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History of the Division

In 1904, William Osler and William Welch, together with Edward Livingston Trudeau, founded the forerunner of the American Thoracic Society, the National Association for the Study and Prevention of Tuberculosis. Osler served as the first vice president of the society. Pulmonary Medicine coalesced at Johns Hopkins over 50 years ago, and our division has made seminal contributions to medical science since its inception. Lung mechanics, heart-lung interactions, airflow limitation, asthma, COPD, acute respiratory distress syndrome, pulmonary vascular disease, lung cancer, tuberculosis, and gas exchange are just a few of the areas where Johns Hopkins faculty have pioneered.

Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine

Pulmonary Medicine began to evolve as a specialty in the early 1950's with the arrival of Richard Riley, MD at Johns Hopkins and the development and application of novel techniques to study ventilation/perfusion relationships including the measurement of arterial blood gases. Because of Dr. Riley's work in human physiology, many distinguished leaders of pulmonary medicine interested in this emerging field were attracted to Hopkins including Leon Farhi, Mary Ellen Avery, Reuben Cherniack, John Clements, Moran Campbell, Peter Macklem, Jack Howell, John Cotes, and Solbert Permutt.

In 1961 Wilmot C. Ball, Jr., MD became Director of the Division and the Pulmonary Function Laboratories and initiated an exploration of the conceptual framework that links respiratory and circulatory physiology to clinical medicine. In 1972 Solbert Permutt, MD assumed the leadership of both the clinical and research programs, and inaugurated a collaborative program integrating the clinical, research, and education activities of the Pulmonory Division with programs in the now Bloomberg School of Public Health. The Division enjoyed extensive growth of the clinical program including a new intensive care unit, and a new bronchoscopy program, as well as expansion of clinical consultative and inpatient services rendered at other hospitals in the Baltimore area.

Bayview Campus

This trajectory was preserved by Jimmie T. Sylvester, MD who served as director from 1988-1997. Critical Care Medicine was added to our name, reflecting the growing importance of this field. Dr. Sylvester steered the Division with initiatives in critical care medicine and specialty outpatient clinics, and expanded the basic research effort. In 1998, the directorship was assumed by Joe G. N. Garcia, MD who doubled the number of faculty and grants with considerable diversity (expansion of PhDs, women and under-represented minorities). Significant growth and expansion occurred in lung transplantation, pulmonary hypertension, adult cystic fibrosis, health care outcomes, vascular biology, asthma and COPD research.

Landon S. King, MD was appointed Director in 2005, continuing a tradition of excellence and commitment to diversity. Under his leadership, we became the site of three programmatic Specialized Center of Clinical Research grants from the NIH, in acute lung injury, pulmonary hypertension, and chronic obstructive lung disease, as well other programmatic and individual grants. Dr. King was appointed the Executive Vice Dean for Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and Jonathan Orens MD assumed leadership of the Division in 2013. Many of our graduates now lead Divisions or Departments of Medicine, serve as Deans or policy-makers. The Division looks forward to a bright future of contributions to basic, translational, and clinical science.