Meet the NCCRA Board

Beth Ann Scott, MS, CES
Appalachian Regional Healthcare system




I am the Systems Operations Manager for Appalachian Regional Healthcare System’s (ARHS) Cardiopulmonary Rehab Program.  My journey as a Clinical Exercise Physiologist started in 2008 as a Graduate Student.  Since my first NCCRA Symposium, I’ve relied on the NCCRA as a resource. In 2019 I was asked if I was interested in being the next VP for the Mountain region. I was honored to have this opportunity to get involved and more connected to others in our field.  Another one of my passions is the desire to assure our patients receive the best possible care.  In the future I would like the NCCRA to remain a reliable and affordable source for CEUs.  I believe the NCCRA can help our program maintain the level of excellence our patients deserve.

Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my family, and trying to keep up with regular exercise (yoga, running, and wt. training). We have a daughter (age 6) and twin boys (age 4) whom we try to keep up with. I have enjoyed snowboarding in the past and am eager to hit the slopes with my daughter. In warmer months we like to hike, camp and go white water rafting with friends. My husband has his own business as a blade smith/knife maker and I enjoy seeing every single thing he creates – he’s an amazing artist! We love living in these mountains of Western NC and we have found an amazing community here.

We are so pleased that following the 2022 NCCRA symposium Beth Ann will be rolling into the Incoming President role.  Her movement into this new role will leave a vacancy for a Mountain region Vice President.  Please reach out to us if you are interested in applying for this position or even if you have questions about what the position entails.

Day on the Hill 2022 – we need your help!

Next week we will be partnering with AACVPR to conduct a virtual Day on the Hill and we would love for you to partner with us.
Actions that you can take:
1. Write a letter – ask your patients and providers to do the same. . AACVPR has made it easy to become an advocate for CR and PR services. Click the link below to send a pre-drafted, customizable letter to your U.S. Senator and/or Representative to educate them on the value of our services.
2. Participate in a virtual visit with your district’s representative. If you are interested in being a part of a DOTH visit please email and let her know you would like to be a part of the story telling that takes place. The goal is to have at least one constituent for each district on these calls.

Cardiac Rehab Week challenge winners!

Congratulations to Wayne UNC in Goldsboro as the Cardiac Rehab Week 2022 team challenge winner!

Thank you to the following facilities who also participated: Randolph Health, Alamance Regional, Wake Med Cary, Appalachian Regional, Vidant Medical, & Novant Health! See our Facebook page for all the wonderful pictures!











Congratulations to Lizzie Capps RN from New Hanover as our Fitness Challenge 2022 winner! She planked for 5 min 4 sec!







Also, a shout out to our judges: Ash Walker, Jennifer Simmons, and Bridget Way

Thank you all for all the hard work and enthusiasm you bring to your patients each and every day! We’re so happy that we could be a part of celebrating you this past week!

Meet the NCCRA Board

Kelly Forrest
NCCRA President

Carolina East Medical Center
New Bern, NC


Tell us what led you to run for the position on the NCCRA Board of Directors

My boss is Mike Dunlap.  Mike was a former President of the South Dakota Cardiopulmonary Rehab Association before moving to North Carolina.  He was asked to become part of the board in North Carolina and he did not hesitate.  I helped Mike plan our Regional Meetings and prepare for the State Symposium.  When he asked me to become the Coastal Region Vice President and said he would mentor me, I was excited to accept the challenge.

Please provide a bio highlighting special training, skills or hobbies that you bring to your profession and the board of directors.  Please focus on the professional qualifications and strengths

I have been a Registered Nurse for 28 years.  During that time I served in management for 14 years.  I have done trauma and kidney transplant at what is now Vidant.  I worked in PACU, Pediatrics, CVIMC and CVICU and now Cardiac Rehab at CarolinaEast Medical Center with 26 years of service to date.

I serve on many committees within our organization and have helped develop policies and new programs.  Prior to nursing, I managed a dental office and was a dental assistant. Before that, I worked in the business office at Craven County Hospital (now CarolinaEast). In high school I lived on my own, worked three jobs and was president of FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America).

Currently I serve on two town boards in my community and I co-chair a decorative painting group. I am in charge of planning and coordinating our annual Breakfast with Santa event through our hospital foundation as well as the Employee Campaign fundraiser.  My latest adventure is being a part of a team starting a new Walk With A Doc program in Craven County.

I love teaching and coaching new hires.  I love organizing and simplifying processes and bringing people together to achieve common goals.

Describe the direction that you would like NCCRA to take in the future and what part you would like to take in that journey

I would love to see NCCRA become more interactive.  Members would support each other and network with more programs to learn and share processes and information.  We would build a data resource center and have mentors ready to help programs either get started or become more efficient.

