran every day of the meeting in the afternoons. Attendees got the chance to see what’s new in respiratory care and even network with company representatives, who answered questions about their technology and how it can benefit patients. All the virtual booths are available until March 4, 2022, so if you missed something, or just want to take another look, go here. (Only registrants can view).

AARC Congress 2021 LIVE! was approved for 17.39 CRCEs. Go here to claim your credits, submit them, and generate your certificate.

Attendees who purchased the Full Bundle or Single Day registration will have On-Demand Access to all presentations aligned with their purchase from December 10, 2021 – March 4, 2022. To access the On-Demand videos, login to the event platform, click on sessions, choose the title, and click play. If you did not attend the live event, you can still purchase On-Demand Access, but please note that On-Demand Access is not available for CRCE.
Many thanks to Fisher & Paykel, Sentec, and Monaghan for their generous support of the AARC Congress this year.

Email with questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you.

Debbie Bunch

Debbie Bunch is an AARC contributor who writes feature articles, news stories, and other content for Newsroom, the AARC website, and associated emailed newsletters. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, traveling, photography, and spending time with her children and grandchildren. Connect with Debbie by email or on AARConnect or LinkedIn.

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