June 2021


President's Message

Growing up in Austin, I remember fondly the occasional crisp fall Saturday when my parents would buy last-minute tickets in the “knothole” to watch a Longhorn game. There is so much to love about the tradition and excitement of a live college football game: the band, the team rushing the field, the Coke and popcorn and disgusting nachos you would never normally be allowed to eat.

But as for me, I was always mesmerized by the cheerleaders. They performed amazing gymnastic feats and alternated between watching the action on the field and engaging the crowd, coordinating with the band for chants and cheers. They would launch seamlessly into a synchronized routine as soon as the band began a rallying march.

After 10 years of classical ballet training, including annual productions of the Nutcracker and summer youth performances, I traded in my pointe shoes for pom poms and never looked back. Ballet had been solitary; my dance friends and I were always, necessarily, in competition with one another for the coveted parts and the praise of our instructors. Although ballet had given me many years of satisfaction and pride, working hard and performing for a live audience, the difference I found in cheerleading was in the experience of community and belonging.

Of course, cheerleading involves performance, too, but its bigger point is about connections: connecting the spectators, the fans, with the team and its players. The members of the squad are tasked with forging these connections through cheers, chants, dances, and stunts. And to do that successfully, members of the squad have to have made some mighty strong connections amongst themselves. It requires a tremendous amount of trust in your teammates to fly through the air in a basket toss, or elevate overhead in an extension. Coordinating the choreography of chants and cheers takes hours of practice to make the group appear effortlessly united. It is an exercise in belonging.

I believe the TMA Alliance has many similar qualities, at least for those who choose to be actively involved. We are in the business not only of making connections between physicians and the community at large, but also of making connections, building community and belonging, among physicians and their families.

Now that we seem to be emerging from the clutches of the pandemic, we have an opportunity to welcome a whole new generation of medical families who are looking for community and belonging. I would encourage all of us to be increasingly intentional in our programming over the coming year to be inclusive beyond our paying members. Increase opportunities to make meaningful connections with medical families, meeting them halfway, before asking them to start paying dues.

They say it takes seven “touches” before a potential member will consider joining. Let’s spend this year getting reacquainted, remembering and resurrecting our traditions, and telling each other the stories that illustrate our values. By building each other up again, we will naturally create that welcoming space of belonging that others will want to join.


Jennifer Lewis
TMA Alliance President 2021-22

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June Enrichment Series

Understanding nutrition – and the role food plays in physical and mental health – can be incredibly confusing. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Join us for this month’s enrichment webinar, Foods for Thought, presented by Jason Pawloski, RDN. Jason will cover difficult topics – depression, chronic inflammation, gut-brain axis, ketogenic diet, intermittent fasting – and help identify which foods and eating patterns are important for your health and lifestyle. One lucky attendee will receive a free copy of Jason’s new book, Foods for Thought: Understanding the Impact of Diet and Lifestyle on Mental Health. This is one you definitely won’t want to miss! Click the button below to save your spot.

Thursday, June 17
Noon-1 pm

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TMAA Annual Business Meeting: What's Changed

TMAA’s Annual Business Meeting took place virtually on Thursday, May 13. In addition to hearing reports from Immediate Past President Martha Vijjeswarapu and TMAA vice presidents, attendees approved changes to the TMAA Bylaws and standing rules; voted in the 2021-22 Nominating Committee; and got to hear Jennifer Lewis’ first speech as the 2021-22 TMAA president.

If you were unable to make it, be sure to check out the updated bylaws on the TMAA website, and watch Martha Vijjeswarapu swear in Jennifer Lewis as the TMA Alliance’s new president.

Finally, congratulations to our 2021-22 Nominating Committee:
Lisa Allen, Tyler
Christel Chase, Fort Worth
Julie Dye, Corpus Christi
Elsie Whitmire, Houston

TMA Foundation Grant Opportunities

The TMA Foundation (TMAF) offers a variety of funding opportunities to the Family of Medicine for programs that address the needs in their communities. TMA Alliance chapters may apply for up to $7,500 in matching funds from the TMAF Medical Community Grant Program. Programs must align with TMA’s population health, science, medical education, and quality of care priorities, which are listed in the grant portal and application. Submit a letter of inquiry to be sure your program qualifies, and then submit your application by July 31. Apply through TMAF’s Grants Portal.

Questions? Contact TMAF at (512) 370-1664 or sean.dunham@texmed.org.

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Fall Conference

Last month, the Texas Medical Association announced that TMA Fall Conference will take place in person this September at Hyatt Lost Pines in Bastrop. This will be the Family of Medicine’s first live meeting since the coronavirus hit last March, and we are excited to celebrate seeing one another in person once more. If you are in attendance, the TMA Alliance will have a couple of fun events for you to participate in. Mark your calendar for Sept. 16-18, and stay tuned for more information later this summer.

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Upcoming Events

In addition to the events below, please be sure to check out our calendar, where you can sort events by county. If your chapter has an upcoming event you would like featured, email details (date, time, location, ticket prices, description) to Sasha.

June 17, Noon-1 pm (CT)

Online Enrichment Series
Foods for Thought: Understanding the Impact of Diet and Lifestyle on Mental Health
Jason Pawloski, RDN

Have an event in your county that you would like advertised? Send details to sasha.khalifeh@texmed.org!

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