About the Camp > About the Founder

About the Founder

Dr. Moises Simpser, MD, FAAP, FCCP (1946-2017)

Dr. Simpser was born and raised in México City, México and is a citizen of the USA. He went to Medical School at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), México City, where he graduated with honors. He did a three years residency at Hospital Infantil de México. At the completion of his residency, he moved to Boston where he did a fellowship in Pediatric Pulmonology at Boston Children's Hospital (Harvard Medical School.) Then, he did an extra two years of Pediatrics at Boston City Hospital (Boston University).

After training, he moved to the Children's Hospital of New Jersey (United Hospitals), affiliated with the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ), where he was the Director of the Pediatric ICU and Pediatric Pulmonology. He was an instructor and then Assistant Professor at UMDNJ. In 1984, he joined Nicklaus Children's Hospital where he remains Director of the Divisions of Pulmonology and Pulmonary Care.

Dr. Simpser's background includes 10 years personal experience in scouting, plus experience in camp development, organization and personnel training for the Mexican Red Cross. In 1980, he founded the first YMCA asthma camp in Frost Valley, NY, to mainstream severe asthmatics from poor inner city neighborhoods with healthy youngsters. In 1984 and 1985, he served as medical director of asthma summer camps sponsored by the American Lung Association of Dade-Monroe Counties.

In 1986 and 1987, the first Ventilation Assisted Children's Center Camp took place during the summer and operated in collaboration with SKIP of Florida. The first camp was known as SKIP Family Learning Retreats. Carol Montiel, RN was actively involved in the creation of the camp and participated every year thereafter until the year 2002. Barbara Donahue, ARNP and the parents of two of Dr. Simpser's patients were also involved in the camp start-up. When the local SKIP chapter dissolved, Dr. Simpser elected to continue camp as offshoot of Nicklaus Children's Hospital Ventilation Assisted Children's Center (VACC Camp).

He initiated the first Cystic Fibrosis Center affiliated with the National Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. He started an Asthma Center for underprivileged children because he believes that everybody is entitled to high quality of medical care.

Dr. Simpser is the author of two dozen papers and abstracts and has participated in multiple research projects, as well as, contributed with multiple educational programs for physicians, healthcare professionals, educators, parents and community agencies.

He was a Trustee of Nicklaus Children's Hospital and was member of the Medical Board. He is a member of the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Thoracic Society and others. Dr. Simpser has taken a leadership role in the American Lung Pediatric Association's lung disease prevention programs for 16 years.

In 1995 Dr. Simpser received several honors. He was presented with the following:
  • A Proclamation by the City of Miami
  • The Key to the City of Miami
  • A Proclamation from the Honorable Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
  • The flag of the United States

For many years, the doctor has been working with Medicaid to reduce the rate of admissions for asthma, while improving the quality of life of asthmatic children and their families.

  • In 1997, Dr. Simpser received a grant "Attacking Asthma" in partnership with Medicaid Area 11 and The Health Council of South Florida. Working with this grant and the Nicklaus Children's Hospital Asthma Center, there has been a reduction of 70% to 85% in emergency room visits and 95% reduction in the admission rate for asthma. The length of stay for asthma has been reduced from 5.3 days to 2.7 days and currently following an asthma pathway to 1.3 days.
  • In 1998, the American College of Chest Physicians presented Dr. Simpser with its prestigious Governors Community Service Award.
  • In 1999 he received the Physician Humanitarian Award during the 10th Annual Medical Business Award Ceremony.
  • Dr. Simpser was named to the Dade County Medical Association Board of Directors for the 2000-2001 year.
  • In the October 2000 issue of Miami Metro Magazine's article "Top Docs 2000", Dr. Simpser was featured as one of the best physicians in South Florida.
  • Dr. Simpser received the first Lucent Technologies Humanitarian of the Year award. He was honored with this award during the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's Twelfth Annual "Superbowl of Fashion" October 22, 2000.
  • In November of 2001, Dr. Simpser received the prestigious International Award "Dr. Federico Gomez", given by the highest institution of teaching in Mexico and Latin America, The Hospital Infantil de Mexico
  • In October of 2003, Dr. Simpser was awarded the CHEST Foundation 2003 Governors Community Service Award, including a $7,500 grant for VACC Camp
  • In April of 2004, Dr. Simpser received the "Health Care Hero" award from the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce
  • On December 3rd, 2004, Dr. Simpser received the "Drs. Paul and Marsha Haber Protector of Children Award" from the Child Assault Prevention (CAP) Project of South Florida, Inc.
  • In August of 2005, Dr. Simpser was selected for Induction into the Nicklaus Children's Hospital Hall of Excellence
  • At the VACC Camp's 20th Anniversary Party, Dr. Simpser received a proclamation from the City of Miami, April 11, 2006, as VACC Camp Day
  • A presentation to the House of Representatives was done by the Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lethinen on November 29th, 2010 to congratulate Dr. Simpser and Nicklaus Children's Hospital for the 25th anniversary of VACC Camp. During VACC Camp 2010 25th anniversary celebration on March 16th, Ms. Debbie Zimmerman, Chief of Staff for Ileana Ros-Lehtinen presented Dr. Simpser with the proclamation/presentation.
  •  In 2012, Dr. Simpser stepped down from being the Director of the Division of Pulmonology, remained as Director of the Ventilation Assisted Children’s center, Director of the VACC Camp and became the Director of the Asthma Center,
  • In March 2016, Dr. Simpser received a plaque from the Hard Rock Café in Bayside in honor of the many Years of community partnership between the Hard Rock and VACC Camp.  The same week VACC Camp celebrated its 30th anniversary and in the Gala celebration, Dr. Simpser received a beautiful Crystal Torch in honor of his guidance for 30 years from his staff and VACC Camp family.  During the same gala, Dr. Simpser received 2 proclamations from Dade County, one naming March 24th Dr. Moises Simpser’s Day and a second one naming March 24th VACC CAMP DAY.
  • In June 2016 at the Residents graduating class, Dr. Simpser received from the residents the “Attending of the Year” award.
  • In March 18, 2017 during the medical staff gala event, Dr. Simpser received the new “Legacy” award, and in honor of his leadership, the Nicklaus Children’s Hospital medical staff changed the name of the camp to reflect his years of dedication.  It is now named Dr. Moises Simpser VACC Camp.
  • On April 13, 2017, the last evening of the 2017 camp session, at an awesome Mexican party, Dr. Simpser received a beautiful plaque from his VACC Camp family, campers, volunteers and staff to commemorate his inspiration, leadership and commitment.
  • Unfortunately on October 10, 2017 our beloved Dr. Moises Simpser passed away, but before that he had asked Dr. Maria Franco to be the new director of the camp.  Dr. Franco accepted and promised him to continue with his legacy for many years to come.