The designation as a Legend of Respiratory Care is an honor bestowed upon an individual who changed the respiratory care profession through:
* Scientific achievements and/or inventions of historical significance that revolutionized, or remarkably enhanced the delivery of respiratory care;
* Recognized professional achievements related to the clinical practice, education, or the science of respiratory care, publication of scientific articles or other activities bringing significant, sustained career recognition;
* Sustained personal service, representation, or advocacy on behalf of the respiratory care profession, and/or individual’s creativity or ideas that resulted in historic advancement of the profession or its professional societies; and
* Singularly distinctive individual actions during historic professional events, above and beyond reasonable expectations, that resulted in advancement of respiratory care and/or resolution of a significant crisis or issue facing the profession.
Nominations are solicited from the AARC, ARCF, CoARC and NBRC. Nominations must be supported by two-thirds of the agency’s governing board. After receipt of the combined roster of nominees, a review committee elects the requisite number of Legends of Respiratory Care.
Vivian Ray Bennett, was an inventor who developed a gas delivery system that incorporated a jeweled pneumatic valve. Bennett received multiple patents for his ventilator components and patient connection devices. His patented valve was first incorporated in a Bennett Pressure Breathing Unit in 1948 and utilized in early respiration units including the TV2P, PR-1, PR-2, AP-4, and AP-5.
Bennett founded V. Ray Bennett and Associates Ventilator Company in Santa Monica CA in the early 1940s. His valve and early ventilator devices were initially used in the treatment of polio in southern California and significantly improved the survival of polio patients compared to polio patients ventilated in iron lungs.
In 1957, the Puritan Company acquired V. Ray Bennett and Associates Ventilator Company and emerged as Puritan Bennett Respiration Products, Inc.
Forrest M. Bird, PhD, MD was an aviator, inventor, scientist, and biomedical engineer.
Following his service in the Army Air Corps where he was a technical air training officer, Forrest Bird earned his medical degree and began developing a number of medical devices. In 1955, he developed the Bird Universal Medical Respirator. A number of Bird ventilators were introduced including the Babybird respirator in1969.
Dr. Bird was a recipient of the Jimmy A. Young Medal, the AARC’s highest honor.
President George W. Bush presented Dr. Bird the Presidential Citizens Medal in December 2008. President Barach Obama presented Dr. Bird the National Medal of Science and Technology, the nation’s highest honor for science and technology in October 2009.
Click here to view the August 30, 2009 CBS 60 Minutes Interview with Morley Safer: “The Birdman of Idaho” : http://www.cbsnews.com/news/forrest-bird-the-birdman-of-idaho/
Donald Francis Egan, MD served as the first Medical Director of the Inhalation Therapy Department at Yale University. He helped establish one of the first inhalation therapy schools in the country. In 1968 he relocated to Connecticut to head the Pulmonary Disease Department at New Britain General Hospital.
Dr. Egan authored the first comprehensive textbook on inhalation therapy. Fundamentals of Inhalation Therapy was published by Mosby in 1969. It contained 474 pages. Egan’s Fundamentals of Respiratory Care, a standard textbook in most respiratory care programs, is now in its 10th edition.
Although this self-taught inventor never completed high school, J.H. “Jack” Emerson’s creativity and inventive designs resulted in 35 US patents for biomedical devices and diving equipment.
Emerson invented major modifications to the iron lung respirator and added important safety features. A patent dispute with Drinker resulted. (Not only did Drinker lose the lawsuit, Drinker’s patent for the iron lung respirator was rescinded.) Emerson’s original iron lung,” Old Number One,” is displayed in the National Museum of American History of the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.
Sam Giordano, MBA, RRT, FAARC Giordano joined the AAIT in 1964. He served as President in 1980. In 1981, Giordano was hired as Executive Director of the AARC, a position he held until his retirement in 2012.
Giordano was a true visionary for the Association and the respiratory care profession and was instrumental in leading the AARC into the international arena.
Among the numerous awards Giordano has received are the Jimmy A.Young Medal, the highest honor awarded by the AARC and the Héctor León Garza Achievement Award for Excellence in International Respiratory Care.
