Sleep medicine pioneer Helmut S. Schmidt, MD, died Oct. 20, 2010, at the age of 71. Schmidt opened one of the first sleep disorders centers in the country in 1975 at The Ohio State University Medical Center. In 1989 he founded the Ohio Sleep Medicine Institute, where he continued to practice sleep medicine with his son Markus H. Schmidt, MD.
For more than a decade Schmidt guided the national examination process for certifying physicians in the field of sleep medicine, eventually becoming the first president of the American Board of Sleep Medicine (ABSM) in 1990. He also was chairman of the local program committee that hosted the first SLEEP annual meeting in Columbus, Ohio, in June 1986. In 1988 Schmidt received the AASM Nathaniel Kleitman Distinguished Service Award for his contributions to the sleep field.