About Da-Wei Liao, M.D.
When I started my medical training many years ago, I never thought I would end up in the field of pulmonary and critical care medicine. Looking back, however, this journey reflected, in part, who I am. My interest in sports medicine and athletic activities brought me closer to pulmonary and exercise physiology. I wanted to understand the capacity and limitation of the pulmonary system, as well as how various diseases such as asthma, COPD, fibrosis, and bronchiectasis affect it. My background in internal medicine and pediatrics helps me appreciate the pathophysiology and progression of diseases such as cystic fibrosis, and their impact on those who are living with these diseases from childhood to adulthood. But these interest s and curiosities became reality because I was fortunate enough to have great teachers and mentors who taught and encouraged me to pursue this field. I believe that I need to do the same for my patients in helping them understand their illnesses so that they can live with, and sometimes overcome such limitations. While I like to be my patients’ partner in health, I know there will be times that my patients will need a little more “assertive encouragement” to take more responsibility in their health. Perhaps that part came from my background as a first generation immigrant where successes are earned, not given.
I grew up in Taipei, Taiwan, and moved to the US when I was 12. The reason my parents decided to leave Taiwan was to ensure my brother and I have an education that is designed for everyone to pursue whatever interests them; an education system where the only limitation is our own work ethics (and my parents made sure to provide extra “motivation” for us when we even thought about slacking!). I must say though, that the education I had in Taiwan instilled a very strong discipline in me that served me very well here in the US. We had the best of both worlds.
I enjoy to travel. I get to see and experience different cultures from different parts of the world and United States. Whether I am sampling unique cuisines, taking in amazing views from various natural wonders, or learning and submerging in the history of ancient sites, I feel very much alive and happy. Traveling recharges me to face the stress of work. It keeps me balanced. However, my travel needs drive a certain administrator in my office crazy because she constantly has to adjust my schedules!
Two awards meant quite a bit to me. The first one was when I was in Taiwan. As a third grader, I was selected to participate in a national essay writing competition. I came in #9 in the country and #4 in the north region (I know Taiwan is a small country, but I was damn proud at that time). The other one was when I was a high school l junior. I was select among the top 1% high school music students to participate in the NYS All State music Festival. I got to perform the Dvorak’s 8th Symphony with top students from the state (my instrument was Violin). After 3 days of rehearsal, the concert was electric! Afterwards, I received an award certificate from NY State senator. I guess these 2 particular awards meant a lot to me because I was not doing these things to get in to college, to get in to medical school, or to become a doctor. I simply was doing the things I enjoy.
On a regular weekend when I am not working, you can probably find me either running, swimming, biking, or just chilling with my wife. You may also catch me enjoying a book in Barnes and Noble. On a long weekend, you can probably find us on some hiking trails outside of Phoenix. It will be impossible for me to give up exercising. I can’t stand being out of shape.
As for a Non-profit organization, I like the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. It is very well organized, dedicated, and relentless in the pursuit of finding new treatment and cure for the horrible disease. It has a multi-faceted plan that drives innovation. As the result, we have had some amazing breakthrough in the recent years!