Since COVID I believe we have all had to isolate and struggle to survive.  It is time to come together, start supporting one another, networking, and becoming involved in our state and national organizations.  I want our membership to be active and engaged.  I would love to build the “Members Only” section of the website.  I would also love to have a regular newsletter or publication “FOR our members and BY our members”.  I would like every professional working in cardiac and pulmonary rehab to want to be a part of this organization not only for what they may gain from it but also for what they can contribute.

What are your interests outside of work?

Oh boy!  Recently I purchased a 30 foot camper and have learned to pull it myself.  I love camping with my friends and my two children.  We love biking and hiking and exploring new places.

I also love art and painting, crafting, do-it-yourself projects and I am learning welding and woodworking.  I love spending time with friends and family and also supporting our local animal shelter.

I have a little Yorkie, “Presley” that I rescued and sometimes I just enjoy spending time with him at the end of a long day.

Following the resignation of the incoming President, the NCCRA Board is pleased to say that Kelly has agreed to stay in the role of NCCRA president for a second term.  Thank you Kelly!!




Reminder: Cardiac Rehab Week celebration challenges

REMINDER: get your submissions for facility celebrations and staff fitness challenge in by Saturday February 19th at 4pm. The judges will announce the winners by Monday


You can either post on the NCCRA Facebook page or email Bridget Way at

This week’s addition of “Meet the Board” features your Outgoing President – Jennifer Simmons

Jennifer Simmons
Immediate Past President



Tell us what led you to run for the position on the NCCRA Board of Directors

I had been working in Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation for about 4 years before becoming involved in NCCRA.  I decided to become more involved with the organization by being the chair of the exercise discipline.  I wanted to network and have the opportunity to meet more people involved in cardiopulmonary rehabilitation programs.  After 4 years as chair, I wanted the opportunity to develop more leadership skills and learn the behind the scenes of the NCCRA; there is so much that the Board of Directors do that most members are not aware of, that is when I decided to run for Vice President of the Mountain Region and become involved on the Board of Directors.


Please provide a bio highlighting special training, skills or hobbies that you bring to your profession and the board of directors.  Please focus on the professional qualifications and strengths.

I worked in Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation at Iredell Health System and Atrium Health for a combined time of 17 years.  I have a Master of Science degree in Clinical Exercise Physiology from UNC Charlotte and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Exercise Science from Appalachian State University.  I am a Registered Clinical Exercise Physiologist through the American College of Sports Medicine.  I most currently have completed a Master’s of Education from Appalachian State University and currently teach health occupation courses at Statesville High School.  I am very task-orientated, organized, and feel accomplished when tasks are completed.  I also feel there is much value in education and those with special skills should teach and share their knowledge of those skills for our future.


Describe the direction that you would like NCCRA to take in the future and what part you would like to take in that journey.

I would like to see the NCCRA become the central hub for cardiopulmonary rehabilitation programs.  I know most programs look to AACVPR for guidance, but the NCCRA should serve as our state’s branch of the AACVPR.


What are your interests outside of work?

I like being physical active whether it is exercising by running or lifting weights or being more adventurous such as mountain biking and paddle boarding.

Cardiac Rehab Week Challenge

Join us in our first annual Cardiac Rehab Challenge in celebration of Cardiac Rehab week!

Our first challenge is an individual Staff Fitness Challenge.  Who can hold an elbow plank the longest?  Do you have what it takes?  We will be accepting submissions from all cardiac rehab staff during cardiac rehab week, Feb. 14-18th.  The winning submission will win a prize!! Please post a pic and the amount of time accrued to our NCCRA Facebook page! If you don’t have access to that, you can email Bridget Way at Any staff member can enter!

Our second challenge is a team challenge.  Which facility has the most creative Cardiac Week celebration? This could include decorations, the best game for patients, or creative educational activities!! Anything you want to do to celebrate both staff and patients during the week 🙂 The winning facility will get some awesome 2022 Cardiac Rehab swag! Please post a picture and a short description onto our Facebook page or you can email Bridget Way at

We will announce our panel of judges for the team challenge along with more prize details next week!

We hope that you will join us in some friendly cardiac rehab program competition!!

Introducing a new series “Meet your NCCRA Board members”

In the weeks leading up to the NCCRA symposium we would like for you to have the opportunity to meet the NCCRA Board members that represent you.

This week we would like to introduce you to Jeff Soukup.  Jeff is the VP of the Coastal Region.





Jeff Soukup – Coastal VP
Novant Health New Hanover Regional Medical Center
Wilmington, NC

Tell us what led you to run for the position on the NCCRA Board of Directors

My decision to get involved with NCCRA stemmed from my desire to be a part of the organization that supports cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation professionals across the state. Additionally, past professional service opportunities have provided great satisfaction to me through the building of lasting relationships and also has provided a positive challenge by working alongside others who have been very successful in their professional careers.

