Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
In Memoriam
Marvin Dale Shepherd, PE, FACCE
May 18, 1932 - April 13, 2023
Marvin Dale Shepherd, PE, FACCE 

Pioneer, Leader, Mentor, Innovative Thinker, Humanitarian and Dear friend
Marvin Dale Shepherd passed away peacefully on April 13, 2023 in Walnut Creek, California, at the age of 90. Marvin is survived by his lovely wife, Patricia Ann Shepherd.
Marvin began his career in the 1960s and is certainly one of the pioneers in clinical engineering. After graduating from a Fire Safety college program and becoming a professional engineer (P.E.) in California, he transitioned into the application of his newly gained knowledge to the bedside environment and to the prevention of failure modes of medical devices while being connected to patients.
Marvin is recognized as one of the first in our field to propose a methodology that described patient safety and risk management as a system that consists of elements to be identified and controlled. Around 2002, Mr. Shepherd joined the then named  "ACCE-Health Technology Foundation” Board, with the focus to teach Patient Safety. In 2006, Marvin initiated through his personal financial contribution, the annual ACCE/HTF Shepherd Patient Safety Award. It “bestowed the award on a single individual (per Marv's request) or one entity who has excelled in the "safety" area related to the CE field. Potential awardees could be a national investigator of accidents, an inventor of a safety device, or an author of books on medical device hazards” promoting excellence in this subject matter."
Based on his contributions over 50 years, Marv is absolutely one of the most influential pioneers and industry leaders in our profession. He has had a substantial impact on its evolution since the profession's inception. He advocated by prolifically writing and speaking widely on topics related to a systems approach to medical device safety, fire safety, electrical safety, human factors engineering, and incident investigation.
Marv's innovations in safety, human factors engineering, and incident investigation led him to develop two of what would become the clinical engineering profession's most referenced tools. One is Shepherd's System for Medical Device Incident Investigation and Reporting (Quest Publishing, 1992) and the other is the Electrical Safety Manual: A Comprehensive Guide to Safety Standards for Healthcare Facilities (AAMI).
Marv was recently nominated and selected to be inducted into the ACCE Clinical Engineering Hall of Fame in 2023. That award will now be given posthumously. 
We will all miss Marv's expertise and humanitarianism. Rest in Peace Marv!

Marvin Dale Shepherd, PE, FACCE

Fond memories and expressions from friends and colleagues​


Marvin has been a pioneer in our field since his early days and his contributions have spanned over 50+ years. Marv, as he was lovingly referred to, was one of the most influential leaders in Clinical Engineering. His industry friends, colleagues, and peers state that he was not shy of expressing his thoughts and that led to exceptional advocacy on very crucial topics in the field. He was a prolific writer and orator and always grew the knowledge base by writing and speaking on systems safety, electrical and fire safety, human factors engineering, and medical device incident investigations. As we shared the news from his family with colleagues and friends in the field, the acknowledgement we received spoke volumes of the legacy Marv leaves behind. Not only has he influenced young clinical engineers, but he developed innovative solutions that have made a profound impact on everyone in the field now. Two such noteworthy solutions are the Shepherd's System for Medical Device Incident Investigation and Reporting (Quest Publishing,1992) and the other is the Electrical Safety Manual: A Comprehensive Guide to Safety Standards for Healthcare Facilities (AAMI). There are numerous credits spanning his career in the field that are worth recognizing, reading, and absorbing but what’s more important is how he built the strong circle of support within this technology community. In the last few days, I have had the opportunity to listen and see messages that mentors, colleagues, and friends responded about Marv and it is very touching and quite frankly inspiring! The friendships he has built and sustained, the gentle push he has given for so many engineers to advance their career upwards, travel memories that everyone cherishes, and last but not the least the good food, cigars, and wine shared – all of that makes us miss this great innovator, influencer, leader, mentor, and friend! 


Priya Upendra, ACCE President


In the early days of our profession, Marv’s publications and presentations influenced young clinical engineers like me and ultimately his material became the foundation of our knowledge about how safety, human factors engineering, and incident investigation could contribute to patient care.  In 2005-6, I was fortunate to become friends with Marv and his wife Patsy.  We had the opportunity to travel together and Marv, I and other colleagues enjoyed sharing good cigars and libations on numerous occasions.  Marv was a kind, gentle old soul and I am sorry I’ll not have an opportunity to share his company again.  But I know he’ll be there in spirit whenever our friends light up and sip a good beverage.

