December 2018


Happy New Year!

December is a month of celebration, giving, and reflection. Many of our Alliance chapters switch leadership in December or January. To those that do, I congratulate each of you on your year of success and accomplishments and wish your incoming boards a successful year in 2019. For those half-way through your year, I wish you strength to finish strong and keep up the great work!

Alliances around the state participate in giving to their communities in an astonishing number of ways. I am dazzled by the quantity and quality of projects in which our counties participate. Harris County has its “Touch, See, Smell” Holiday program; Big Country collects coats; Nueces County raises money for Shop with a Cop.  I can't list them all here, but I would like to capture information on all of your projects and see just how much time and money we give collectively to our communities. We have a chart you can use to log your volunteer hours (see TMAA Volunteer Tracking Matrix). Please fill it out and send it to Pam Udall

TMAA President-Elect Lisa Queralt and I have had so much fun on our “adventures” around the state. In November, we went to Amarillo where we learned about making and preserving flower arrangements. We also got to witness some real cowboys because the world Ranch Rodeo finals were being held across the street from the hotel. I went to Midland-Odessa for those counties’ joint Alliance meeting. Lisa went to Frisco for the Texas Indo-American Physicians Society Northeast Chapter Annual Gala. A few of us took TMAA Interim Executive Director Judy Julian out to lunch to wish her well on her retirement. Her last day with TMAA is Dec. 28.  

This past weekend was the TMA/TEXPAC Advocacy Retreat, and it was an information-packed 24 hours! Thinking of TEXPAC, if you have not yet joined, take advantage of this incentive — if you join right now at any level, you will receive a beautiful 2018 Texas State Capitol holiday ornament.

I wish each and every one of you a joyous holiday season full of light and love.


Be healthy!

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First Tuesdays at the Capitol: A Personal Profile

By Martha Vijjeswarapu, TMAA vice president on community health; Nueces County Medical Society Alliance (NCMA) advisor to President Elizabeth Velleman; and co-chair, NCMA legislation  

We, as an Alliance, have the privilege of being part of something amazing. It starts with a desire for our voices to be heard, and First Tuesdays at the Capitol provides the perfect vehicle.

First Tuesdays at the Capitol was started by our very own Susan Todd, a Fort Worth Alliance member. It has grown into a recognized event within the Texas Medical Association and TMA Alliance, as well as by legislators and their staff at the state Capitol. First Tuesdays is a day we can go to the Capitol and meet with legislators and staff on important issues for the Family of Medicine and our patients. While the Texas legislators will meet for 140 calendar days, First Tuesdays is only four days out of the entire session, but it makes a remarkable impact.

TMA has a great lobbying team at work throughout the session, but when the halls of the Capitol are filled with physicians in their white coats, and Alliance members are there to support the lobbyists, it echoes loudly through both chambers of the Capitol.

In this session alone, TMA expects more than 1,500 pieces of legislation that could affect medicine. Issues range from how Texas physicians practice medicine, to scope of practice, balance billing, and insurance network adequacy to public health issues such as raising the age to use tobacco, including vaping, to 21. The other big issues will be Medicaid expansion, the mental health crisis, vaccine-related issues, and maternal mortality. But the only bill lawmakers are required to pass is a balanced budget.

If you have a desire to make a huge impact for the present and the future of medicine, then please join us for First Tuesdays on Feb. 5, March 5, April 2, and May 7, 2019.

There is no pressure to talk. You will meet your legislator with a group of individuals from your House or Senate district who know what to say. Your presence makes a powerful statement. Please register now and reserve your hotel room to become a part of the conversation for the future of medicine.

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Register for First Tuesdays

The “White Coat Invasion” has been the key to TMA’s successes in the Texas Legislature. Our influence is so much greater when physicians and alliance members arrive en masse to visit their representatives. It’s time again to bring out Texas medicine’s strongest weapon — YOU. Mark your calendar for First Tuesdays at the Capitol on
Feb. 5, March 5, April 2, and May 7, 2019.

