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Dr. Helmut S. Schmidt, MD


Helmut S. Schmidt, MD  devoted his whole professional life to the development and recognition of Sleep Medicine as a medical specialty. 

A pioneer in the field of Sleep Medicine, the late Dr. Helmut S. Schmidt was instrumental in the history of Sleep Medicine on a national level. He was part of the original nosology committee that created the first classification of all sleep disorders in the history of mankind. During the late sixties, he started to practice sleep medicine at the Ohio State University Medical Center, which later became the third sleep disorders center in the country to be nationally accredited. He practiced there until 1990. He later founded the Ohio Sleep Medicine Institute (OSMI), an independent sleep center located in Dublin, Ohio, where he practiced along with his son, Markus H. Schmidt, MD, PhD. 

Dr. Helmut S. Schmidt's many accomplishments continue to touch the lives of many health professionals and patients alike. He was co-Chairman of the Insurance Committee of the American Sleep Disorders Association in the late seventiees. Under his leadership, the committee negotiated the recognition and reimbursement of sleep medicine services by insurance companies. Until that time, sleep medicine services were considered "experimental and investigational procedures".  

From 1982 to 1992, he guided the national examination process for certifying physicians in the field of sleep medicine and ran this examination 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 had a tradition of keeping exam questions on index cards in a shoebox and he was later awarded the "Shoebox Award" from the American Board of Sleep Medicine, for "unstinting" dedication to the furtherance of the field. This award was later renamed the "Helmut S. Schmidt Award."

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 (APSS) in Columbus, Ohio, in 1986. This historic event was the first official meeting uniting these two organizations under one conference. In addition, he personally hosted this conference, which was another big endeavor.  All subsequent APSS meetings have since been organized and run by the AASM national office.

As part of the 1986 meeting, Dr. Helmut Schmidt and Dr. William Dement of Stanford University led the efforts to establish the first National Sleep and Health Awareness Week (June 15-21), a proclamation signed by President Ronald Reagan. Today, Sleep and Health Awareness Week remains an important advocacy event on a national level every March.

In 1988, Dr. Helmut Schmidt received the Nathaniel Kleitman Distinguished Prize from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (formerly known as the ASDA), which is that body's highest award for outstanding achievement and contribution to the field. He was proud of this award and the recognition of his efforts for the furtherance of the field. 

As the years went by, Dr. Helmut S. Schmidt continued to play an active role. He co-chaired the ASDA National Committee to recognize Sleep Medicine as a designated medical specialty by the American Medical Association, which ultimately occurred in January 1995. This recognition helped convey a higher level of legitimacy to the field of sleep medicine. 

In addition to his involvement in sleep medicine, Dr. Helmut Schmidt was Chairman of the Association Program Committee of the Ohio Psychiatric Association during the early eighties, before becoming President of the Ohio Psychiatric Association in 1985-1986. He later became interim president of the Mental and Health Review Board for the Ohio Psychiatric Association and was part of the 1991 Ohio Governor Mental Health Task Force. He was recognized in 2003 with the Distinguished Life Fellow by the American Psychiatric Association. 

Dr. Helmut Schmidt was known among health professionals for his expertise and dedication to quality patient care. Locally, his expertise was very much appreciated by the medical community. In 2004, he was voted by his peers as Best Sleep Medicine Physician in Central Ohio (Columbus Dispatch/WBNS poll). His induction into the 2011 Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame was a special event he was looking forward to before he unexpectedly passed away on October 20, 2010. 

Dr. Helmut S. Schmidt was a graduate of the University of Toronto School of Medicine and had completed his residency in psychiatry at the Ohio State University. In addition to his involvement in sleep medicine and psychiatry,  Dr. Helmut Schmidt had a successful military career. He retired as a Colonel from the United States Army Reserve and was the recipient of the Meritorious Service Medal following his last duty as Surgeon, 83rd Army Reserve Command.

