I am happy to report that on November 1st I had a successful "administrectomy". At least I haven't had any complications so far. What this means is that, at last, I am relieved at my request of all of my administrative responsibilities. After 31 years in management, I have became tired of budgets, management disputes, and interpersonal acrimony which usually needs to be settled by someone who is in charge. I have thoroughly enjoyed my work at the University of Colorado, including heading the Division of Pulmonary Sciences; the Directorship of the Webb-Waring Lung Institute, and the completion of my latest charge, Director of Academic and Research Affairs at Presbyterian/St. Luke's Center for Health Sciences Education here in Denver.
Now for the future. I remain fascinated by the possibility of the early identification and intervention in COPD before patients even know they have the disease. This will take a nationwide effort and I have been asked by the Lung Division to chair such an initiative. We have already had two meetings and a third will be held in December of this year. We simply must get all primary care physicians to become interested and involved in identifying people who are just beginning to lose lung function so that they can be highly encouraged to stop smoking. Stopping smoking has been shown to be the only thing that will change the early course of COPD. I am also fascinated by the connection between COPD and lung cancer. Today, lung cancer looms are the most common fatal malignancy of both men and women. We know exactly what causes it but we are not doing very well to reduce smoking anymore, since the tobacco industry has become so powerful through advertising and through the payoffs of public officials, including state and federal legislators. It is really a disgrace.
I'll keep busy with teaching, seeing my patients, consulting, and, of course, the national effort in COPD identification, education and treatment, which will take a lot of time. I have no intention of retiring.
Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
I'll be in touch next month.
Thomas Petty, MD