Judith Fischer Retires

After more than four decades of service, mainly as a volunteer, to Post-Polio Health International and its predecessor organizations, Judith Raymond Fischer is retiring as IVUN’s Information Specialist, the last in a series of positions she has filled over the years.

Fischer became involved with the organization, which published the Rehabilitation Gazette, in the late 1960s when it was coordinated from the Chagrin Falls, Ohio, home of founders Gini and Joe Laurie. Gini Laurie continued the work after moving back to St. Louis, and Fischer moved to St. Louis in 1984 to become the organization’s first executive director. With Laurie, Frederick M. Maynard, MD, and D. Armin Fischer, MD, she co-edited the first edition of Handbook on the Late Effects of Poliomyelitis for Physicians and Survivors.

Fischer helped Laurie coordinate the International Polio and Independent Living Conferences and began publication of IVUN News (now Ventilator-Assisted Living). She resigned as executive director in 1987 when she married Dr. Armin Fischer and moved to southern California, where she continued to edit the publication for ventilator users until 2005.

Since then, as IVUN’s Information Specialist, Fischer has edited the Resource Directory for Ventilator-Assisted Living, compiled the Home Ventilator Guide, and contributed “From Around the Network” information for Ventilator-Assisted Living. This regularly featured column provides readers with the latest data on new products and services, and it has become a trusted source for medical news of interest to ventilator users and for accurate information on government policies and disability issues. Her network of contacts has also been the source of many informative first-person stories about ventilator users. She also has served as IVUN’s liaison with the Home Care NetWork Steering Committee of the American College of Chest Physicians.

“Judith has been a strong advocate for IVUN and all patients with chronic ventilator needs,” said Nicholas S. Hill, MD, Chief, Pulmonary, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine, Tufts Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts. “You’ve certainly gained my admiration for your commitment and your thoughtful approach to the many challenges we’ve all faced.”

Joan L. Headley, who succeeded Fischer as executive director, said, “IVUN is grateful for Judith’s many contributions over the years. She has been a valuable friend and resource for me, and I know I can depend on her wise counsel to IVUN when needed.”