The National Heart and Lung Institute says a fond farewell to Professor Sir Anthony Newman Taylor.
Professor Sir Anthony Newman Taylor is the President's Envoy for Health at Imperial, and Director of Research and Development for the National Heart and Lung Institute (NHLI). He will be continuing in his role as Envoy for Health as he brings to a close his work with the NHLI. Professor Sir Newman Taylor was Head of NHLI from April 2006, stepping down at the end of 2008 to become Deputy Principal and then Principal (Dean) of the Faculty, before returning to NHLI. Since his return Tony has served the Department as Head of Section and became Rector’s and then President’s Envoy for Health for the College.
“I am incredibly lucky to have had in Tony a wonderful line manager, educator, mentor, sage and colleague" Professor Miriam Moffatt
Professor Newman Taylor is Professor of Occupational and Environmental Medicine and was formerly the Non-Executive Director of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. He was appointed as consultant physician at Brompton Hospital in 1977 and, with his colleagues, built the largest clinical, research and teaching department in Europe to investigate the occupational and environmental causes of lung disease, particularly asthma.
Tony has held the roles of Medical Director, Director of Research and Deputy Chief Executive within the Royal Brompton Hospital, including acting as Chief Executive on several occasions. Tony has worked on various panels to advise HM Government, as well as advise governments overseas. He received the Institute of Occupational Health and Safety Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012 and was knighted in the Queen's Birthday Honours in 2008 for public service.
I spoke to several of Tony’s colleagues across the National Heart and Lung Institute and asked for their reflections on working with him.
A formidable clinician and scientist
“I have worked for and with Tony for many, many years and I think it’s true to say that pretty much everything I know I learned from him” comments Professor Paul Cullinan. “Aside from being a formidable clinician and scientist, he is an unusually kind and fair man, and much loved by all who worked with him – his only failing in that respect is that he never turned up at Christmas parties!”. Paul adds “When taking on new research staff, he had only two questions for them: ‘do you read widely’ and ‘can you write’? If you got through those then you were in …”.
All of Professor Cullinan’s research group were keen to pass on their thanks and best wishes to Tony.
Educator and mentor
“I am incredibly lucky to have had in Tony a wonderful line manager, educator, mentor, sage and colleague - the latter through our ongoing mesothelioma research endeavours” says Professor Miriam Moffatt. “His depth of knowledge on so many topics is astounding including his passion for cricket. I will always remember with a smile the year 2008. At the time Tony was Dean of NHLI and accompanied me to my academic promotion interview. Whilst waiting to be called in, sensing my understandable nervousness he attempted to distract me by commenting about the current cricket season. Little did he realise that I was not the most ardent of cricket fans! I was nonetheless very grateful for his efforts to distract me and am pleased to say the outcome of the interview was positive!".
Kind and knowledgeable – cricket included
Dr Maija Maskuniitty, who has worked alongside Tony as a member of the NHLI’s Professional Services team, adds “I am very lucky to have worked with Tony for the last four and a half years, not only on one project but two – the National Centre for Mesothelioma Research (NCMR) and the ADVANCE Study, as he is heavily involved in both. My desk is right outside of Tony’s office which definitely kept me on my toes for the first few months (okay maybe a bit longer!), but I quickly learnt that it was a privilege to have him just a knock on the door away. He would always invite me in when I needed a chat or advice”. Maija continues “It has been such a pleasure working with Tony. He is approachable and always diplomatic and fair, and full of knowledge. The only time I start drifting off a little is when he starts a conversation about cricket!”.
“Tony has been very supportive of my career development, which I am hugely grateful for. I have also learnt a lot from him, including how to handle sensitive situations tactfully and diplomatically. I sometimes find myself thinking ‘What would Tony do?’. It’s not quite the same as asking him directly, but sometimes it works, I think! He has also been very generous with his book collection, which reminds me that I really should return two of his books to him...”.
Decency and duty
Professor Bill Cookson comments “Ever since Miriam and I moved to the NHLI, Tony has been unfailingly wise in his leadership and helpful to our endeavours. I’m pleased to be able to say thank you briefly here, and I hope at greater length at a future festschrift. When I was at the edge of the world and first training in respiratory medicine, the Brompton Hospital was the centre of the Thoracic universe. Respiratory physicians were traditionally then the kindest of men and women, largely because there was so little that they could do for so many of their patients. Although achieving high Imperial office, Tony has always embodied the best traditions of the Brompton and his chosen speciality. His many Patrician virtues include incisive conduct of complex problems, be they clinical or administrative, decency, discipline, and a profound sense of duty. I hope he will never retire completely, but we will sorely miss his daily involvement in our lives”.
The whole of the National Heart and Lung Institute is thankful to Tony for his wisdom, hard work and leadership over the past years. We wish him well as he carries on his role as the President's Envoy for Health at Imperial College London.
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