H. Fred Helmholz, Jr. MD was a graduate of John Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1937. Dr. Helmholz was a researcher in circulatory and respiratory physiology at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota from 1943-1967. He served as the Medical Director of Inhalation Therapy at Mayo Clinic.
Dr. Helmholz was actively involved in all aspects of the respiratory care profession: accreditation, credentialing, and education. Dr. Helmholz was a recipient of the Jimmy A. Young Medal, the highest honor awarded by the AARC. Dr. Helmholz was a published poet and a beloved, long-time judge of the AARC’s Sputum Bowl.
Sister M. Yvonne Jenn was one of the nine incorporators of the American Registry of Inhalation Therapists (now NBRC). In November 1960, Sister M. Yvonne Jenn became the first Registered Inhalation Therapist in the USA.
She was a CRNA and served as a program director of the Franciscan Skemp School of Nurse Anesthesia in La Crosse, WI. Sister Yvonne served on the AAIT Board of Directors and served as Executive Director of the American Registry of Inhalation Therapists. The NBRC’s highest award in named in her honor: the Sister Mary Yvonne Jenn, CRNA, RRT Lifetime Achievement Award.
In 1947, Brother Roland Maher was one of the five incorporators of the Inhalation Therapy Association (now AARC).
Brother Maher was the first person to serve as Assistant Chairman (now Vice-President) of the ITA and served multiple elected terms as President of the Association:1949-1951 and 1953-1954. Brother Maher received the Jimmy A. Young Medal, the highest honor awarded by the AARC.
George A. Kneeland was one of the five incorporators of the Inhalation Therapy Association (now AARC) in 1947.
He was the first to hold the office of Chairman (now President) of the ITA in 1947-1948. Kneeland received the Jimmy A. Young Medal, the highest honor awarded by the AARC.
Thomas L. Petty, MD was a pulmonologist who published over 800 journal articles in journals and authored or edited over 45 books or editions.
Dr. Petty was Professor Emeritus of Medicine at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver and Emeritus Professor of Medicine at National Jewish Medical & Research Center.
Dr. Petty and his colleagues were among the first to research ARDS and the first to use PEEP in its treatment. He also was instrumental in using long-term home oxygen therapy for the management of COPD and for demonstrating the benefits of pulmonary rehabilitation programs. He was a true patient advocate and answered questions from patients in Ask Dr. Tom on the AARC’s Your Lung Health website.
Dr. Petty was recognized as a FAARC in 1999. He was a recipient of the Jimmy A. Young Medal, the highest honor awarded by the AARC.
Dr. Fred Helmholz and Dr. Forrest Bird, two of our Legends, are shown in this photo taken at an event held at Mayo Clinic in Rochester Minnesota .
The five individuals selected as the 2015 Legends of Respiratory Care will be announced at the 2015 AARC Congress.
Dr. George Burton has been actively involved in respiratory care and pulmonary medicine since he began his clinical practice in Pulmonary Disease at Loma Linda University in 1967. He has held prominent positions at several hospitals in Southern California, and has been affiliated with Kettering Medical Center in Dayton OH since 1983, serving as Medical Director for Respiratory Care Services from 1983 to 2001, and as Medical Director for their Sleep Disorder Center from 1985 to the present.
Dr. Burton’s major contributions to respiratory care have been in the educational arena through his writings and service related to accreditation of respiratory care programs as evidenced by his participation with the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC), its predecessor, the Joint Review Committee for Respiratory Therapy Education (JRCRTE) and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).
Dr. Burton co-authored a comprehensive textbook for respiratory care students in 1977. This book quickly became a required text for programs, and literally thousands of students learned the essential aspects of the practice of respiratory care by reading and implementing the recommendations offered in the three editions of this text. He then turned his attention to promoting Respiratory Therapist Driven Protocols in two textbooks authored in conjunction with Judy Tietsort. Dr. Burton’s most recent writings have been the Clinical Manifestations of Respiratory Disease with Terry Des Jardins. This text was first introduced in 1994 and is now in its seventh edition.
