Dr. Eric Tyler received the Wallace Alexander Clyde Distinguished Service Award Sept. 29. | Submitted Photo

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Dr. Tyler wins service award

Published 12:05pm Friday, October 26, 2012

Local pediatrician Dr. Eric Tyler recently received the honor of the Wallace Alexander Clyde Distinguished Service Award.

The award was given to Tyler at the Sept. 29 annual meeting and fall pediatric update held by the Alabama chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The Wallace Alexander Clyde Distinguished Service Award is given by Children’s Hospital “as a means of recognizing outstanding physicians who have devoted a lifetime of service to children and their families.”

The award is named after the first recipient Dr. Wallace Clyde, who practiced pediatrics in Birmingham for more than 50 years.

At the annual meeting, Tyler accepted the award and addressed the crowd with humility and appreciation.

“I graciously and humbly accept (this award) knowing there are far more deserving individuals in this crowd, so I will accept it for all of us and for our struggles and for our efforts,” Tyler said.

In his opening remarks, Tyler described the idea behind the award.

“This award is meaningful to me as the idea was hatched in the same conversation as the Master Pediatrician Award at a Fall Alabama Chapter Meeting in Florida 26 years ago,” Tyler said. “The intent of both was to validate the efforts of the recipient and to inspire others around with the story and mission of the recipient. The awards revolve about two themes: Pediatricians are essential advocates in the healthcare arena as the voice for dependent children and each and every one of us have leadership opportunities where we live and work to make a difference. The unifying theme is that ‘Children are worth the effort as we go to do battle each day.’”

Tyler talked about how some of the old challenges that faced those in medicine have been controlled through penicillin, vaccines, inhaled corticosteroids and surfactant. A new set of challenges has taken their place, Tyler explained.

“Replacing them are our old foes: poverty, illiteracy, parental irresponsibility and noncompliance – social catastrophic failure is now enemy number one,” Tyler said.   “Cycles of learned helplessness, social dependence and apathy are hard to break. There is no quick fix.”

After cataloguing some successes and failures in medical history, Tyler described medicine as having arrived at a “crisis moment.”

“The fee for service payment model is going away,” Tyler said. “The new models based on population health focusing on wellness, prevention and early identification of chronic disease, and aggressive management of the same with publicly publish report cards is the norm. If not now, then it will be so in the next three years.”

As he wrapped up his address to the crowd, Tyler ended with some encouragement.

“The resources on the table to fix this problem are our practices. We should be the engineers,” Tyler said. “If we do not choose to do so, somebody else will.  Who knows, perhaps years from now someone will say, ‘this was their finest hour.’”