Forest M. Bird, MD, PhD, ScD, inventor of the first modern respirator was honored recently with the Presidential Citizens Medal. The award was established in November 13, 1969, by [removed]Executive Order 11494[/removed] to honor US citizens who have performed extraordinary services and is one of the highest honors conferred upon civilians, second only to the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

The award was bestowed in the White House by President Bush on December 10. Bird was recognized for helping to transform and enhance quality of life for people around the world through his contributions to mechanical ventilation.

The Bird respirator was introduced to the market in 1956, and the BabyBird–credited with reducing infant mortality by 60%–in 1970.