I have to laugh to myself for the trust Joel placed in each of us as such young ages. In only a few years, many of us found ourselves presenting keynote speeches on his behalf at national and international scientific and medical sessions, and most of us had little more than a Bachelor's Degree and Dr. Nobel's say-so to back us up. As he sagely told me while calming my jitters before one of my first national debuts, "Just stick to what you know, Elliot, and don't let anyone draw you onto their turf. You know more about that product than anyone else in the nation, so stick to your guns."

I have to admit that Dr. Nobel was never easy to keep up with. He seemed to sleep but a couple of hours a night, and regardless of your medical, engineering, scientific, or legal specialty his habit of endless reading and his sharp, critical mind ensured that everyone needed to bring his or her "A-game" when you talked to him. Holidays and vacations seemed of little interest to him unless tied to a working mission or project, and the concept of retirement seemed unfathomable. Dr. Nobel never, ever sat still, and tracking him down around the globe was a challenge until the end! Not sure most of us would trade our own lives for his, but that was a choice that afforded him the constant cultural and scientific renewal and impact that made him tick.

I still hearken too many of the rules and explanations in that Employee Handbook, even though I've not been an employee at ECRI Institute for 25 years. Pearls like "a non-profit organization is not like most other corporations" as he tried to make it clear to everyone that ECRI's public mission and integrity took precedent over profit or rewards. Firm guidelines about spending funds as frugally as if they were your own personal money regardless of the situation, and incredibly restrictive conflict-of-interest and disclosure rules for each and every employee are today embedded in IRS and FDA guidelines and their peers around the world. I, and the non-profit organizations that I lead strive to live up to those requirements each and every day!

When I talked to Dr. Nobel as recently as last year, he had lost none of his missionary bravado, focus, or acuity, and his global treks were only limited by the wear and tear of travel. No country was too small, and no slice of society was unworthy of his time and attention. Unfortunately, though blessed with a brilliant mind and visionary perspective, his solid, stocky body turned out to be less robust than his intellect. Though I probably had close to a foot of height advantage over him, he was never less than a giant in my mind. I am sure that I won't be the only one to remember him that way, either!

You will certainly read of Dr. Nobel's accomplishments in the future, but I can tell you first hand that most of the accounts will be humble re-telling of a legacy that did -- and will continue to -- improve healthcare around the planet in remarkable and important ways. In the early days, half or more of the medical devices his engineers tested were at best mediocre, and many were a threat to life and/or limb. Today, though, most such testing reveals good-to-excellent products in the US market that are differentiated on features, price, and preference. That is quite an achievement, and it was won one year at a time relying on Dr. Nobel's commitment to "The Discipline of Science." and "The Integrity of Independence." That is the current marketing byline that the ECRI Institute that Joel founded, and it speaks volumes about the organizations ongoing mission.

Personally, few will know of Joel's wry humor and bent towards practical jokes, and few will know just how far he would go to help a younger engineer or physician develop a successful career. I owe him a huge debt of gratitude for his training, discipline, and visionary leadership, and can honestly help say that Dr. Nobel helped shape my career and life.

There are probably several other hundreds of my peers around the world -- younger and older -- who will have similar recollections and feelings, and I hope they all eventually say their piece. To me, early in my career Joel was like a second father, and leaving him and ECRI to expand my own career was not an easy decision for me to make in 1990, but he knew, too, that it was time for me to move on, and his friendship and support for me and many others proved to be unending. Farewell my dear friend. We will all miss you, but many of us will continue to do our best to honor you courage, vision, and insight. Honor and respect are due. Rest in peace, good Samurai, and soar joyously into the winds and in our memories for eternity.

Steve Grimes


It is a sad day for clinical engineers and health professionals. Marv was a pioneer, leader, mentor and influencer the health technology field. Also, an Icon and role model for young professionals. Marv's work, documents and lectures have contributed the foundation for medical devices safety and human factors engineering programs in several academic programs in Latin America and the Caribbean. He was a strong supporter of the ACEW and participate as faculty member on several of them. I will miss Marv's advice and anecdotes.   ​

ECRI went on to validate ambulances and the equipment carried in the ambulance. Many of today's standards (called KKK) for EMS equipment and vehicles were developed by ECRI and Dr. Noble reaching out to assure appropriate technology and patient care everywhere a patient was treated. Electrical safety testing, defibrillator, laser and ESU output testing, receptacle testing, medical gas testing and many other functions we do today he helped develop and standardize for our profession. Equipment databases as well as standardized descriptions, testing protocols, etc. were all developed by ECRI during hospital biomedical early years. Projects many of us work on today to properly manage technology from pre-purchase through surplus - technology management of medical devices - was developed and proven domestically and internationally under his guidance at ECRI. Work we do today to assure compatibility between medical devices, systems and facilities was something ECRI started educating biomeds about in the 1980's. Laser safety, operating room fires, the list goes on and on of work he directed and mentored at ECRI that is now practiced daily to improve patient safety.

