Our Founders and Board Members

The Founders

Both Drs. Kappel and Polack have vast experience in the training of communication and medical protocols necessary to provide a first class trauma system. They individually have over 30 years experience as surgeons specializing in reimplantation. Through the years, this has included daily interaction with medical commands from various locations, as well as EMS communications and direction of complicated patients. They have been intimately involved in triage, transfer, and transport decisions for these patients. Drs. Polack and Kappel have published manuscripts in the communication field and also contributed to curriculum and education for health care systems. They are both Clinical Professors in the Department of Surgery at West Virginia University.

Dr. Kappel is presently co-chairman of the West Virginia State Trauma Advisory Council (STAC) and has acted in this capacity since 1998. He also serves on numerous other Trauma Committees in West Virginia and the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma. He is closely involved in the Medical Policy and Care Committee which has oversight of all EMS Policies and Procedures.

Dr. Polack is a past Governor of the West Virginia Chapter of the American College of Surgeons. Within West Virginia, has been a member of STAC [State Trauma Advisory Council] and a committee member of the Emergency Medical Services, Inc. Region 10/11 Critical Care Committee. Dr Polack is a recognized authority in Communication and has lectured extensively on the topic of Medical Communication. He has authored numerous monographs, book chapters and two textbooks in medical communication.


Board Members

Sue Johnson-Phillippe, a RETI Board Member, is President and CEO of St. Joseph’s Hospital in Buckhannon, West Virginia. Prior to her move to West Virginia, she was appointed by the Governor of New Mexico to the State Trauma Executive Board and has worked in pre-hospital and trauma care throughout her career.


West Virginia

Rural Emergency Trauma Institute Inc.

2265 Market Street, Wheeling, WV 26003


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Our Founders