Born in Chicago, Illinois, he received his BA and MD at the University of Chicago, where he later returned for a residency in radiology. Drafted into the United States Air Force in 1962, he went on to earn a PhD in Radiobiology at New York University, completed a residency in Aerospace Medicine at Brooks Air Force Base, Texas, and obtained a Master’s in Public Health at the Harvard School of Public Health. Dr. Heimbach became board certified in Aerospace Medicine by the American Board of Preventative Medicine, in 1974.
With his mentor and former residency advisor Dr. Jefferson C. Davis, Dr. Heimbach established the USAF Hyperbaric Medicine Center at Brooks Air Force Base and became its Director of Medical Operations. In this role, he created hyperbaric fellowships for physicians and nurses and authored numerous papers and textbook chapters, all of which contributed to the creation of the hyperbaric medicine specialty. Dr. Heimbach became Director of the USAF Hyperbaric Medicine Center in 1978 and remained in that role until he retired as a Colonel in 1982.
Upon retirement, Dr. Heimbach entered private practice at Southwest Texas Methodist Hospital in San Antonio. His team operated what was, at the time, the only civilian wound care and hyperbaric medicine facility outside a university setting in the South Central United States. He was ably assisted among others by Paul Baker, also late of the USAF, and a long-standing NBDHMT Board Member, including many years as its president. Dr. Heimbach eventually retired in 2000. The last time I spent time with him was a decade or so ago for game of golf along with Paul, a few miles up the interstate from San Antonio.
Dr. Heimbach was one of only two physicians to serve as President of both the Aerospace Medical Association (ASMA) and the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS).
The Board offers its condolences to his family, and shares this loss with Dr. Heimbach’s many friends and colleagues. His was a life well lived.
Dick Clarke, President
National Board of Diving & Hyperbaric Medical Technology
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Updated April 6, 2018