In his role as Medical Director for the Respiratory Care Program at Kettering College in Dayton OH for 33 years, Dr. Burton has participated directly in the education of hundreds of respiratory therapist. He has participated in probably 400 student case study presentations. He also serves as a mentor for the faculty at Kettering College, many of whom have gone on to serve in leadership positions with the AARC, CoARC, and their organizations.
Service to program accreditation continues to be a passion of Dr. Burton. His active participation with the JRCRTE began in 1976 as an ACCP representative. Since that time, he has chaired subcommittees for Standards Revisions, participated in many Site Visits, and participated in the transition from the JRCRTE to CoARC. Today he remains active as a member of CoARC’s Post Professional Education Committee. He also served on the Board of Directors of the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).
Dr. Lawrence first became involved with respiratory therapy in 1958. He served on the AARC’s Board of Medical Advisors in 1964, and the organization’s Technician Certification Board in 1968 and 1969. These activities cemented his amorous affair with respiratory therapy and set the stage for greater contributions as the future of the profession unfolded.
Dr. Lawrence took over the RRT Oral Examinations in 1969. He worked tirelessly from his home office to “give the RRT Oral Examinations back to the candidates”. From 1969 through 1978, he scheduled thousands of oral examination sessions for candidates and was a staunch candidate advocate. All examiners were well familiar with the Pre-Exam meeting the evening before the exams began the next morning. His instructions were simple, "This is the candidate's exam and if that's not your purpose for being here, you may go back home with my blessings". He was true to his word and removed examiners for failing to follow those instructions. He served as the Executive Secretary of the NBRC in 1969 and charged $1 per year, compensation he never accepted. Thus, he was the second chief executive of what is now the NBRC.
Dr. Lawrence’s service to the profession and the credentialing system continued with his appointment to the NBRC as a trustee from 1974 through 1986 as a representative of the American Society for Anesthesiologists (ASA). He was elected by his colleagues on the NBRC to serve as the organization’s President in 1985. His contributions to respiratory therapy were witnessed by several generations and will never be forgotten.
William F. Miller, MD was very involved with the AARC and the profession. He was one of the giants in respiratory care who had profound impact on generations of respiratory therapists, nurses, physicians, and physical therapists. As a physician in Dallas, he was at the forefront of the respiratory therapy profession in this country, forming one of the first schools of respiratory therapy with 3 students in 1963. His vision for higher education of RTs was typical of his foresight. He was a founding member of the American Respiratory Care Foundation (ARCF) and his contributions there were innumerable. The Foundation and all it does today are a result of his leadership.
He was a recipient of the Jimmy A. Young Medal in 1979 and was also received honorary membership in the AARC. He served as a trustee for the ARCF for many years into the early 2000s. The William F. Miller Post-Graduate Education Recognition Award is named in his honor and established through his endowment.
Dr. David Pierson is a gifted clinician, a superb teacher, a prolific author and mentor in respiratory care. He received his undergraduate degree from Oregon State University in 1965 with Bachelor’s degrees in Humanities and General Science. He then went on to medical school at John’s Hopkins University, graduating in 1969. He followed with an Internship and Residency in Internal Medicine at John’s Hopkins in 1971. He then did a Residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Colorado, 1972, and finished with a Fellowship in Pulmonary Medicine at the University of Colorado Medical Center in 1974 under Dr. Tom Petty. He is board certified in both Internal Medicine and Pulmonary Medicine.
His research interests have been in complications of mechanical ventilation and ICU care, particularly their clinical epidemiology and risk factors; respiratory care techniques, particularly clinical efficacy, cost-effectiveness, CQI, and educational issues; and writing, editing, and publishing in clinical medicine.
Dr. Pierson has been either the principal author or contributor to 118 publications. He has been a huge supporter of the field of Respiratory Therapy over the years. He was Medical Director for the Respiratory Care Department at Harborview Medical Center for over 30 years. He mentored the Respiratory Therapists there to utilize protocols, publish research, and utilize evidence-based medicine.
