March 31, 2011
Herman R. Shepherd built a legacy around developing innovative medical technologies and reducing human suffering from vaccine preventable and neglected tropical diseases. A pioneer in aerosol technologies and the founding chairman of The Albert B. Sabin Vaccine Institute, Dr. Shepherd died peacefully on March 28, 2011 from complications caused by pneumonia. He was 89 years old.
Dr. Shepherd, or "Shep," as everyone knew him, was born in 1921 and grew up in Brooklyn. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University and served in the U. S. Army during World War II.
In 1955, Dr. Shepherd founded Aerosol Techniques, Inc., which later became Armstrong Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and served as the company's CEO and chairman until his retirement in 1993. A world-recognized expert on aerosol technologies, Dr. Shepherd's pioneering work led to several patents and resulted in pivotal breakthroughs including the development of the metered dose inhaler commonly used today to treat asthma and other bronchial conditions. He led a successful effort to fund the nation's first research laboratory dedicated to aerosol pharmaceuticals at Columbia University College of Pharmacy and authored the first definitive text on the potential of aerosol technologies, Aerosols: Science and Technology.
Dr. Shepherd later became friends with Dr. Albert B. Sabin, discoverer of the oral polio vaccine. Inspired by Dr. Sabin's lifelong work in the field of vaccines, Dr. Shepherd founded The Albert B. Sabin Vaccine Institute in 1993 with Dr. Sabin's widow, Mrs. Heloisa Sabin; Dr. Robert Chanock; and Dr. Philip Russell. Dr. Shepherd served as the chairman of the Institute's board of trustees for over 15 years and as president for eight years.
Reflecting on Dr. Shepherd's contributions, Mr. Morton Hyman, the Sabin Vaccine Institute's current chairman, said, "Thanks to Shep's commitment to prioritizing vaccine development and advocating greater use of existing vaccines and medicine, the Sabin Vaccine Institute continues to make significant contributions to disease reduction around the globe."
"Shep led a life that was dedicated to pushing boundaries, setting new standards in global health and providing a voice for those suffering from preventable diseases," added Peter Hotez, Sabin's president. "Millions of people around the world have him to thank for freeing them of the debilitating burden of vaccine-preventable and neglected tropical diseases."
Dr. Shepherd's various awards and honors include honorary degrees from Villanova University and The George Washington University.
He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Carol Ruth Shepherd, and by his four children: John, Marjorie, Elizabeth, and Benjamin.