The biomedical profession has lost some of our foundation with Dr. Joel Nobel's passing.

Antonio Hernandez


Marv was a wonderful colleague and an extraordinary professional. He will be missed by everyone who had a chance to spend time with him and enjoy his many stories based on experience, wisdom, and communicated with a great sense of humor. His valuable contributions and selfless generosity will have a positive and long-lasting impact on our profession for years to come.

Joel was probably the first real genius I met...though there were unquestionably others on his team (who remembers Guy Knickerbocker?). As it is with so many great geniuses, I soon learned Joel had idiosyncrasies that would forever make him an icon and a legend. Many of my past and current ECRI friends will remember some (or most) of the following:

  • always wearing OR "greens" and with his flak jacket serving as an overcoat...He didn't like to go out of the "lab" often and it was probably 2 years when he and I did a speaking engagement together and he was forced to wear a jacket and tie.
  • equipping the company Toyota Cressida wagons with survival gear and supplies...complete with machetes
  • conducting an interview from under his desk with a flummoxed job candidate (who didn't get the job)
  • having telephones installed in the bathroom stalls
  • driving around the office campus in his full sized farm tractor
  • dropping in on orientation for a new group of technicians to give classic career advice (which though humorous now, I can't repeat)
  • hiring a violinist during one holiday period to stroll up and down between our cubicles to play holiday music
  • on one holiday giving each member of the staff a smoke alarm and on another, a fire extinguisher (practical gifts which left no doubt as to his concerns for our safety)


I will miss Joel. I will miss the idiosyncrasies that endeared him to us and the genius that inspired us. I loved him for all of it and I will be always be grateful to him for giving us the extended ECRI family...a family whose talent was synergistic and that continues to grow to this day. left this world a much, much better place. Who can aspire to more? Thank you and God speed.

Julio Huerta



I’m very sad to know about Marv passing away. Condolences to his family and to all of you, as it is very sad to see friends leaving this world. We should keep disseminating and sharing all the knowledge they gave us and acknowledging and thanking each member of this community.​

​Adriana Velazquez


I first met Marv in the early 1990s when I started to work for the largest medical equipment rental company at that time, MEDIQ/PRN Life Support Services.  Prior to working at MEDIQ, I had the opportunity to investigate some patient incidents related to medical equipment but most of them were outside of the US where litigations are not as common.  Since MEDIQ was renting mostly life support equipment, the number and severity of incidents were much higher.  Furthermore, since I was “volunteered” not only to investigate but also, whenever necessary, defend the company, I decided to take a class taught by Marv, who was already reputed to be one of the leading safety champions and incident investigators at that time.  I learned from Marv what he called the "System Risk Model" for incident investigation, i.e., not only looking at the equipment alleged involved but also the entire environment around the patient.  This model and other materials that he published helped me to conduct thousands of incident investigations at MEDIQ and later at Aramark Clinical Technology Services.  The fact that those organizations never lost a single litigation during my tenure is testimony to the good lessons I learned from Marv.  

​Binseng Wang


​We are saddened to lose another of the pioneers in our field.  We owe so much, as a profession to Marv, as laid out eloquently in his Hall of Fame nomination.  But more than what he did, it was how he did it.  Marv was a gentleman, through and through.  Always positive in his attitude, open to hear alternative views, and never disparaging.  May he be welcomed into that ultimate Hall of Fame in the next life.

Ray Zambuto 


Marv has been a mentor for me and is a friend and valued colleague. We were both involved in creation of what was originally named the ACCE Healthcare Technology Foundation.

One of Marv's many talents that I particularly admire is his writing ability. He developed Shepherd's System for Incident Investigation and Reporting that for many years he regularly updated and sold as a subscription service for attorney's and others. After retiring from clinical engineering practice, Marv went on to write and publish books of regional history for northern California. 

Matt Baretich


Jean and I have had the privilege of visiting with Patsy and Marv a few times over the years. What a gracious couple they were. Marv was such an inspiration during the time that we were all getting the CE ball rolling. What good times they were for us all. Fun and friendship all rolled into one. Marv was of course one of the cofounders, along with Eben Kermit, of the Technical Iconoclast sessions that became perennially embedded in the AAMI Annual. For that alone he deserves our eternal thanks. 

Thank you, Marv. It has been a great honor to have been one of your friends.

Malcolm Ridgway


Marv was a role model and mentor for me. I really appreciated his approach to problem solving, his focus on patient safety and risk reduction and his ability to teach. Marv will be missed.

