The First Sleep Tech
Peter McGregor, RPSGT, dies at age 81
By Mike Bederka
In 2003, Peter McGregor, RPSGT, described the early days of being a sleep technologist. "We were invisible," he told me. "We worked at night and very seldom met with the physicians."
He wanted to bring techs out of the shadows, and his four-pronged plan dramatically changed the sleep landscape: Establish an identity and give a sense of community for techs; open communication and exchange ideas; expand the educational process; and improve patient care and safety.
In 1978, McGregor founded the Association of Polysomnographic Technologists (now the American Association of Sleep Technologists) and served as its first president. He also was one of seven techs to take the first certification exam in sleep technology; he holds RPSGT credential #001.
McGregor died Jan. 23 at age 81.
Sharon Keenan, PhD, RPSGT, REEGT, met McGregor, a father of four, in 1976. The year before, he helped to found the second sleep center in the country at New York's Montefiore Medical Center, and he assisted Dr. Keenan with the setup of her lab. They instantly hit it off because of their mutual training in EEG.
"Everyone loved him, and he loved everyone back," she recalled. "He took his work seriously and demanded that of the people he worked with, but he did it in a grandfatherly way. He nudged them along."
"Peter was very much a gentlemen," added Cynthia Mattice, MS, RPSGT, AAST past president and a member of the board of directors. They first worked together in the early '80s.
Mattice said he was particularly proud of the organization's growth. Thirty-seven people attended the inaugural meeting; the AAST now boasts more than 4,800 members.
"The APT has grown beyond my wildest expectations," McGregor said in 2003 when membership stood at 2,500.
McGregor continued to serve the field later in life, noted Dr. Keenan, director of the School of Sleep Medicine in Palo Alto, Calif. He worked as a consultant and attended AAST meetings when he could.
"He had such a big spirit," said Dr. Keenan, fighting back tears. "He'll never really be gone."
Contact Mike Bederka at email@example.com.
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