I’m pleased to report that PERF board member, Brian Tiep M.D., has been awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Assembly of the American Thoracic Society (ATS). The ATS is America’s largest and most influential professional society for pulmonary and critical care physicians.
This is really a singular honor. This award has previously been bestowed on only eight people, the first of which was Thomas L. Petty M.D., widely acknowledged to be the father of pulmonary rehabilitation (and a past-president of PERF).
Brian has been a scientific advisor to PERF at its founding in the 1984 and a member of the Board of Directors ever since. We’re very proud of our friend and colleague.
Why do I call Brian a Renaissance Man? Let me list a few of his talents and skills.
- Pulmonary Rehabilitation innovator – Brian has served as a Medical Director of pulmonary rehabilitation programs almost as long as pulmonary rehabilitation has existed. In more recent years, Brian has founded the “Pulmonary Care Continuum” bringing the care of the pulmonary patient beyond pulmonary rehabilitation and into collaborative self-management…intended as a lifelong engagement. Those patients lucky enough to be under Brian’s care have been shown to have an enviably low level of hospitalization…they never seem to get sick!
- Inventor – The garage in Brian’s home should be declared a shrine. His first patent, I’m told, was for shoes that enable the wearer to walk on water. Most notably, though, millions of patients who require home oxygen therapy owe their mobility to Brian’s inventions. Patients who must carry their oxygen during their daily activities face the problem that their oxygen containers empty quickly. Starting in the late 1980s, Brian invented oxygen conservers: devices that provide the patient with good oxygenation but use only a small fraction of the oxygen flow. Over the years, he has built prototypes of these devices in his garage. He often tested them on participants in Mary Burns’ patient group. Medical device companies have adopted his designs; they are in use around the world.
- Musician – Before the COVID-19 pandemic, if you wanted to spend a relaxing evening in Monrovia, you couldn’t do better than spend a few hours in a restaurant where Brian was entertaining customers with his repertoire of tunes. Proficient on violin and banjo, Brian usually leads a trio featuring his daughter, Rebecca. I have vivid memories of Rebecca playing with Brian at one of Mary Burns’ Respiratory Rallies in the late 1980s…at the age of 4! In fact, over the years, Brian and Rebecca have provided entertainment at innumerable professional and patients meetings. What a joy!
- Purveyor of Puns – Brian has a seemingly inexhaustible supply of bad jokes. It is one of his most endearing characteristics.
Congratulations, Brian, well deserved!
Rich Casaburi, President, PERF