Frank Painter


I met Marv Shepherd around 1978 when I was a “rookie” clinical engineer at UC Davis Medical Center and Marv worked in the Environmental Health and Safety office at UC San Francisco. I soon learned that Marv was a very valuable resource for whenever I had questions about electrical safety, regulatory interpretations, or how to investigate a medical device-related incident. Marv, in his thoughtful and calm way, always provided helpful hints and practical guidance and was a mentor to me and several others within the University of California healthcare systems.

Ted Cohen


I have known Mr. Shepherd for over 30 years and regards him as an influencer and innovative thinker that impacted many practitioners in our field including myself.

Wayne Morse and I traveled to Walnut Creek a month ago and visited with Marv and Patsy. I was a special day as we went down memory lane laughing and reminding ourselves of "things" we shared over the past 4 decades. Marv offered his "regulars" good drinks and cigars but it was clear that he is not up to consume it anymore/ He was delighted to learn that so many of his community remember so much of his unique contributions to our field and that he has been nominated to the ACCE CE Hall of Fame.

Patsy called me Friday night and told me that our visit with Marv was the last highlight he enjoyed tremendously. Marv passed away peacefully on April 13th.

I feel blessed to experience this final visit with Marv. I'll miss this gentleman.​

Yadin David


​Marvin was a great friend and colleague. I had the pleasure of serving on a biomedical advisory council with him for many years.  He was a joy to be around and will be missed by all that knew him.  

Doug Dreps


I am so sorry to hear this. Marv supported a lot of us and was a pioneer.  I'm very grateful for his support early in this career.  

​Paul Sherman


Marv was the clinical engineering leader in patient safety through his publications, teaching, research, and personal commitment to the field, e.g. Shepherd Patient Safety Award. I was lucky to work with such a smart, kind and jovial person in some ACEWs in Central America and with the HTF. Blessing that he will be in the CE hall and his work will be available to the field. 

Tobey Clark


Echoing what Tobey and so many others have already said. Marv was a gentle giant in our field. I never heard him raise his voice, but he never backed down from his carefully chosen positions, either. It was a privilege to know him, and to work with him. Marv will always be remembered kindly, and with great respect.

Elliot Sloane


Marv was one of the most kind hearted individuals I have known. I had the pleasure of attending with him the ACCE ACEW in Argentina, which ended with a wonderful trip to Chile to do a wine tasting and admire the beautiful coastline. The fond memories of the times I spent with Marv and his wife Patsy will forever be remembered. His true spirit,his adventurous nature and his dedication to the HTM profession will stay in our hearts forever.
Marv will truly be missed.

Izabella Gieras


​I am thankful for his friendship, his leadership on safety, his creativity (wrote 2 books in retirement: my visits with him to Fisherman's Wharf and Walnut Creek, his words of wisdom and his legacy. He loved us and we loved him. Also thankful to GCEA (Yadin and Wayne) for their recent time with him and for the process of digitizing many of his works for the future CEs to have.

Tom Judd


OMG. I have been thinking about him so much lately. He was such an influence on me and the field. He was on my "Board of Mentors" and I will miss him terribly. RIP my friend.

                                                                                                                                            Paul Kelly

Kevin Ferguson and Marvin Shepherd

He was my friend, colleague, and mentor. His passion for his work is reflected in me and all that knew him.It was his mentoring that helped me to grow my enthusiasm for incident investigation. 

He often sent me "what if"questions that enhanced my thought process. 

And as I recall the many things he shared with me, my best memory is the visit we shared last June. Thank you Marv.

Kevin Ferguson


Marv sharing his knowledge at ACCE-ACEW,  Long Beach, 2006
 Marv sharing his knowledge at ACCE-ACEW, Long Beach, 2006

Presenting at ACCE ACEW Costa Rica, 2002
Presenting at ACCE ACEW Costa Rica, 2002

Marv (2nd row, right)  and faculty at ACEW Argentina, 2006
Marv (2nd row, right) and faculty at ACEW Argentina, 2006

Marvin Dale Shepherd, PE, FACCE
Marv Shepherd, Doug Dreps, and Yadin David in San Diego during HIMSS 2006.

Marvin Dale Shepherd, PE, FACCE
Frank Painter, Marv Shepherd, and Joe Dyro in Saratoga Springs, NY

Marvin Dale Shepherd, PE, FACCE
Manny Furst and Marv Shepherd at HIMSS 2007 Conference in New Orleans

The American College of Clinical Engineering is a 501 (c) (6) non-profit organization
5200 Butler Pike   Plymouth Meeting PA 19462-1298   Phone: (610) 825-6067
© 2018 ACCE. All rights reserved