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Exceeding Virtually All Expectations with High Country Conference on Respiratory Care

Mar 23, 2021 3:32:22 PM / by Brooke Kochanski

In February 2021, a year into the Pandemic, the 35th Annual High Country Conference on Respiratory Care was held the first year as a virtual webinar. The event, held February 17-18, 2021, is designed BY respiratory therapists FOR respiratory therapists and students. Participants were provided with high-quality education sessions led by experts in the field. 


Knowing that this year was one for the books for respiratory therapists and their time was extremely valuable during the pandemic, we packed up-to-date and relevant information into the two-day conference. This year the conference days were split by focus, with Day 1 addressing adult topics and Day 2 concentrating on pediatrics. Topics like High Flow and COVID-19, Vaping, Pediatric Cystic Fibrosis, and  Asthma were covered by speakers from Duke University Medical Center, Wake Forest Baptist Health, Wilkes Community College, Atrium Health Levine Children's Hospital, and Catawba Valley Community College. 

Participants and speakers both commented about the success of the program:

"The presenters were amazing, you continue to provide excellent
and informative content." 

"I am grateful for the online conference during this pandemic,
the surge of online availability is a gift!"

"I always enjoy this conference, year after year, the speakers are great. Great job!"

"It was above my expectations, the entire conference was excellent
and the technology worked perfectly."

"You guys put on a great conference, I know the burden of making it all remote
was probably stressful. You knocked it out of the park! Kudos!"


On the post survey there were many comments about the program but we also like to see how the High Country Conference will improve daily work of participants. See results below:

highcountry survey


Special Thanks to our Planning Committee Members and Staff who worked to make this conference a success!

Since May of 2020, the committee and Northwest AHEC staff were hard at work planning the conference. Each member contributed to the group by sharing their professional experience and expertise. Committee members were responsible for assisting with program planning, selecting session topics, recommending presenters, disseminating information and soliciting feedback to share with the team. Even with the conference being held virtually, everyone remained involved throughout both days.

Meet the People behind the Annual High Country Conference on Respiratory Care

David R. Capraun, MSHS, RRT, RCP
Past Director
Respiratory Care Services
W.G. (Bill) Hefner VA Med. Center
Committee Member Since 2007

Phillip Christmas, RRT
Respiratory Care
Kindred Hospital Greensboro  
Committee Member Since 2012

Jason Elder, BS, RRT/RCP
Program Director
Respiratory Therapy Program
Catawba Valley Community College
Committee Member Since 2007

Nikonya (Nikki) Godwin, BSRT, RRT, RCP
Director of Clinical Education
Respiratory Therapy Program
Catawba Valley Community College
Committee Member Since 2020


Maria Hiller, RCP, RRT
Cardiopulmonary Department
Appalachian Regional Healthcare System 
Committee Member Since 2011

Laurie E. Hunt MS, RRT, RCP
Retired (as of July 2017)
Committee Member Since 1994

Kim Metzler, BSRT, RRT, RCP
Pulmonary Specialist
Wake Forest Baptist Health – Wilkes Medical Center
Committee Member Since 2011

Jimmy Phillips, RRT-NPS, RCP
System Director of Cardiopulmonary, Neurodiagnostic,
and Sleep Services
Appalachian Regional Healthcare System
Committee Member Since 1995

Northwest AHEC Staff

Lindsey MacLean, MPH, CHES®
Coordinator of Allied and Public Health
Continuing Education at Northwest AHEC

High Country Conference
Coordinator Since 2017

Gail Pawlik, BA
Program Assistant at Northwest AHEC

High Country Conference
Lead Program Assistant Since 2017


Save the date for the High Country Conference next year in February 2022! 


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Tags: respiratory care

Brooke Kochanski

Written by Brooke Kochanski

Marketing & Communications Specialist at Northwest AHEC

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