Dr. Helmut Schmidt's legacy will remain forever in the many lives he touched, whether it be family, friends, colleagues, patients, or others. Let us all honor his memory as an ultimate tribute.


Schmidt MH, Koshal VB, Schmidt HS. The use of pramipexole in REM sleep behavior disorder: Results from a case series. Sleep Medicine. 7:418-426, 2006.

Schmidt, MH, Payton, G, Schmidt, HS. Are Current AASM termination criteria ending MSLT naps prematurely? Annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, Chicago, IL, 2003.

Schmidt, MH, Schmidt, HS. Ercetion Penile, Sleep-Related. Encyclopedia of the Neurological Sciences, 2:297-300, 2003.

Schmidt HS, Berendts BP. Narcolepsy and Sleep Disordered Breathing: Insights Into Sleep Fragmentation and Treatment Failures. Sleep 1999, 22 Supplement: S64.

Schmidt HS, Berendts BP, Hinkle RM. Lack of Effectiveness of Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) and Laser Assisted Uvulopalatoplasty (LAUP) In Sleep Disordered Breathing. Sleep 1998, 21(3) Supplement: 93.

Hinkle RM, Berendts BP, Schmidt HS. Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty Combined With Genioglossus Advancement and Hyoid Myotomy with Suspension (UP3GAHM) For The Treatment of OSAS. Sleep 1998, 21(3) Supplement: 92.

Schmidt HS, Berendts BP, Hinkle RM. Differentiating Between UARS and OSAS Based On Sleep and Cephalometric Characteristics in 184 Patients. Sleep 1998, 21(3) Supplement: 60.

Schmidt HS, Berendts BP. Respiratory Arousal Index and Craniofacial Abnormalities in UARS: Potential Indicators for NCPAP Usefulness. Sleep Research 97; 26: 498.

Louden MB, Morehead MA, Schmidt HS. Activation of Selegiline (Eldepryle) of REM Sleep Behavior Disorder in Parkinsonism. West Virginia Medical Journal 95; 91(3): 101.

Schmidt MH, Valatx JL, Schmidt HS, Wauquier A, Jouvet M. Experimental Evidence of Penile Erections During Paradoxical Sleep in the Rat. Neuroreport 94; 5(5): 561-4.

Louden MB, Morehead MA, Schmidt HS. Polyspikes in REM Sleep Mimicking REM Sleep Behavior Disorder. Sleep Research 94; 23:283.

Louden MB, Morehead MA, Schmidt HS. Selegiline may Activate REM Sleep Behavior Disorder in Parkinsonism. Sleep Research 94; 23:370.

Schmidt HS, Laposky AD. Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome: Alpha Intrusion; K-alpha Arousals; and Response to NCPAP Titration. Sleep Research 94; 23:323.

Schmidt HS, Pickerill CA. Bulbospongiosus and Ischiocavernosus Muscle Activity in Normal Sleep Related Erections: A Pilot Study. Sleep Research 94; 23:465.

Schmidt HS. K-Complex Triggered Sleep Disruptions: The K-Wake Syndrome. Sleep Research 94; 23:322.

Schmidt, M.H., Schmidt H.S.: The Ischiocavernosus and Bulbospongiosus Muscles in Mammalian Penile Rigidity, Sleep, 1993; 16(2):171-183.

Schmidt HS, Pickerill CA, Torello MW. Role of the Ischiocavernosus and Bulbospongiosus Muscles in Nocturnal Erections. Sleep Research 92; 21:309.

Schmidt HS, Golob EJ, Torello MW. Alpha Intrusion in Sleep and its Relationship to Excessive Waking alpha and Depression. Sleep Research 92; 21:258.

Schmidt HS, Schmidt MH. Current Physiology of Erectile Mechanisms: Basis for Five Phases of Penile Erection. Sleep Research 91; 20:52.

Schmidt HS, Browman CP. Effect of L-Dopa on Periodic Limb Movements in Sleep. Sleep Research 91; 20:85.

