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Dr. Bird Honored By Second U.S. President

October 21, 2009

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For the second time in three years, Dr. Forrest M. Bird was honored by the White House.

Last December, it was the Presidential Citizens Medal, bestowed on Dr. Bird for his groundbreaking inventions in mechanical ventilation by then President George W. Bush.

On October 7, it was the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the  highest honor bestowed by the United States government on engineers and inventors. President Barack Obama presented the medal.

Now you can have a chance to meet a living legend in person when Dr. Bird delivers the Keynote Address and receives the Jimmy A. Young Medal at the AARC’s International Respiratory Congress.

The National Medal of Technology and Innovation was established by a 1980 statute and goes to recognize individuals or companies for their outstanding contributions to the promotion of technology for the improvement of the economic, environmental, or social well-being of the United States. Nominees are selected by a distinguished independent committee representing both the private and public sectors.

Dr. Bird received the honor in a White House ceremony along with four other inventors and one company. Nine National Medal of Science winners will receive their awards at the same time.

“These scientists, engineers, and inventors are national icons, embodying the very best of American ingenuity and inspiring a new generation of thinkers and innovators,” President Barack Obama was quoted as saying. “Their extraordinary achievements strengthen our nation every day—not just intellectually and technologically but also economically, by helping create new industries and opportunities that others before them could never have imagined.”

Dr. Bird has a long record of innovation in respiratory care, beginning with the world’s first modern respirator, the Bird Mark 7, in the mid-1950s. His Baby Bird ventilator, which was introduced to the market in 1970, is credited with reducing infant mortality due to respiratory problems from 70% to less than 10%.

An AARC member since 1956, Dr. Bird has always worked closely with respiratory therapists to ensure a high quality of care for people with lung conditions. He was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in the mid-1990s.

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