He became the editor for Respiratory Care Journal in 1998 and continued in that role for 10 years. His was committed to guiding the profession to embrace the research and evidence based medicine that has given the Respiratory Care Journal the recognition to be included in Pubmed. He continues as Editor Emeritus for the Respiratory Care Journal.
Dr. Pierson has advised and served on numerous AARC committees. Dr. Pierson was awarded honorary membership in the AARC and received the fellow designation (FAARC). He received the Jimmy A Young Medal in 2005.
The David J. Pierson, MD Award for Excellence in Education and Mentoring is named in his honor at the University of Washington. Dr. Pierson retired from the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at the University of Washington in 2011 and is currently an Emeritus Professor of Medicine.
Jimmy Albert Young, MS, RRT was one of the profession’s most outstanding and dedicated leaders.
Jimmy Young served as Chief Inhalation Therapist at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston. He earned the ARIT (registered Inhalation therapist) credential in 1965 and was assigned #263. He served in several roles including director of the education program at Northeastern University in Boston and became director of the Respiratory Therapy Department at Massachusetts General Hospital in 1970.
Along with Dean Crocker, Jimmy Young co-authored Principles and Practices of Inhalation Therapy, a textbook that was published in 1970.
He was elected to the Association's Board of Directors in 1968. He served the 22nd President of the American Association of Respiratory Therapy in 1973.
In 1975, he was serving as an NBRC Board of Trustee and member of the Executive Committee when he passed away unexpectedly.
The AARC presents the Jimmy A. Young Medal, the Association's highest honor, during the AARC International Congress.
Vijay Deshpande has been an educator, author, and international lecturer for over four decades. He received numerous awards for his contributions at Georgia State University, from the Georgia Society for Respiratory Care, and the AARC.
Vijay was recognized as an AARC Fellow in 2000 and was awarded AARC Life Membership in 2009. He has been active on the AARC International Committee since 1990. He has lectured in over 20 countries. and has been instrumental in expanding respiratory care education in India. He has coauthored several textbooks on mechanical ventilation and contributed chapters to several others.
Image provided by ViJay Deshpande
Ray Masferrer retired following 30-plus years as an Associate Executive Director of the AARC. However, he continues to serve as Managing Editor of the journal RESPIRATORY CARE, a position he first assumed in 1982 when he became a full-time employee of the AARC.
Prior to assuming his position with AARC, Ray served as a volunteer to the association, most notably chairing the then Publications Committee from 1971 to 1982, which at that time had oversight for the journal. One of Ray’s initial actions, in 1973 and in consort with the journal’s newly hired Editor-in-Chief Phil Kittredge, was to establish the first-ever Editorial Board. Mindful of Phil’s commitment to scientific inquiry and scholarly dissemination of research findings, Ray began a behind the scenes search to identify established researchers and authors to populate the Editorial Board. Such foresight elevated the stature of the journal and by association, positioned the profession as a logical companion, and in some cases, an alternative to, heretofore physician-only journals such as CHEST and THE AMERICAN JOURNAL OF RESPIRATORY AND CRITICAL CARE MEDICINE. Were it not for the cross-pollination resulting from Ray’s efforts, it is doubtful that the profession would enjoy today the enthusiastic support and active involvement of internationally recognized physicians.
Another major contribution of Ray was to establish the Journal Conferences, a legacy that stands today in which acknowledged experts are convened to focus on a specific topics of clinical relevance, with the resultant manuscripts published in RESPIRATORY CARE.
Aside from his lasting legacy as a primary contributor of the development of our journal, Ray was also responsible for the launch of several other important initiatives that further advanced the profession. In 1978, he worked with then AARC President Gary Gerard to form the Specialty Sections, and years later coordinated efforts to convert AARC’s clinical practice guidelines from expert opinion to evidence based.
Lastly, under Ray’s thoughtful and deliberate direction for three decades as AARC Director of Conventions, the AARC’s Annual Congress is now the world’s largest educational event for respiratory therapists. Furthermore, the annual Summer Forum has become a “go-to” event where managers and educators meet to develop strategies and tactics to address relevant issues and challenges to the profession.
