Helmut S. Schmidt, MD, age 71, passed away peacefully from a brain hemorrhage on Wednesday, October 20, 2010 surrounded by his family and friends. He will be dearly missed by his close and extensive family, friends, patients, and colleagues.
Dr. Schmidt was, and will remain forever, highly respected by the medical and scientific community for his contribution to the field of sleep medicine and psychiatry. He was the Founder and President of the Ohio Sleep Medicine Institute in Dublin, Ohio and devoted his professional life to the field of Sleep Medicine.
A pioneer and talented clinician, he opened one of the first sleep disorders centers in the country in 1975 at The Ohio State University Medical Center, where he practiced until 1990. He was known among health professionals for his expertise and dedication to quality patient care and was voted by his peers as the 2004 Best Sleep Medicine Physician in Central Ohio.
He received in 1988 the Nathaniel Kleitman Distinguished Prize for outstanding achievement and contribution to the field of Sleep Medicine from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, which is that body's highest award. He guided and ran the national examination process for certifying physicians in the field of sleep medicine for over 10 years before becoming in 1990 the first President of the American Board of Sleep Medicine (ABSM), the accrediting body responsible for certifying sleep medicine physicians. He received an award from the ABSM for "unstinting dedication” to the furtherance of the field, which has since been renamed the “Helmut Schmidt Award”.
He co-chaired the American Sleep Disorders Association national committee to recognize Sleep Medicine as a designated medical specialty by the American Medical Association, which finally occurred in Jan. 1995. He was chairman of the joint program committee for the Sleep Research Society and the American Sleep Disorders Association that hosted the very first Annual Meeting of the Association of Professional Sleep Societies in Columbus, Ohio, in 1986. Together with Dr. William Dement of Stanford University, as part of the 1986 meeting, Dr. Schmidt led the efforts to establish the first National Sleep and Health Awareness Week, a proclamation signed by President Ronald Reagan.
Dr. Schmidt was a graduate of the University of Toronto School of Medicine and completed his residency in psychiatry at the Ohio State University. In addition to his involvement in Sleep Medicine, he contributed to the field of psychiatry as past President of the Ohio Psychiatric Association in 1985 & 1986 and was recognized as a Distinguished Life Fellow by the American Psychiatric Association.
A man of honor and duty, he also retired as Colonel, United States Army Reserve and was the recipient of the Meritorious Service Medal following his last duty as Surgeon, 83rd Army Reserve Command. Dr. Schmidt was originally born in Hungary, emigrated to Germany during World War II, and later settled in Ontario, Canada with his relatives. He is survived by his wife Angelika; two sons: Markus (Laurence) and Daniel (Farhana) and three grand-children: Julien, Jumana and Clara.
Donations can be made to the Sleep Medicine Research Foundation, 4975 Bradenton Avenue, Dublin, OH 43017. Arrangements by Rutherford Funeral Home in Powell, 450 West Olentangy St. Powell, OH 43065. 614-792-1471. Condolences may be sent to www.rutherfordfuneralhomes.com
If you wish to share a comment online, you may do so on the Ohio Sleep Medicine Institute Facebook page or blog.