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San Joaquin Valley College Blog

SJVC Bakersfield Dedicates New Respiratory Therapy Lab to Former Medical Director, Dr. Hans Einstein

March 2, 2023

Dr. Hans Emil Einstein, an accomplished pulmonologist in the area of respiratory therapy, former Medical Director of the Respiratory Therapy (RT) program at the SJVC Bakersfield campus, and an avid supporter of the program, will be honored in March with the newly renovated RT Lab dedicated in his name.


Michael Valverde, Program Director of the RT Program, was a student at SJVC when Dr. Einstein was the Medical Director. “It’s great to have our renovated simulation lab dedicated to him now, due to how much he put into the program and his love of teaching. The updated lab will keep his memory going, and inspire great clinicians from the program.”


Dr. Einstein, who was born in Berlin but migrated to the United States, was a relative of Dr. Albert Einstein, the world-renowned physicist, who was his grandfather’s cousin.  He met and befriended Albert Einstein’s son, Hans Albert Einstein, a few years after arriving in the US and remained friends, occasionally dining with the great physicist when he visited his son.


Dr. Einstein was also the foremost authority on Valley Fever, a lung disease endemic to the hot, dry, climates of the southwestern United States. It is an infection from a fungus that spreads through spores from dirt or breathing them in the air. He began to distinguish the infection from tuberculosis while practicing in Bakersfield at what is now the Kern Medical Center and as assistant medical director of the Kern County tuberculosis sanitarium in Keene. He dedicated many years of his career to serving the community of the Bakersfield area, creating awareness of the fungus and working on a vaccine.  With the outdoor industries of agriculture and oil in the area, residents learned to stay inside on particularly windy, dry days to avoid contracting the disease.


Dr. Einstein’s support of the Respiratory Therapy program in its early years was critical; many years later, as the demands of the COVID epidemic and the spread of other respiratory viruses increased, the RT program was ready to respond. Michael Valverde believes “Respiratory Therapy was the forgotten career when it came to the medical field. But the pandemic really opened the eyes of communities to the significant role respiratory therapists play with critical care patients. Now we are a vital cog in the machine of primary care givers and play a vital role in patient assessment and putting together a care plan for each patient.”


The renovations to the Respiratory Therapy lab include updating equipment for better training in detecting disease. There are three new high-fidelity mannequins for students to use in simulation exercises. This modern equipment represents neo-natal, pediatric and adult simulation for breathing or making breath sounds, talking, and pulses.


Larry Romero, Director of Clinical Education, fondly commented: “Dr. Einstein was the Medical Director here toward the end of his own career. Back then he told me his best days were when he came here to be with the students; he would sit up front in the classroom and they would go over case studies with him. He loved the program and especially loved the students.”




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