The respiratory care community lost an honored colleague, Tom Petty, MD, FAARC, who passed away December 12.

Petty, known as the father of pulmonary rehab by many, received multiple awards throughout his lifetime to honor his achievements, including the American Thoracic Society’s Distinguished Achievement Award and the Michigan Thoracic Society’s Bruce Douglas Award for Outstanding Contributions to Pulmonary Medicine. He was named a fellow of the AARC in 1999, and received the organization’s Jimmy A. Young Medal in 2003.

According to the AARC, Petty founded the National Lung Health Education Program (NLHEP) to promote earlier detection of COPD through the use of spirometry in primary care practices. He later teamed up with the AARC to support NLHEP’s mission, and contributed too the association’s Web site

Petty graduated from the University of Colorado Medical School in the 1950s and completed an internship at Philadelphia General Hospital. After spending a year as assistant resident in medicine at the University of Michigan, Petty returned to the University of Colorado to complete another residency and fellowship in pulmonary medicine before being named chief resident.

Donations can be directed to:

Colorado COPD Connection
Joy Grinstead, Co-Chairman
7035 South Ash Circle
Centennial CO 80122