Dilshad Merchant

Dilshad Merchant, RRT, retired last week as Manager of Respiratory Care Services at Morton Plant Hospital in Clearwater, Florida. A perpetual American Lung Association volunteer, Dilshad is honored here for her career-long support for the Association and for her service to patients and colleagues throughout those 29 years.

Since the early 80s, Dilshad has provided pulmonary rehab, a Better Breathers Club and many ALA materials and resources to the thousands of lung disease patients who have come through her doors. She designed one of the first Family Asthma Days and lobbied hard to have Freedom From Smoking® provided at her hospital. When talking about the role the ALA has played in her career Dilshad states, In 1983 I started a pulmonary rehab program with tools provided by the American Lung Association.  Together we helped people with COPD and asthma breathe better and overcome tobacco addictions. The programs that were developed by the American Lung Association, such as Freedom from Smoking, Open Airways, and Better Breathers, played a vital role in the growth and development of our Lung Center services.” 

Dilshad has always been a driving force in professional education in Florida’s Gulfcoast area. She has hosted many CEU seminars at her hospital and has always used those venues to encourage her colleagues to become ALA volunteers. She has recruited doctors and respiratory therapists as volunteers for Open Airways, Asthma Camp, the Leadership Council and team members for fund-raising events.   Because of her efforts, her hospital has consistently stepped forward as sponsor for several galas and women’s lung health luncheons.

Dilshad’s career has been sprinkled with a total of 11 years on our local Tampa Bay Leadership Council. This self-proclaimed “common girl from Calcutta” has made an uncommon commitment, both professionally and personally, to saving lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. When talking about her role in the ALA Dilshad states, “Over the years I have served on your board and various committees and have always looked to you (American Lung Association) for guidance and support.”   It is for that same faithful guidance and support that The American Lung Association in Florida is pleased to honor Dilshad by presenting her as Volunteer of the Week.