Theodore Oslick, MD, FCCP, FAARC served on the NBRC Board of Trustees for 38 years, including 4 years as President.
In addition, Dr. Oslick served as Chair of over 20 committees for the NBRC and served as a member of over 35 NBRC committees.
Dr. Oslick has been designated Emeritus Trustee of the NBRC in recognition for his years of service and commitment to respiratory care credentialing.
Dr. Oslick was designated a Fellow (FAARC) of the AARC in 2007.
He is a past recipient of the NBRC's Albert H. Andrews Award and the NRBC's Sister Yvonne Jenn Award.
Image provided by NBRC
Gregg Ruppel, MEd, RRT, RPFT, FAARC is well-known for his contributions to pulmonary diagnostics over the past four decades.
Mr. Ruppel served on the NBRC Board of Trustees for 24 years, including 4 years as President. During his service on the NBRC Board, he chaired 12 committees and served on 18 other committees.
He authored nine editions of "Ruppel's Manual of Pulmonary Function Testing" as well as numerous articles in the Respiratory Care jorunal.
Gregg was inducted in the first class of AARC Fellows (FAARC) in 1998. He is also the recipient of the NBRC's Robert H. Miller Award and the NBRC's Sister Yvonne Jenn Award.
Image provided by Gregg Ruppel
James Whitacre grew up in Ohio and graduated (in absentia) from Hiram College in pre-med with a minor in education. WWII interrupted his final year as he served as an Army corpsman in England, and Europe until 1945. He then returned to complete a Master of Science Degree from the University of Rochester; his thesis related to acetylcholine and the neuromuscular junction. Jim worked as a physiology lab instructor in the University’s Medical School.
In 1954 he transitioned to become director of the Hospital’s fledgling Inhalation Therapy Department. Fortunately the administration honored Jim’s frequent requests to attend national meetings. Besides learning more about clinical aspects of the profession, he began to volunteer to serve on various boards and committees. In 1955, he joined the American Association for Inhalation Therapy ( now AARC) and served its Board of Directors from 1956-60. Jim’s insights allowed him to see the importance of elevating the new professions’ standing through more rigorous educational standards, a formal credentialing and/or licensure system and delivery of improved technical services. He had the skills and energy to act on those insights.
In 1960 Jim was on the ground floor during formation of the American Registry for inhalation Therapy (now the NBRC) and become its first secretary. He was one of the first twelve people to pass the pilot exam administered in November of 1960. But because his name started with “W” and the ARIT’s incorporation was delayed until April of 1961, his registry number was 28. [Jim’s own signature was on his RRT certificate; students thought that was very “cool.”
In 1964 he moved to Pennsylvania to become Technical Director of the School of Inhalation Therapists at the Health Center Hospitals in Pittsburgh and instructor with the University of Pittsburgh. The “father of CPR and ICU medicine,” Dr. Peter Safar was his medical director.
Jim served as the first editor of the AAIT's journal, Inhalation Therapy which began in 1956. He continued to serve as journal editor until 1967. Jim was also involved in writing textbooks and was a chapter contributor and editor the textbook Respiratory Therapy by Dr. Peter Safar’s.
Jim’s career as an educator in respiratory care began in Rochester and evolved further in Pittsburg. A big change came in 1967 when he moved to Columbia, Missouri to establish the first baccalaureate degree program west of the Mississippi. Jim served as the "Mizzou" program director and teacher until 1980.
The work Jim did with the credentialing system likely provided some background for the contributions he made to the educational accreditation system. He served on the Joint Review Committee for Inhalation Therapy Education (JRCRTE) from 1969-1971.
* A special thanks to Jeff Ward for supplying the biographical information for James Whitacre.
The Boards of the AARC, CoARC, NBRC, and ARCF may submit up to five nominees each year to the Legends of Respiratory Care Selection Committee.
If you have an individual you'd recommend be nominated as a Legend of Respiratory Care, contact the appropriate Board with your justification outlining the individual's accomplishments and significant historic contributions to our profession.