Cesar Caceres, cardiologist and former AAMI Board of Directors chair and president, passed away on February 9. Caceres was known as the “Father of Clinical Engineering” for his early work combining computers with healthcare. His contributions to healthcare technology greatly improved patient care.

“Cesar was an AAMI founder and certainly helped the association find its way,” says Michael J. Miller, former AAMI president and CEO. “His work extended to all facets of AAMI, including the journal (BI&T), education programs, standards, and acting as a liaison with other professional organizations. He was instrumental in developing our clinical engineering certification program as well as defining the concept of clinical engineering.”

Caceres was one of AAMI’s first members. He joined the association while employed at the Public Health Service (PHS) Medical Systems Development Laboratory. There, he and his colleagues developed the first functional computer electrocardiographic interpretive system in the U.S. During an interview about his work at PHS, Caceres used the term “clinical engineering” to describe the combination of computers and healthcare. 

In 1983, Caceres founded and served as the executive director of the Institute for Technology in Health Care (ITHC). The nonprofit group encourages the use of technology to benefit health or the delivery of health-related services. In collaboration with the AAMI Foundation, ITHC offers an annual Clinical Solution Award to a healthcare technology professional or group that has applied innovative clinical engineering practices or principles to solve patient care problems.

“On behalf of all of us at AAMI, we send our sincere condolences. Our heart goes out to his friends and family. Dr. Caceres’ legacy will live on with the annual AAMI Foundation and ITHC award,” says Steve Campbell, AAMI chief operating officer and executive director of the AAMI Foundation.