Schmidt HS, Torello MW. The Use of Quantitative EEG in the Analysis of Excessive Waking Alpha Activity: A Case Report with Alpha Intrusion in Sleep. Sleep Research 91; 20:136.

Schmidt, MH, Schmidt HS. Penile Rigidity and the Perineal Musculature in Mammals: A Review. Sleep Research 91; 20:11.

Schmidt H.S.: Helping the Patient Who Sleepwalks, Medical Aspects of Human Sexuality, 71-74, Oct. 1988.

Nofzinger E. A., Schmidt H.S.: An Exploration of Central Dysregulation of Erectile Function as a Contributing Cause of Diabetic Impotence, J. of Nervous & Mental Disease Vol. 178(2):90-95, 1988.

Schmidt H.S., Nofzinger E.A.: Short REM Latency in Impotence without Depression, Biological Psychiatry 1988;24(1):25-32.

Levy A. B., Dixon K.N., Schmidt H.S.: Sleep Architecture in Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia, Biological Psychiatry 1988;23(1):99-101.

Levy A.B., Dixon K.N., Schmidt, H.S.: REM and Delta Sleep in Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia, Psychiatry Research, 20:189-197,1987.

Schmidt, H.S. and Shy, K. Short REM Latencies and Repetitive REM Awakenings in Impotence without Depression. Sleep Research 15:203, 1986.

Schmidt, H.S. and Schaal, S. REM Associated Asystole without Sleep Apnea: Physiologic Marker for Impotence? Sleep Research 15:202, 1986.

Steinberg, B., Fraser, B. and Schmidt, H.S. Risk Factors in Obstructive Sleep Apnea: A Preliminary Cephalometric Analysis. Sleep Research 15:173, 1986.

Schmidt, H.S., Votolato, N. and Goklaney, R. Yohimbine in the Treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Sleep Research 15:164,1986.

Schmidt, H.S., Impotence: NPT Studies and False Positive Results. Sleep Research 15:201, 1986.

Schmidt, H.S., Landholt, G.P. and Fortin, L.D.: Major Improvement in Penile Buckling Force Instrumentation. Sleep Research 14:270, 1985.

Schmidt, H.S.: Combined L-Tryptophan and Protriptyline in the Treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Sleep Research 14:209,1985.

Schmidt, H.S. and Fortin, L.D.: Position Effect in Obstructive and Central Sleep Apnea. Sleep Research 14:210, 1985.

Rojewski, T.E., Schuller, D.E., Clark, R.W., Schmidt, H.S. and Potts, R.E.: Video Endoscopic Determination of the Mechanism of Obstruction in Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surg 92(2):127-131, 1984.

Schmidt, H.S.: L-Tryptophan in the Treatment of Impaired Respiration. Clin Resp Physiol 19(6):625-629, 1983.

Boudoulas, H., Schmidt, H.S., Clark, R. W., Geleris, P.,Schaal, S.F. and Lewis, R.P.: Anthropometric Characteristics, Cardiac Abnormalities and Adrenergic Activity in Patients with Primary Disorders of Sleep. J of Med 14(3):223-238, 1983.

Boudoulas, H., Schmidt, H.S., Clark, R.W., Geleris, P. and Lewis, R.P.: Deterioration of Sleep Apnea during Therapy with Propranolol. Res Comm Chem Pathol Pharmacol 39:3, 1983.

Schmidt, H.S., Wise, H.A., Hazlip, J.R. and Schrier, S.S.: Polysomnographic Differentiation of Organic and Psychogenic Impotence. Sleep Research 12:355, 1983.

Schmidt, H.S. and Schrier, S.S.: Comparison of MSLT and Pupillometry in Assessment of Narcolepsy and Idiopathic CNS Hypersomnolence. Sleep Research 12:281, 1983.

