AARC Congress Went Virtual for 2020

 Published: December 9, 2020

By: Addie Schiefer


Good Press:

In 2020, we experienced several historic events. One of those being the first ever virtual Congress, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Though we weren’t in person, this year’s conference proved to be a testament of the strength of the respiratory therapy community. Together, you save lives. Together, we are #RTSTRONG.

RTs Focus Forward

Congress LIVE! started out with a bang as RTs listened to Opening Keynote speaker Nisha Mehta, MD. Nisha discussed access to adequate PPE, sickness amongst clinicians, and emotional trauma contributed to rising burnout and clinician shortages during the pandemic. Attendees then had the opportunity to discuss these topics with Nisha in a Zoom Q&A.

Get Rid of the BS!

During the Closing Keynote attendees heard from Risha Grant as she discussed implicit bias in the workplace. Grant challenged the audience to be open-minded and challenge themselves during the Keynote. Grant explained that as a society we shouldn’t view diversity as abnormal. She went on to lay the foundation of how to practice diversity and inclusion in every day life.

Plenty Attendees at Plenary Lectures

Robert Owens, MD, presented Long-Term Domiciliary Noninvasive Ventilation for COPD during the 8th Thomas L. Petty Memorial Lecture. Dr. Owens discussed the utility of NIV domiciliary care for the prevention of COPD exacerbation and compared and contrasted the use of traditional NIV and high intensity NIV on patient comfort and gas exchange.

Dean Hess PhD, RRT, FAARC, discussed Evidence Based Respiratory Care during the 47th Donald F. Egan Scientific Memorial Lecture. During this lecture Dr. Hess compared studies, discussed the best available evidence for respiratory care practice, and more.

Thomas Piraino, RRT, FCSRT, FAARC, discussed Noninvasive Respiratory Support during the 36th Phil Kittredge Memorial Lecture. Piraino compared and contrasted HFNC and NIV for the treatment of hypoxemia and hypercarbic respiratory failure. He also compared and contrasted HFNC and NIV for avoiding re-intubation.

An RT Walks into a Chat Room

At Congress 2020 LIVE! making connections looked a little different. Hundreds of RTs participated in our Zoom chats after the sessions where they engaged in discussions with the speakers. These chats turned out to be a huge and unexpected hit for the conference. RTs enjoyed seeing one another. They discussed the lecture topics in depth, and even made plans to collaborate outside of Congress.

OPEN FORUM – Huge Hit!

Good Press:

Attendees crammed into zoom rooms to discuss 120 different presentations over the course of the four day conference. Researchers and clinicians presented their findings from studies related to pulmonary function testing, pulmonary disease, homecare, and equipment. The findings were especially impressive this year. While OPEN FORUM presentations are not available for On Demand viewing, you can check out the abstracts online at RESPIRATORY CARE.

A Unique Booth Experience

Congress may have been virtual this year, but we still managed to have our iconic AARC booth. The booth allowed Congress goers to chat with one another and AARC staff along with looking at the many different parts of the association. Those who visited the booth were able to get an introduction to some of the new initiatives coming to the association in 2021. Check out the AARC Booth and others under the Exhibit Hall tab.

Virtual Photo Booth

Good Press:

Inside the AARC booth, participants were able to access the Virtual Photo Booth where they were able to share their personal environment and experience during Congress LIVE! through their own photos.

See all the photos from the photo booth on Facebook.

Yummy Recipes and Relaxation

Something that was included in this year’s Congress that hasn’t been present in the past, were Fun Food and Mind Breaks. AARC staff and volunteers prepared videos that were played during intermissions between lectures. These videos included staff showing off their favorite recipes from their own kitchens. Recipes like chocolate cake for one and salsa verde. Attendees were also able to take a mental and physical break through yoga and other relaxation activities led by AARC members. Access the Fun Food and Mind Breaks for these neat tips.

Annual Flag Folding Ceremony

Good Press:

The AARC made sure to include the flag folding ceremony virtually this year. Many Congress attendees were able to express their feelings during the ceremony through a live chat. Attendees expressed their gratitude for the ceremony.

A special shoutout to Wadie Williams, Jr, MS, RRT, CerAT, MEMS, FAARC, Joseph Buhain, EdD, RRT, FAARC, and Michael DePeralta, MBA, RRT, RCP, PDE, for conducting the ceremony.

Annual AARC/ARCF Award Ceremony – With a Twist!

For the first time ever the AARC/ARCF Award Ceremony was held online on the AARC Facebook and YouTube accounts. This allowed anyone and everyone to join in on the ceremony. Members were awarded with various prestigious awards from the Jimmy A. Young Medal to the National Patient Advocacy Award. Several members shared that they became emotional while watching what all RTs have accomplished this past year. Didn’t get a chance to watch? Watch the award show now on YouTube or Facebook.

Watch On Demand

Attendees: Login to Congress LIVE! and select On Demand Video for continued access to the session videos. On Demand is not available for CRCE credit.

Claim Your CRCE

To add, evaluate, and claim credit for the sessions you attended at AARC Congress 2020 please access the CRCE Manager site at https://aarccm.mosaic-mobile.net/. It will save your progress when any updates are made. After you have claimed credit for all sessions attended for the entire event, use the final step to Submit and Generate your Certificate. Deadline for submission is Feb. 5, 2021.

Save the Date: Congress 2021

Good Press:

Send Your Proposal – Deadline Dec. 18

Is there a topic you feel is vital for the profession? Let us know! Send your proposal for 2021 Summer Forum and Congress.

Email newsroom@aarc.org with questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you.

Addie Schiefer

Addie Schiefer is the Content Manager for the AARC where she creates engaging content for the association via the AARC website, newsletters, and social media. Connect with her about potential stories by email, AARConnect, or LinkedIn. When she’s not working, you can find her listening to a true crime podcast, traveling to new places with her husband, hanging out with her dog JoJo, or browsing the aisles of the nearest Target.

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