October 2021


President's Message

Ever since my high school economics class, I have fantasized about owning my own business. But I also considered becoming a doctor, because I knew I was passionate about helping people and would never be happy unless I was in a career where I could help people improve their lives. In college, I started out pre-med but quickly realized I was way too social for that path and not nearly as disciplined as my peers.


With my love of reading and theatre, I landed on English as my major, knowing it was a good liberal arts major and that I would be heading to graduate school no matter what. Through a career fair early in my senior year at Rice University, I discovered the field of speech-language pathology and realized this was a nice opportunity for me to combine my interests of language and medicine.

So, upon graduating from Rice, I attended graduate school in communication sciences and disorders at The University of Texas at Austin and went on to start my career at Ben Taub Hospital in Houston. Cannon and I had just married, and he was in his first year of medical school at Baylor College of Medicine. The great thing about working as a speech-language pathologist (SLP) at Ben Taub as a new grad was that I was exposed to and educated on every aspect of diagnosis and treatment for an SLP. We saw the full gamut from NICU to laryngectomies, to traumatic brain injuries and stroke survivors. My supervisor called it battlefield speech pathology because we were running all day and constantly having to shift gears. I was young, and it was FUN! Also, as my husband began his medical school rotations, I would occasionally bump into him in the hospital, which was always thrilling!

Once residency began and we were on the move with at least two children in the house, I took a long leave of absence from my career to raise the children and keep the household stable. About seven years ago, I began to feel the urge to reenter the workforce. The kids were mostly independent, and I knew that if I were ever going to do it, I needed to make my move. I was fortunate enough, through some key connections in the San Antonio Family of Medicine, to secure a position working part time with a couple of different hospitals in town. It was great to be working outside the home again, helping patients and their families, collaborating with coworkers and physicians, and contributing to the family financially. Much of this satisfaction is identical to the feeling I get from participating as a member of the TMA Alliance, by the way. I consider my experience as an alliance member and as a leader in our organization as key to my development and my journey.

A couple of years ago, I started having a very strong urge to revisit the idea of owning my own business. I began the process of applying to business school and also started researching franchise opportunities. I considered all of the types of businesses that I enjoy visiting: a small specialty grocery; small wine-tasting store and wine bar; coffee and tea cafe; boutique spa; or maybe a small, woman-friendly hardware and gardening store. These are all examples of places I love to spend time, and I’m guessing I’m not alone!

When I stumbled across BrightStar Care, chills ran down my spine! Was this the opportunity to join my passions of patient care and business ownership? It’s too long a story to tell here, but the bottom line is that I am now the proud owner/president of BrightStar Care of Bryan/College Station, a home care and medical staffing company. I am learning constantly and enjoying the freedom, as well as constant attention, that business ownership involves. Wish me luck!

I know many of you have done big things over the past 18 months! TMAA members have gone back to school and gotten yet another degree, returned to work, stepped away from paid work, advocated for medicine, participated in research regarding COVID-19, planned weddings, prepared for babies or grandbabies, moved aging parents into their homes (I know at least one person who has done both of the last two!), helped their spouse change practices, moved to a new city, moved to a new house, homeschooled their children, raised significant amounts of money for important causes, celebrated milestone birthdays and anniversaries, competed in athletic competitions ... all of these endeavors take a tremendous amount of energy, dedication, discipline, and courage. But those are the values of the Texas Medical Association Alliance. We don’t just survive a pandemic. We thrive! We’ve got this. Won’t you please share what you’ve been doing? I’d love to hear from you and pass it on as an encouragement to our Family of Medicine community. You never know when your personal journey could be the inspiration for another potential member looking for belonging in TMAA.

Jennifer Lewis
TMA Alliance President 2021-22


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TMAA Award Winners

Congratulations to the winners of our 2021 TMAA Awards.

Durham Award for Membership

Dallas County Medical Society Alliance used the diversity of its membership as an opportunity to host a range of events to meet all needs and interests. This alliance formed five membership subgroups and, over the course of the year, hosted educational seminars over Zoom for CME credit; held socially distanced yoga sessions for young physician members; and continued to support TMA, physicians, and the Dallas community through volunteering, fundraising, and programming. We applaud them for reaching all members with events that are relevant, fun, and educational.

Dedication to the Mission Award

At the height of the vaccine rollout, members of Travis County Medical Alliance stepped up to aid vaccination efforts throughout Travis County, volunteering at multiple shot clinics and assisting local physicians in vaccinating more than 4,500 members of the Austin community. Then, during the 2020 flu season, TCMA leadership reached out to alliance members in Williamson County to secure additional volunteers for a Be Wise – Immunize shot clinic. The level of dedication displayed by this group is amazing, and its efforts helped thousands in the Austin community to stay safe during a dangerous time.

Alliance Innovation Award

Smith County Medical Society Alliance’s Book Fair was a staple of the Tyler community for more than 50 years. In 2020, after weighing the cost of storage and heavy demands on volunteers to maintain the facility and run the event, leadership made the decision to sell the building and donate the thousands of remaining volumes to libraries, schools, and nonprofits. Proceeds of the building sale were used to endow medical student scholarships at The University of Texas at Tyler and Tyler Junior College. The book fair was a beloved event for both the alliance and its community, and the alliance found a way to make the most of its closure while also freeing up funds and volunteer hours for new programming.