Schmidt, H.S., Hazlip, J.R., Votolato, N.A., Wise, H.A., Falko, J.M. and Schrier, S.S.: Yohimbine Treatment for Impotence. Sleep Research 12:125, 1983.

Hubbell, S.L., Sipski, M., Poindexter, D.P., Schmidt, H.S. and Jackson, E.I.: Correlation of Sleep Laboratory and EMG Studies in the Evaluation of Impotence. Arch Phys Med and Rehab 63(10):515, 1982.

Schmidt, H.S.: The Role of the Sleep Laboratory in the Differential Diagnosis of Impotence. Clinical Sexuality, Pariser, S., Levine, S. and Gardner, M. (Eds.), Marcel Dekker, New York, 159-172, 1983.

Schmidt, H.S.: Disorders of Sleep and Arousal. In Gregory, I. and Smeltzer, D., Psychiatry: Essentials of Clinical Practice, Second Edition. Little, Brown and Company, Boston, 343-362,1983.

Schmidt, H.S.: Pupillometric Assessment of Disorders of Arousal. In Current Perspectives on Daytime Sleepiness, Sleep 5:S157-S164, 1982.

Jackson, E.I. and Schmidt, H.S.: The Ohio State University Inpatient Sleep-Wake Disorders Unit: A first in Sleep Disorders Medicine. Sleep Research 11:150, 1982.

Drugovich, M.L., Schmidt, H.S. and Jackson, E.I.: RIE- A Scoring System for Sleep-Related Periodic Breathing. Sleep Research 11:199, 1982.

Jackson, E.I. and Schmidt, H.S.: Modification of Sleeping Position in the Treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Sleep Research 11:149, 1982.

Schmidt, H.S., Drugovich, M.L. and Jackson, E.I.: Effects of L-Tryptophan in Patients with Sleep-Related Respiratory Impairment Episodes (RIE). Sleep Research 11:166, 1982.

Schmidt, H.S. and Jackson, E.I.: Benefit of Low Flow Oxygen Therapy in Sleep-Induced Apnea and Cardiac Arrhythmia - Synergistic Effect with L-Tryptophan. Sleep Research 11:168,1982.

Schmidt, H.S. and Jackson, E.I.: Use of L-Tryptophan in Disorders of Excessive Somnolence. Sleep Research 11:167,1982.

Coleman, R.M., Roffwarg, H.P., Kennedy, S.J., Guilleminault,C., Cinque, J., Schmidt, H.S., et al.: Sleep-Wake Disorders Based on a Polysomnographic Diagnosis - A National Cooperative Study. JAMA 247(7):997-1003, 1982.

Schmidt, H.S.: (Monograph) Sleep Disorders: The New Nosology. The Upjohn Company, 1982.

Rojewski, T., Schuller, D., Clark, R.W., Schmidt, H.S. and Potts, R.: Synchronous Video Recording of the Pharyngeal Airway and Polysomnograph in Patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Laryngoscope 92:246-250, 1982.

Schmidt, H.S. and Fortin. L.D.: Electronic Pupillography in Disorders of Arousal. In Sleeping and Waking Disorders; Indications and Techniques, C. Guilleminault (Ed.), Addison-Wesley, 127-143, 1982.

Schmidt, H.S., Jackson, E.I. and Knopp, W.: Electronic Pupillography (EPS): Objective Assessment of Sleepiness and Differentiation of Disorders of Excessive Somnolence. Sleep Research 10:48, 1981.

Schmidt, H.S., Wise, H.A. and Jackson, E.I.: Sleep Laboratory Assessment of One-Hundred Patients with Impaired Penile Tumescence (IPT): Preponderance of Organic Etiology with Apnea Monitoring: Associated Polysomnographic Abnormalities. Sleep Research 10:59, 1981.

Schmidt, H.S., Jackson, E.I., MacMillan, J.E. and Schaal, S.F.: MSG Intolerance and Beta-Adrenergic Hypersensitivity. New Research in Mental Health. Division of Mental Health and Forensic Services, Ohio Department of Mental Health, Columbus, Ohio. pp. 134-35, 1981.