Please provide a bio highlighting special training, skills or hobbies that you bring to your profession and the board of directors.  Please focus on the professional qualifications and strengths

I received my doctorate in Human Performance from the University of Southern Mississippi in August 2003 after spending the previous 14 years working at Providence Hospital in Mobile, Alabama as a certified diabetes educator and cardiopulmonary rehabilitation exercise physiologist.  In 2003, I joined Appalachian State University’s Exercise Science department to begin the clinical exercise science curriculum.  In 2007, I accepted a dual appointed position as the Clinical Director of the Appalachian Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Program and Instructor at Appalachian State University where I served for 10 years prior to joining New Hanover Regional Medical Center as the Manager of the Intensive Cardiac Rehab department and Program Director for Dr. Ornish’s Program for Reversing Heart Disease.  Most recently, I became the Manager of the Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation and Wellness Programs at Novant Health New Hanover Regional Medical Center.  I held certifications from the American Association of Diabetes Educators and the National Strength and Conditioning Association and am currently certified as a Clinical Exercise Physiologist by the American College of Sports Medicine.  I served on ACSM’s Committee on Certification and Registry Boards from 2002 – 2017 serving on both the Health Fitness Specialist sub-committee and Exam Development Team sub-committees.  I was the chair of the Exam Development Team from 2011 – 2014.

Describe the direction that you would like NCCRA to take in the future and what part you would like to take in that journey.

My personal passion has always been exercise and my professional passion is clinical exercise physiology.  My hope is that I can play a role in enhancing the application of evidenced-based exercise testing and training in cardiopulmonary rehab and I believe that the interdisciplinary structure of outpatient cardiac rehabilitation is ideally situated to treat many different clinical populations.  I hope I can play a role in leading NCCRA toward the development of new programming that goes beyond cardiac and pulmonary populations.

What are your interests outside of work?

Exercise and DIY projects

NCCRA Program Survey – second phase

Your NCCRA Membership Committee is writing to let you know about an opportunity to share your insight in a short survey about program challenges and educational topics/methods. As a Cardiac and/or Pulmonary staff member, you have earned the chance to participate in this survey being conducted by NCCRA. Your responses will be invaluable for getting staff and programs across the state more support in the future, as well as helping NCCRA improve member benefits. We want to help support you while you continue to provide quality care and services to patients throughout North Carolina. The survey is anonymous.

Your input will be most helpful if received by February 15, 2022. We are looking for feedback across all disciplines. You have hopefully received an email from your program’s director or manager.  You’ll also likely get a second email from your Regional Vice President. They have been asked to share the survey link as well to ensure we can reach as many staff members as possible.

If you don’t receive an email, please let your region’s contact person or your manager know and they can get it to you.

Mountain region: Beth Ann Scott

Coastal region: Jeff Soukup

Piedmont region: Bridget Way (fill-in for survey only)


We know your time is valuable and we greatly appreciate your assistance.

New Piedmont VP candidate

We are excited to introduce you to Amy Birling, a candidate for the vacant Piedmont VP position.





Amy Birling has worked in the field of cardiac rehabilitation for over 15 years. She received her B.S. in Exercise Science from the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse. She holds several certifications including AACVPR CCRP, ACSM CEP, ACSM EP-C, ACSM EIM-Level 3, and CEPA-ASCM RCEP. Amy has worked at WakeMed Health and Hospitals for the past 15 years where, as the Cary Cardiac Rehab Program Director, has led the team to multiple PRC 5-Star Designations for Excellence in Healthcare. She has also been a recipient of WakeMed’s Circle of Excellence and Clinical Excellence Awards and is a graduate of the Aspiring Leaders Program.

When we asked Amy to briefly share her vision for Cardiopulmonary rehab and why she wants to be a regional VP and this is what she shared.

“I would be honored to be our Regional Vice President. NCCRA is an incredible organization which I am very fortunate to be a member of. NCCRA has been a valued and prominent resource for myself and my organization. Cardiac and pulmonary rehab are evolving, among other things, due to COVID-19 and technology. I believe it is critically important to evolve and think outside the box to deliver cardiac and pulmonary rehab programming in new and unique ways to meet the needs of the diverse population of patients that we are committed to serving. I consider myself a life-long learner and cannot overstate the importance of education and networking in this specialty, in which NCCRA leads the way. I want to be a part of and give my time and talent to this organization that has such an important impact on the lives of those affected by cardiac and pulmonary disease.”

If you are interested in learning more about the openings on the NCCRA Board of Directors please email us at