Mary Ann Homer Legislative and Political Action Award

During an unprecedented legislative session, Nueces County Medical Society Alliance found creative ways to continue supporting the practice of medicine through advocacy. In addition to participating in virtual First Tuesdays in the Districts calls, the alliance held fundraisers for Rep. Todd Hunter and Texas Supreme Court Justice Brett Busby. The First Tuesdays calls provoked honest, open conversation about the struggles facing the Family of Medicine during this pandemic and helped local legislators understand how they could help support medicine during this time of crisis.

Advocates of Health Award

During a chaotic and unprecedented year, Bexar County Medical Society Alliance stepped up and refused to let the coronavirus pandemic stop it from giving back to the community. This alliance hosted 21 social programs throughout the year to support its members through the stress of the pandemic, all while running numerous community programs including personal protective equipment drives, a “Wear a Mask” video campaign, and mask donations to disadvantaged communities. Its work throughout the year exemplified the alliance’s mission to work towards a healthier Texas.

Award of Special Recognition: Phoenix Award

Despite a tumultuous year, Potter-Randall County Medical Society Alliance entered 2021 with a renewed sense of purpose and community. The group found creative ways to recruit, engage, and support members with drive-through pizza parties; promoted a local mask-wearing campaign; celebrated female physicians on National Women Physicians Day; and held a resident welcome event to greet new families in the area. Rather than allowing the pandemic to slow them down, members refocused their energy and the chapter is more active than ever!

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Push Your Reset Button

We were very fortunate to have Anne Grady as a guest speaker after our Awards Celebration last month. If you didn’t have the chance to attend, you can watch the full ceremony and Anne’s presentation, “Resilience Reset,” by clicking the link below and entering the password.

This is available only for the next 60 days, so don’t delay! It was an excellent presentation and well worth watching. You can learn more about Anne and purchase her workbooks through her website, www.annegradygroup.com.

Watch the Video
Password: TMAA2021!

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Holiday Sharing Card

It’s hard to believe we’re talking about the holidays as summer draws to a close and fall begins in a few weeks. The TMA Alliance is excited to again raise funds through its Holiday Sharing Card. Now in its 26th year, this appeal supports the TMA Foundation and the TMA and TMAA programs it funds. These include favorites such as Texas BookShare, Vaccines Defend What Matters, and Hard Hats for Little Heads. We hope your alliance and your members will participate with a tax-deductible donation.

The Holiday Sharing Card provides an opportunity for county alliances and members across the state to ensure these initiatives and others are brought to life in 2022. TMAA past president, Sunshine Moore says, "I’ve supported the Holiday Sharing Card campaign for the past 10 years because I’ve seen the difference TMAF grants have made in the health of my community and many others. Community grants give TMAA and TMA members the resources and tools needed to improve health at the local level. Please join me in making our alliance stronger and communities healthier with a donation to this year’s campaign. Thank you.”

You can make a secure, online gift or call Marilyn Anderson, TMAF data manager, at (800) 880-1300, ext. 1466, to make a gift over the phone. Donate to the Holiday Sharing Card here. To learn more about the TMA Foundation and the programs it funds, please visit www.tmaf.org.

Thank you in advance for your support this holiday season!

Martha's Money Matters

I met my spouse when we were both in college. We dated for four years and then decided it was a great idea to get married two weeks before medical school began. Needless to say, our whole married life has included what we jokingly refer to as the mistress medicine. Back then, I often found myself thinking about post-training life as a way to cope with my spouse’s divided attention and/or absences. One day, another medical spouse heard me exclaim “when this is over” and offered me a piece of advice I employ to this day. He invited me to stop living for whenever and start living life as it is today … to note the challenges as opportunities. This mantra has been invaluable in shaping my perspective throughout the pandemic. I’ve chosen not to lament missing out on X or Y while looking forward to when things will go back to “normal.” After all, having lost loved ones and colleagues, I do not think I could ever get back to normal anyway. So I invite you to focus on the amazing opportunities our current situation has afforded us … and this is my reasoning for chiming in as part of this newsletter.

Changing our meetings to a virtual format has proven to be a challenge, yet the opportunities gained have been quite advantageous for TMAA. The combination of our having saved funds for many years and invested those funds, and reducing our operational costs considerably (because of the virtual format) has afforded us the opportunity to increase support to the counties we serve. Below is a list of funds we encourage counties to take advantage of to make the most of this historical time AND thrive!


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2022 Billing Has Begun

It’s that time of year again! The TMA Alliance sent our first round of renewal emails in mid-September. The full billing schedule is below, so please be on the lookout in your inbox and mailbox for these reminders.

A few things to note:

  • If you have opted in to auto-renewal in a previous year, you will not receive a billing statement from us. The auto-renewal charge will go through on Oct. 2. If it fails to go through (for example, if the card on file has expired), it will attempt to go through again on Nov. 2.
  • Physician members will not receive a TMA Alliance statement until January.
  • Both resident and medical student memberships are now free! If you know of a medical student or resident who is trying to join and is being charged, please have him or her reach out to tmaa@texmed.org, and we will make sure any charges are corrected.
Date  Method 
 Oct. 11  Mailed statement
 Oct. 18  Emailed statement
 Nov. 2  Auto-renewal (if first attempt failed)
 Nov. 29  Emailed statement
 Dec. 13  Mailed statement
 Jan. 17  Emailed statement (first statement for physicians)
 Feb. 21  Emailed statement
 Feb. 28  Mailed statement
 March 31  Drop date

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