Schmidt, H.S. and Wise, H.A.: Significance of Impaired Penile Tumescence and Associated Polysomnographic Abnormalities in the Impotent Patient. J of Urology 126:348-352, 1981.

Schmidt, H.S., Wise, H.A. and Clark, R.W.: Impaired Penile Tumescence Associated with Nocturnal Myoclonus, Bradycardia, Apnea and Hypoventilation in Sleep. Sleep Research 9:222, 1980.

Schmidt, H.S., Williams, M.B. and Clark, R.W.: Treatment of Hypersomnia with Pemoline. Sleep Research 9:221, 1980.

Clark, R.W., Schmidt, H.S. and Schaal, S.F.: Reversal of Sleep-Induced Upper Airway Obstruction with Protriptyline. Sleep Research 9:190, 1980.

Clark, R.W., Boudoulas, H., Schaal, S.F. and Schmidt, H.S.: Adrenergic Hyperactivity and Mitral Valve Prolapse in Primary Disorders of Sleep. Sleep Research 9:189, 1980.

Clark, R.W., Schmidt, H.S. and Malarkey, W.B.: Abnormalities of Growth Hormone and Prolactin Secretion in Disorders of Impaired Wakefulness. Sleep Research 9:88, 1980.

Clark, R.W., Boudoulas, H., Schaal, S.F. and Schmidt, H.S.: Adrenergic Hyperactivity and Cardiac Abnormality in Primary Disorders of Sleep. Neurology 30:113-119, 1980.

Clark, R.W., Schmidt, H.S. and Schuller, D.E.: Sleep Induced Ventilatory Dysfunction in Down's Syndrome. Arch Int Med 140:45, 1980.

Kaelbling, M., Clark, R.S. and Schmidt, H.S.: Relationship of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) to Sleep Apnea and Other Disorders of Sleep - Evidence for Hereditary Influences. Genetics (suppl.) 91 (4, part 2):557, 1979.

Clark, R.W., Schmidt, H.S., Schaal, S.F., Boudoulas, H. and Schuller, D.E.: Sleep Apnea: Treatment with Protriptyline. Neurology 29:1287-1292, 1979.

Clark, R.W., Schmidt, H.S. and Malarkey, W.B.: Disordered Growth Hormone and Prolactin Secretion in Primary Disorders of Sleep. Neurology 29:855-861, 1979.

Clark, R.W., Schmidt, H.S. and Sotos, J.F.: Reversal of Chronic Diabetes Insipidus During Treatment with Protriptyline. S Med J 71:1567©1568, 1979.

Clark, R.W., Malarkey, W.B. and Schmidt, H.S.: Hypothalamic Correlates of Sleep Apnea and Narcolepsy. Sleep Research 6:87,1977.

Clark, R.W., Schmidt, H.S. and Kaelbling, M.: Hereditary Aspects of the Sleep Apnea Syndrome. Sleep Research 6:165,1977.

Schmidt, H.S. and Clark, R.W.: Hypersomnia Narcolepsy-Cataplexy Syndrome, and Sleep Apnea: Treatment with Protriptyline and Pemoline. Sleep Research 6:179, 1977.

Clark, R.W., Malarkey, W.B., O'Dorisio, T.M. and Schmidt, H.S.: Hypersomnia, Sleep Apnea and Diencephalic Dysfunction in Myotonic Dystrophy. Sleep Research 6:186, 1977.

Schmidt, H.S., Smeltzer, D.J. and Goldman, H.: Antisocial Personality Disorder: Sleep Profiles and Adrenergic Drug Effects. Sleep Research 6, 1977.

Schmidt, H.S., Clark, R.W. and Hyman, R.R.: Protriptyline: An Effective Agent in the Treatment of Narcolepsy-Cataplexy Syndrome and Hypersomnia. Am J Psychiatry 134:183-185, 1977.

