Tiffany Lau, MD is a PGY-3 and the Administrative Chief Resident at Burke Rehabilitation Hospital. She also serves as the 2020-2021 Chair of the AAP’s Resident/ Fellow Council (RFC). Discover her path to PM&R and her plans for future leadership!
My path into medicine began altruistically. At a young age, I lost my father to Leukemia and my six-year-old self vowed: “I wanted to become a doctor and cure cancer, so that not one else would have to lose a dad.” My view of what medicine is and the role of a physician matured as I did, but I never lost the child-like passion for helping people, which kept me firmly rooted on the medicine path.
As I went through my pre-medicine and medical school classes, I kept asking myself what type of physician I wanted to be. As time went on, my mom remarried and my step-father became the man that raised me and truly stepped into the father role in my life. After my (step) father developed a ‘foot drop’ following a multilevel laminectomy, he ultimately needed to be fitted for an orthotic to assist in his gait. I watched during his recovery period as he worked with the different modalities of therapy to find his “new normal” and improve his functionality. I enjoyed this process of helping my (step) father achieve his maximal level of function and thought, this is the type of physician I want to be.
My first experience and the first-time hearing about physical medicine and rehabilitation was at a lunch meeting in my first year of medical school. The further I delved into the specialty the more I knew I wanted to be a physiatrist and to pursue a career in this amazing and progressive specialty. What I love about this specialty is the patient-centered aspect. I also enjoy making and leading care plans and teams and working with a variety of different treatment modalities and health professions.
I joined the AAP during the first year of my physiatry residency. I love what the AAP stands for and its slogan: “Mentor, Discover, Lead.” As a new resident, I wanted to dive right in and be immersed into the field of physiatry. There are so many networking opportunities within the AAP among truly amazing individuals in our field. Last year, in my role as RFC Vice Chair, there were many career opportunities and experiences that I had the privilege of being a part of, such as lobbying on Capitol Hill with AAP board members, participating on national committees, and leading sessions during the AAP Annual Meeting.
My hopes and goals for this year as the RFC Chair are to continue build and facilitate the momentum that our resident and fellow AAP members have started. I would also love to engage more of the resident and fellow membership with different projects and through our new subcommittees. I am blessed and have a great incoming Council, as well as an amazing outgoing Council. I hope that many more members get involved throughout the year. My plans for my career are to next pursue a fellowship in sports medicine. I am grateful for all of the wonderful opportunities that being involved with the AAP has allowed me to be a part of.