Dr. Mitchell A. Baran,
C.M., H.B.A., F.C.A.
Dr. Mitchell A. Baran, affectionately known to all as Mitch, was born into a hard working immigrant family that was severely impoverished by the Great Depression. He lost his mother at an early age, and suffered from childhood asthma. Through sheer determination and hard work he rose to become one of Canada’s most successful businessmen and made broad and enduring contributions to respiratory care and the community. He was an honours graduate of the Ivey School of Business, and a Fellow of the Ontario Institute of Chartered Accountants.
Dr. Baran was known as a successful and passionate businessman - owner and Chairman of the Trudell Medical Group, a global player in the manufacturing and distribution of medical products as well as the provision of respiratory services. He was involved in a number of Federal and Provincial committees initiated to promote the growth of the healthcare and pharmaceutical business in Canada. He has served as Chairman and in various other capacities for a number of healthcare institutions in London, Ontario and was the founding Chairman of Let's Talk Science, a national organization promoting science education in schools.
Dr. Baran’s contributions to respiratory health began when he acquired Trudell Medical in 1967. It was a small medical equipment distribution company that had a focus in the respiratory area. In the course of business he met the inventors of the AeroChamber® Valved Holding Chamber (VHC) and agreed to license the rights to manufacture and sell the device. The concept of the device resonated with him because of his childhood asthma. He led the development of the device from concept to final design and it was launched in the early 1980s. The product ensured the consistent dose delivery of metered dose inhalers (MDIs) by reducing variability in dose delivery due to most patients’ inability to properly coordinate inhalation with the MDI’s aerosol “puff”. The AeroChamber® VHC also facilitated the use of MDIs with pediatric and infant patients through a facemask interface. Since its introduction the benefits of the device have had enormous impacts on patients’ lives around the world. The AeroChamber® VHC is marketed in over 110 countries and is the subject of over 300 peer reviewed papers and presentations.
Since the introduction of the AeroChamber® VHC, Dr. Baran continued to lead innovation through continuous design improvements of the AeroChamber® VHC and the introduction of other novel respiratory devices. He believed that business success would follow if he focused on delivering clinically proven devices and services that provided superior patient outcomes leading to healthcare system savings. Under his leadership, Trudell introduced the first affordable pneumatic breath actuated nebulizer, and the Aerobika® Oscillating Positive Expiratory Pressure (OPEP) device. The Aerobika® OPEP is the first device of its kind that has been shown to have a clinical impact on COPD patients.
Recognizing the importance of science and practical clinical input, Dr. Baran founded The Trudell Medical Aerosol Laboratory, recognized as one of the top laboratories of its kind in the world. Many of the peer reviewed scientific papers generated by the laboratory have added to basic scientific knowledge and laboratory protocols dealing with respiratory drug delivery and ancillary devices. He continuously sought the input of respiratory therapists and pulmonologists to understand their needs and to improve medical device design and service provision.
Through Monaghan Medical Corporation, one of Trudell’s U.S. based affiliates, Dr. Baran supported the American Association of Respiratory Care (AARC) and the AARC Foundation with numerous initiatives, including The Monaghan-Trudell Aerosol Science Award. Over the years Monaghan has won the prestigious AARC Zenith Award numerous times. This corporate award is voted on by RTs and bestowed upon member companies based upon their service record, truth in advertising and support of the respiratory care profession, amongst other criteria.
In addition to his leadership in respiratory device development, in 1981 Dr. Baran founded ProResp Inc. Over its 35 years of providing care, ProResp has become the largest independent, Canadian owned provider of community respiratory services. Its philosophy and success is based on Dr. Baran’s original strategy of focusing on patient care and employing qualified Respiratory Therapists as a differentiating factor in the marketplace. ProResp has led innovation in respiratory homecare, from its business model of integrating care transitions through joint ventures with hospitals and through clinical innovations such as providing in-home respiratory support for patients on long term ventilation. In 1999, ProResp was awarded the Meritorious Service Award by the Ontario Lung Association for “dedicated service and valuable partnership in the cause of improving respiratory health.”
Dr. Baran complemented his contributions to business and medicine with outstanding contributions to the community and the nation. Dr. Baran was the recipient of the 2006 – Lay Category, Partners in Research Biomedical Ambassadors Award and is a recipient of the Order of Canada and The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, which recognizes a lifetime of outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation. In addition Dr. Baran set up the Mitchell and Kathryn Baran Family Foundation which supports local healthcare and human services charities. Dr. Baran never forgot his humble beginnings or those who helped him along the way. In addition to his many accomplishments, he is fondly remembered for his kindness and dedication to helping individuals in need. Dr. Baran passed away from a brain tumor and associated complications in August of this year.