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!!