April 2019


Sunshine's Message

Our spring weather has been so shifting this month – warm and gorgeous one day and requiring a coat the next. Typical spring behavior in many climates, but in south Texas, we often have only a few cold days in January, and the rest of the year is summer. Like the weather, my emotions have been a roller coaster. Don Read, MD, passed away a few weeks ago, and I was filled with sadness. I traveled a little with him and his wife, Roberta, during his TMA presidency. He was an incredible man, always joyous. And then, just a few days later, one of our TMAA board members, Chris McGilvery, announced that his wife, Taryn, had delivered their second child, a perfect baby boy. I am filled with joy for his family.

My oldest child, Mia, will turn 18 in a few weeks; she is getting ready to graduate from high school and move off to the dorms at college. Of course, we are tremendously proud of her, but also taken aback – how can we have done all of this? Can’t she stay a baby forever? In life, like in spring weather, we have days where we want to bask in the sun, and days where we wish we could hide under the blankets. But we have to embrace all of our various feelings. We have to value the time we have with each other. We must welcome changes and new faces, and try out new ideas. We must celebrate not only our own accomplishments, but also those of others. We can’t cling to any one feeling or moment in time. As if we were a child on the monkey bars, we have to learn to let go of one rung with one hand in order to swing to the next rung and move forward. It’s more fun than just hanging in there.

We have been actively planning ALLMED, looking at county alliance accomplishments, reflecting on our year in the Alliance, writing reports, and putting together discussion panels and speakers in hopes of educating and entertaining our members from across the state who attend ALLMED. We sincerely hope YOU will attend. We want you to come be with each other – to value your time together, perhaps make some new friends, share your growing pains, celebrate your accomplishments, and hear some great ideas that you might take home to try out in your Alliance. We will introduce membership strategies, have a panel discussion on opioid awareness, celebrate award-winning programs, and much more.

Around the State

We didn’t travel much in March, but April is very busy. Dallas, Abilene, Temple, and Austin are all on the calendar.

First Tuesdays at the Capitol in April was off the charts! It was medical student month, and there must have been about 200 students in attendance. They had a great time, and that tells me that they are going to come back in future sessions to keep it up. We’ve got only one more First Tuesday this legislative session, so join us on May 7 if you can.


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First Tuesdays at the Capitol

More than 400 physicians, medical students, and Alliance members attended First Tuesdays at the Capitol on April 2nd. April is extra special because medical schools around the state send students. Many of the students joined TMAA’s Advocacy Ambassadors – TMAA past presidents Patty Loose and Karen Lairmore, and TMAA President-Elect Martha Vijjeswarapu – to meet with legislators and their staff. To date, more than 1,000 members of the TMA family have attended First Tuesdays and advocated on behalf of medicine.

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ALLMED, the Alliance’s annual conference, returns May 15-17 to the Hilton Anatole in Dallas. The two-day conference is packed with networking opportunities and programming to help you market and promote your Alliance, grow membership, and prevent opioid abuse and addiction in your community. Here are a few highlights:
• Reception at the historic Aldredge House
• Networking events every day;
• NEW: Luncheon speaker Curtis Webster, founder of Dads Married to Doctors;
• County Alliance roundtables; and presentations from marketing, public relations, and social media experts;
• NEW: Opioid Education Symposium with dynamic, compelling speakers sharing their firsthand experiences with addiction;
• TMAA annual business meeting;
• TMAA awards luncheon;
• TMA/TMAA Presidents’ Reception; and
• Joint installation ceremony of TMA and TMAA presidents.
The new all-inclusive price of $120 covers most meals, business meetings, and educational programming for ALLMED and TexMed.

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New Community Outreach Program to Launch at ALLMED

TMAA is launching a new community outreach program to help the family of medicine address opioid abuse and addiction in their communities. Alliance members will have the opportunity to learn about the opioid crisis and how it affects the addict as well as his or her family and friends at the ALLMED Opioid Education Symposium. Symposium participants will each receive a toolkit to take back to their county chapter, filled with educational brochures and Deterra Drug Deactivation kits to safely dispose of unused opioids.

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Fighting Opioid Abuse One Bottle at a Time

More than 130 Americans died every day in 2017 from opioid-related overdoses, prompting the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to declare the opioid crisis a public health emergency. The upcoming National Prescription Take Back Day on April 27 allows Americans to help prevent drug addiction and overdose deaths by disposing of prescription drugs – safely and anonymously.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency hosts the Take Back event twice each year, in April and October. Find collection sites near you, and share the information with friends and family.

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Around The State

The Nueces County Medical Society Alliance (NCMSA) had a busy month, with events on March 21, 22, and 26. The Driscoll Children’s Hospital hosted the Alliance’s March meeting on the 21st, providing both lunch and guest speaker Ada Booth, MD. Dr. Booth discussed Driscoll’s C.A.R.E. (Child Abuse Resource and Evaluation) Team and the care it provides to residents of Nueces and surrounding counties.

