Biography – Professor David Bryant

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Professor Bryant has dedicated his professional life to the study of respiratory diseases and to the care of the sick. He graduated from the University of Sydney with the degree of MB. BS with honours. Between his fifth and final years he spent 3 months as assistant to the patrol officer in the mountains around Erave, a remote area in the Southern Highlands Province of Papua & New Guinea, performing medical patrol work in isolated mountain villages for their first contact with western civilisation, in order to carry out general health assessment and a mass immunisation project. He has a strong commitment to the importance of primary health care and, during his undergraduate years, he organised a team of university students to provide assistance with the care of the elderly in nursing homes in Sydney and, as a young graduate, he and his wife set up a general practice in their home when it became apparent that the area in which they lived had very limited medical care especially at night and at weekends.

After graduating he spent 3 years as a resident medical officer and wrote his first medical research paper during the year after his graduation. After 3 years as a medical registrar at St. Vincent’s Hospital Sydney he was successful in becoming a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians.

He was then awarded a research scholarship by the Asthma Foundation of NSW to carry out research into allergic mechanisms in asthma. This research was carried out at The Garvan Institute. He submitted his doctoral thesis, entitled “Bronchial immediate allergic reactivity to inhalant allergens in patient with asthma” to The University of Sydney for which he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Medicine.

He was awarded a travelling scholarship by the Asthma Foundation of NSW which enabled him to go to the Cardiothoracic Institute at The Brompton Hospital, London, within the University of London, as a post-doctoral research fellow to carry out further research and training with Professor Jack Pepys, one of the world experts on allergic and occupational lung diseases. During that time he established close links with the other research fellows including Professor Sir Antony Newman Taylor who subsequently became head of the Faculty of Medicine at Imperial College, London, and with Professor Jean-Luc Malo, who became Professor of Respiratory Medicine at the University of Montreal in Canada, and he continues to enjoy close links with these and other international authorities with a special interest in asthma and work-related lung disease.

He spent 1976 at The Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh, as a post-doctoral research fellow working with Professor Barry Kay, learning new techniques in assessing eosinophil function and in the measurement of mast cell mediators, before returning to work at St. Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney, as a staff specialist in respiratory medicine.

Subsequent Appointments

On his return to St. Vincent’s Hospital, in addition to his clinical duties, he continued his research with the support of annual grants from The Asthma Foundation of NSW. He was then appointed to the research advisory committee where he served between 1990 and 1993 and then to The Board of Directors of The Asthma Foundation of NSW between 1990 and 1998 and he continued in that position as well as on the NSW state committee of The Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand until ne redirected his energies to his hospital role. This coincided with his increasing involvement with the diagnosis and treatment of work-related lung diseases, with the AIDS-related epidemic of lung diseases, with his involvement in the diagnosis and care of patients with transplant-related lung diseases, and his position as physician in charge of the Lung Function Testing Laboratory. In 1980, with Professor Renee Bittoun, he helped to set up one of the first ever hospital programmes designed specifically to assist patients to quit smoking. With the assistance of several private bequests, he was able to provide funds for the purchase of state of the art equipment for lung function testing in St. Vincent’s Public Hospital and to support research into new ways of diagnosing and assessing industrial lung disease.

He is a currently senior staff specialist in the Department of Thoracic Medicine at St, Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney, and chairs the Department of Respiratory Medicine at St. Vincent’s Private Hospital. He was appointed Conjoint Associate Professor of Medicine at The University of NSW in 1991. He was subsequently appointed to The Medical Authority of The Dust Diseases Board of NSW and has been the Chairperson of The Medical Authority since 1996 and he has served as a member of the board of The Asbestos Diseases Research Institute (2008-2010). He has over 60 publications, including articles in medical journals and chapters in medical textbooks, on many aspects of lung disease, he has prepared numerous position papers regarding work-related lung disease and continues to have an active research and clinical interest in this area as well as in asthma, lung cancer, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and the assessment of disorders of breathing.

For his longstanding commitment to medical eduction and patient care Professor Bryant has been awarded an OAM in the Order of Australia.

He is a certified assessor of respiratory impairment for WorkCover NSW and was a member of the working group on the assessment of respiratory permanent impairment of WorkCover NSW and of the subcommittee for the development of guidelines for the evaluation of permanent impairment due to sleep disorders and continues to act as one of their medical assessors and as a member of their Medical Appeal panel. He has been a medical assessor and review panellist of the Motor Accidents Authority of NSW since 2005.

He has had extensive experience in the preparation of medico-legal reports and has appeared as an expert witness on numerous occasions both in NSW and in other jurisdictions in matters relating to lung disease, including causation, treatment, prognosis and disability.

Positions Currently Held

Senior Staff Specialist, St. Vincent’s Hospital
Associate Professor of Medicine, University of NSW
Chair, Department of Respiratory Medicine, St. Vincent’s Private Hospital
Chair, Medical Authority, Dust Diseases Board of NSW
Member, Medical Authority Panel, Asbestos Unit, Workplace Standards Tasmania
Medical Assessor and Member of the Medical Review Panel, Motor Accidents Authority of NSW
Approved Medical Specialist and member of the Medical Appeal Panel, Workers Compensation Commission of NSW

Membership of Professional Societies

Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians
Fellow of the American College of Chest Physicians
Member of the Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand
Member of the American Thoracic Society
Member of the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Member of the European Respiratory Society
Member of the Australian and New Zealand Society of Occupational Medicine

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