Clark, R.W. and Schmidt, H.S.: Sleep Apnea: Neurological and Neuroendocrinological Aspects of SIDS. In Research Conference on Sudden Infant Death, C. B. Reiner (Ed.), Ohio Department of Health, pp. 36-50, 1976.

Schmidt, H.S., Clark, R.W. and Hyman, P.R.: Protriptyline: Effective Treatment for Disorders of Inappropriate or Excessive Sleep. Sleep Research 5, 1976.

Clark, R.W., Hyman, P.R. and Schmidt, H.S.: Ondine's Curse, Hypothalmic Dysfunction and Cataplexy: Evidence for an Inherited Disorder and Response to Protriptyline. Sleep Research 5, 1976.

Schmidt, H.S., Fortin, L. and Knopp, W.: Diagnosis and Treatment Evaluation of the Narcolepsy Syndrome: The Role of the Sleep and EPG Laboratory. Amer J of EEG tech 15:138, 1975.

Schmidt, H.S.: Intelligence, Memory and Sleep. In Research in Comprehensive Psychiatry, Harold Goldman (ed.), pp. 77-91,1971.

Schmidt, H.S. and Knopp, W.: Sleep in Parkinson's Disease. Psychophysiology 9:88-89.

Pack, A.T. and Schmidt, H.S.: Methysergide and Sleep in Human Subjects. Psychophysiology 9:88, 1972.

Schmidt, H.S. and Kaelbling, R.: The Differential Laboratory Adaptation of Sleep Parameters. Biol Psychiat 3(1):33-45,1971.

Schmidt, H.S. and Monroe, L.J.: A case Study of Unusual Chronic Sleep Disruption. Psychophysiology 6:232, 1969.

Schmidt, H.S. and Kaelbling, R.: Laboratory Adaptation Effects on Sleep Patterns: A Comparison of Six Consecutive Nights. Psychophysiology 5:213, 1968.

Schmidt, H.S. and Kaelbling, R.: Sleep Pattern Changes During Late Pregnancy and Post-Partum in Mental Retardates. Psychophysiology 5:212-213, 1968.

Schmidt, H.D., Kaelbling, R. and Alexander, J.: Sleep Patterns in Mental Retardates: Mongoloids and Monozygotic Twins. Psychophysiology 5:212, 1968.

Honors & Awards:

  • 2003: Distinguished Life Fellow, American Psychiatric Association
  • 1992: Letter of Appreciation, American Sleep Disorders Association, "for devoted and outstanding service to the field of Sleep Disorders Medicine over a period of ten years as Chair of the ASDA Examination Committee and as first president of the American Board of Sleep Medicine."
  • 1991: Recipient of first "Shoe Box" award for contributions to Sleep Medicine, American Board of Sleep Medicine (now named the "Helmut S. Schmidt Award"), "for directing the certification of clinicians in Sleep Medicine from its infancy to the current position of respect and wide acceptance, for teaching your colleagues the art and science of examination, for the unstinting contribution of endless time and energy."
  • 1989: Recipient of the Meritorious Service Medal, United States Army Reserve.
  • 1988: Nathaniel Kleitman Distinguished Service Award. Created in 1981 to honor service to the field of sleep research and sleep disorders medicine, especially generous and altruistic efforts in the areas of administration, public relations, and legislation. The highest award given in North America in the field of Sleep Disorders Medicine.
  • 1988: Fellow, American Sleep Disorders Association.
  • 1985: Letter of Commendation, Association of Sleep Disorders Centers.
  • 1983: Recipient of The Army Achievement Medal.
  • 1978: Fellow, American Psychiatric Association.
  • 1968: William C. Menninger Award (Honorable Mention) for outstanding original research presented by the Central Neuropsychiatric Association "in recognition of outstanding original research in the field of...Psychiatry."

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