NCMSA donated $585 to the C.A.R.E. Team, more than half of which was raised at the luncheon. Alliance members also donated books to the C.A.R.E Team to give its clients.

NCMSA also held a Doctors Day & Wine Tasting Fundraiser on March 22 at the home of President-Elect Amanda Cutbirth and her husband, Mance Cutbirth, MD. More than 50 people attended the event, which raised over $1,000 for community health programs.

On March 26, NCMSA donated $200 to the Coastal Bend Food Bank, and the NCMSA Executive Board sorted food and packed nearly 100 boxes, weighing roughly 30 pounds each, for the mobile food bank.

The Smith County Medical Alliance (SCMA) attended the dedication of the student terrace and endowed scholarship at The University of Texas at Tyler College of Pharmacy honoring Chris Wrenn, MD.

SCMA made a strong showing at First Tuesdays at the Capitol in March. Physicians and Alliance members attended the legislative briefing with the TMA lobby team, then visited six East Texas legislators’ offices. Thank you to Drs. Gina Jetter, Margaret Hayden, and Frank Ward; Debbie Pitts; Angela Driggs; and Agnes Ward for representing Smith County so admirably during our visits.

For Doctors Day, the Tarrant County Medical Society Alliance (TCMSA) sponsored the Doctor’s Tribute Benefiting Project Access. The 100-percent tax-deductible donation goes toward Project Access Tarrant County. TCMSA raised about $3,300.

TCMSA had a strong turnout at First Tuesdays in March. It was the TMA Alliance’s month to storm the Capitol and advocate for Texans’ health care, and the Tarrant County Medical Society was right by our side. A total of 29 members from the TCMS and TCMS Alliance represented their county. They made their voices heard about a variety of health issues ranging from Medicaid to scope of practice.

TCMSA held two Hard Hats for Little Heads events in March. The first was at Castleberry High School, and the second one at Target on Tehama Ridge Pkwy.

At the end of the March, TCMSA held its 10th annual Medicine Ball at the Ridglea Country Club. The theme was The Rat Pack’s in Vegas, Baby! and included a cocktail reception with signature drinks, raffle prizes, dinner, a live band, and Vegas-style casino gambling. Proceeds went to fund important community health programs in Tarrant County, including Project Access, Be Wise – Immunize, and Hard Hats for Little Heads.

Members of the Travis County Medical Alliance (TCMA) joined other Alliance members from around the state, including students from The University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School, at First Tuesdays at the Capitol in March. The Alliance visited 30 legislative offices, discussed their concerns on several issues, and handed out legislative materials provided by TMA.

The Travis County Medical Society (TCMS) and TCMA had a joint installation dinner on March 26 at the JW Marriott in Austin to honor incoming TCMA President Wendy Propst and TCMS President Tony Aventa, MD.

TMAA leadership, including Sunshine Moore, president, and Lisa Queralt, President-Elect, joined the Dallas County Medical Society Alliance (DCMSA) to tour the Market Center in Dallas on April 4. The group toured the 5,000,000 square foot facility, explored the amazing exhibits. During lunch, Sunshine gave a presentation about the TMAA accomplishments.

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Funding Available for Community Health Programs

Do you need funds to sustain or start a community health event in your county? Apply for a TMA Foundation community health grant. The online grant applications are easy to fill out, but if you need assistance, Sean Dunham is available to walk you through the process. If interested, please submit a Letter of Intent by July 15, 2019, and complete your application by July 31, 2019. Go to the TMAF website to learn how to apply! For assistance on how to write a grant application, call TMAA Grassroots Advocacy Director Pam Udall at (512) 413-6807. Applicants will be notified of application decisions the week of Sept. 16, 2019.

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Welcome, Sasha!

This month, TMAA added a new member to its Austin staff, Sasha Khalifeh. Sasha is our new Program Manager and brings a wealth of experience with numerous nonprofits devoted to the arts and literacy. In fact, Sasha and Chris McGilvery, TMAA Membership VP-elect, worked together to implement a book drive during her tenure as Program Manager at Literacy Texas! She is ecstatic to join the team and find fresh ways to build membership, plan engaging events, and spread the word about the importance of the Alliance.

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Register for First Tuesday at the Capitol on May 7. Hotel rooms are going fast, so reserve your hotel room today.

Share your success. Send us your news. We want to promote your events, membership highlights, and advocacy activities. Send a short paragraph describing your activity and photos for use in TMAA Monthly Memo and TMAA’s Facebook page. Send your stories to Elizabeth Vanexan.

Join the AMAA by April 30 for a special discount. In recognition of TMAA’s leadership, the AMA Alliance is offering a special membership opportunity to Texans. If you join during the month of April, you can pay a discounted rate of $50 – nearly a 25 percent discount! If you have already renewed your membership with the AMAA, you will receive a 3-month extension of your membership. Visit the AMAA website today.


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