The Dr. H. Fred Helmholz Education Lecture Series

Dr. H. Fred HelmholzThe Dr. H. Fred Helmholz Education Lecture Series was established by CoARC in 1997 to recognize outstanding educators for their contributions to Respiratory Care Education.

It is certainly a fitting tribute that this Lecture Series serve as an ongoing reminder of Dr. Helmholz for he was a true pioneer in our profession.

His tireless efforts on behalf of respiratory therapists touched many of us and his influence will be felt for decades to come.

Dr. Helmholz was active in probably every single aspect of respiratory care. His medical career included research and clinical practice in high-altitude medicine, oxygen therapy, pulmonary function testing, and mechanical ventilation.

The AARC honored Dr. Helmholz with Honorary Member status and he was awarded the prestigious Jimmy A. Young Medal in 1993. He had a major presence at the International Congress, presiding as a judge for the Sputum Bowl Finals for many years. His sense of humor and sportsmanship were never more evident than by his willingness to wear whatever costume Jim Fenstermaker dreamed up, appearing as a Southern Gentleman, Santa Claus, Julius Cesar, and one of the Flying Elvises. The H. Fred Helmholz Sportsmanship Award is presented every year to the team which best demonstrates the passion, wisdom, and wit he brought to the competition.

Dr. Helmholz served as a member of the NBRC Board of Trustees from 1976 to 1988 and as President in 1985. The NBRC honored Dr. Helmholz with its Albert H. Andrews Award and Sister Mary Yvonne Jenn RRT Lifetime Achievement Awards, becoming the first Board Member to achieve Trustee Emeritus status.

He was the first Honorary Member of Lambda Beta, the National Honor Society for Respiratory Care, and through donations, his books of poetry continues to support scholarships for respiratory care students.

His commitment to education led him to establish a respiratory care program at the Mayo Clinic, where he did most of the teaching for several years. And until a few years ago, he was involved as a standardized patient for the Mayo Multidisciplinary Medical Simulation Center.

Dr. Helmholz was appointed by the CHEST to the Board of Schools for Inhalation Therapy in 1965, the initial group responsible for overseeing respiratory care education. When the Board of Schools transitioned to the Joint Review Committee for Respiratory Therapy Education under the AMA in 1969, Dr. Helmholz served as Chairman until 1976, running the organization out of his own offices at the Mayo Clinic, often at his own expense. He served the Joint Review Committee and CoARC, its successor, as a site visitor for decades.

Each year, CoARC invites an educator to present the H. Fred Helmholz Lecture at the AARC Summer Forum. As you can see from the list of previous speakers below, the Lecture provides an opportunity to recognize individuals who have made significant contributions to respiratory care and education. Many of these individuals had the privilege to know and work with Dr. Helmholz, and we hope that this annual lecture appropriately perpetuates his legacy.


  1. Currently serve as an educator in any CoARC approved Respiratory Care Program. (If appropriate, a group of individuals representing a program, can also be nominated).
  2. Have contributed to Respiratory Care education by developing an effective curriculum, teaching strategy, resource assessment/survey tool, by utilizing educational technology to benefit student learning, or by having a “good idea” resulting in Respiratory Care educational excellence.
  3. Be nominated by a CoARC Commissioner.

2022 – “Characteristics of Successful Respiratory
Care Programs – The Sequel to 2012 Lecture. 
 This presentation would be an
opportunity to revisit that survey, using the programs that received the 2021
President’s Award for Credentialing Success.” –
William F. Galvin, MSED,

Helmholz-Lecture by Bill Galvin 7.2022

Below is the history of the Dr. H. Fred Helmholz, MD Education Lecture Series presentations:

2021 – “Do We Give Up Too Soon?  Helping All Learners Achieve Excellence” – Ellen Becker, PhD, RRT, RRT-NPS, RPFT, AE-C, FAARC 

2019 – “Supporting Graduate and Student Engagement” – Kenneth Winn, MHA, RRT

2018- “Making Brain Science Work for Teachers” – Dennis R. Wissing, PhD, RRT, AE-C, CPFT, FAARC

2017 – “The Value of Degree Advancement Programs for Progression of the Respiratory Therapy Profession” – Joseph P. Coyle, MD, FCCP and Shane Keene, DHSc, RRT-NPS, FAARC

2016 – “Meeting Thresholds and Maintaining an Excellent Respiratory Care Program” – Gary White, MEd, RRT, FAARC

2015 – “Professional Volunteerism” – Kerry George, MEd, RRT, FAARC

2014 – “Enhancing the Science and Practice of Respiratory Care Through Academic Progression and Life-long Learning” – Toni L. Rodriguez Ed.D, RRT FAARC

2013 – “Teaching Students How to Stay Up-To-Date on Mechanical Ventilation Issues” – Susan P. Pilbeam, MEd,RRT, FAARC

2012 – “Excellence in Respiratory Care Education: Creating an Exemplary RC Program” – William Galvin, MSEd, RRT, CPFT, AE-C, FAARC

2011 – “Career Pathways in Respiratory Care” – David L. Vines, MHS, RRT and Thomas D. Jones, MEd, RRT, CPFT, LRCP

2010 – “A Pedagogy for Today’s Learner” – Mark Taylor, MSW, EdD

2009 – “Evidenced-Based Guidelines and Practice: How are We Doing in Respiratory Care?” – Joe Sorbello, MEd,RRT

2008 – “Viva la Experience: Theory and Practice of Experiential Education in Respiratory Care” – Jeff Ward, MEd, RRT

2007 – “Respiratory Care as a Profession: Are We There Yet?” – David Shelledy, PhD, RRT, RPFT, FAARC

2006 – “Using Simulation Technology to Prepare the Next Generation of Respiratory Therapists” – Viva Jo Siddall, MS, RRT

2005 – “Follow the Yellow Brick Road to Threshold Success” – Erna Boone, MEd, RRT and Bob DeLorme, EdS, RRT

2004 – “The Dynamic Web Classroom” – Sal Sanders, MS, RRT, CPFT

2003 – “Managers and Educators Working Hand-in-Hand” – Mike Nazarro, MPH, RRT and “Teaching Your Students and Staff About Inhaled Toxic Agents” and “What Can We Teach About Bioterrorism? Teach Everything!” – Thomas J. Johnson, MS, RRT,

2002 – “The Role of the Advisory Committee & Employers in Shaping the Future of Respiratory Care” – Garry Kauffman, MPA, RRT

2001 – “Teaching Patient Assessment to the Respiratory Care Student” – Robert Wilkins, PhD, RRT

2000 – “Student Recruitment and Retention: A Marketing Perspective” – William Turner, PhD

1999 – “Computer Technology – New Paradigms in Education” – Jon Nilsestuen, PhD, RRT, FAARC, Marilyn Childers, PhD, RRT and Stephen Fracek, PhD

1998 – “Critical Thinking in Respiratory Care” – Shelley Mishoe, PhD, RRT, FAARC

1997 – “The History of Respiratory Care” – H. Fred Helmholz Jr., MD

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