A Lasting Legacy: AARC Mourns the Loss of Dr. Thomas F. Plaut

 Updated: March 12, 2019

photo of Dr. Thomas F. Plaut
Thomas F. Plaut, MD

The AARC was saddened to learn of the death of Thomas F. Plaut, MD, who passed away in January. Well known by many respiratory therapists as the author of One Minute Asthma, a book for patients and families living with the disease, Dr. Plaut devoted his life to helping children and advocating for underserved populations.

Shortly before his death, he released all of the copyrights and trademarks for One Minute Asthma to the AARC.

“We are honored that Dr. Plaut thought of our Association when deciding where to leave his iconic publication on asthma,” said AARC CEO Thomas J. Kallstrom, MBA, RRT, FAARC. “We plan to carry on his legacy by continuing to make this much-beloved asthma publication available to all who need it.”

Thomas Plaut came to the U.S. as a young child in 1935, escaping Nazi Germany along with his family. He graduated from Yale University and was trained as a pediatrician at Columbia University. His long career took him from a coal mining town in Appalachia, to a community health center in the South Bronx, to a pediatrician’s practice in Massachusetts where the One Minute Asthma concept was born.

The book sold more than two million copies and was published in both English and Spanish. Written at a 5th-grade reading level, it was intended to be accessible to as many patients and families as possible. The 8th edition was published in 2011 and covers asthma basics, peak flow, diaries and action plans, medicines, and inhalation devices, and also contains a resource section. Each page presents a single concept and takes only about a minute for the average person to read.

One Minute Asthma offers patients and families the asthma information they need in a format they can easily digest,” said AARC President Karen Schell, DHSc, RRT, RRT-NPS, RRT-SDS, RPFT, RPSGT, AE-C, CTTS. “We are pleased that Dr. Plaut trusted us with his great little book and we plan to ensure patients and families will benefit from it for generations to come.”