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Physician Lawmakers Outline Priorities for the 2019 Legislature

Better access to mental health care in schools; significantly reducing maternal deaths; stopping scope-of-practice creep; and ensuring funding for cancer research, medical schools, and Hurricane Harvey relief: These are among the issues two key physician-lawmakers will focus on when the 86th Texas Legislature kicks off Jan. 8 in Austin.

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Register: Winter Conference

Join your colleagues Jan. 25-26, 2019, at the Hyatt Regency Austin for 2019 TMA Winter Conference. TMAA governance meetings will be held from 8 am to 1:30 pm. 

While TMA general session programming is under development, a full list of the business meetings for TMA boards, councils, and committees is available. 

Don’t forget to make your hotel reservation online, or by calling (888) 421-1442 and mentioning TMA to get the group rate of $209 plus tax. Reservations deadline: Jan. 4, 2019

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Renew Your TMAA Membership Today

TMAA membership supports community outreach events across the state. Don’t forget to renew your TMAA membership. Dues invoices went out at the end of September, and reminder will be sent out next week by mail. You can pay your dues by calling the TMA Knowledge Center at (800) 880-7955 or through the mail. When mailing in your dues, please send the bottom section of the invoice statement along with your check. It’s a great time to encourage your colleagues and spouses to join the Alliance. We’re working hard for YOU

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Free Education Available

As part of your TMAA membership, hundreds of hours of education in the TMA Education Center are available at no cost to you. Thanks to a generous sponsorship from Texas Medical Association Insurance Trust, hundreds of hours of continuing medical education (CME) in the TMA Education Center are now FREE for TMA members and your practice staff. This new benefit represents TMA and TMA Insurance Trust’s ongoing commitment to supporting Texas physicians in patient care, practice management, and professional development. Topics include physician health and wellness, communications, practice operations, public health, and much, much more. Check out all the incredible courses available.

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 Around the State


President Sunshine Moore and President-Elect Lisa Querist visited the Potter-Randall Medical Alliance in November. They had a great time sharing information. The highlight of the visit was working together to learn how to arrange fresh flowers for the holidays. 

The Bell County Medical Alliance of Temple held two events in November. One was a fall barbeque with its medical student and resident alliance members, and the other was for the Ronald McDonald House Charities. Alliance members donated groceries, cooked meals, and served the families staying the Ronald McDonald House. Both events were both fun and rewarding.

The Brownsville County Medical Alliance held a half-day Jump-A-Thon on Nov. 10. The event focused on teaching children and their parents about the importance of health, exercise, and safety. Children who participated in each of the education stations were entered into a drawing to win a new bicycle and helmet. Participants in this bilingual event had a great time.

A big shout-out to the many community partners who made the event a huge success: State Rep. Eddie Lucio and Orangetheory Fitness, Texas A&M Argillite Extension, Yellow Ribbon with Rio Valley Dermatology, Youth Nutrition, Jubilee Academy National Honor Society, Proyecto Juan Diego Youth Group and Zumba participants, Bike Barn, and Bee Strong Honey.

The Harris County Medical Society Alliance Philanthropic Fund officers recently met to determine how to distribute the proceeds from The Great Gatsby Gala held in April. The fund awarded scholarship money to the following nursing schools: Texas Women’s University, Prairie View A&M University School of Nursing, University of St. Thomas School of Nursing, Cizik School of Nursing at UTHealth, and Houston Baptist University School of Nursing.  Also, Baylor College of Medicine and McGovern Medical School at UTHealth received scholarships. Money was also given to the McGovern Medical Museum and DePelchin Children’s Center.  

The Lubbock County Medical Society Alliance on Nov. 13 helped its county medical society host the second community information session on human trafficking. More than 80 people attended the event at Our Lady of Grace Church and picked up stickers with the national hotline number to put up around the county. Alliance members Libby White, Julie Canon, and Janice Stachowiak were on hand to help.


The Tarrant County Medical Society Alliance met Nov. 16 at the new Neiman Marcus store for brunch and a fashion show featuring the Lafayette 148 line from New York.


The Travis County Medical Alliance (TCMA) October general meeting was held at Central Market, where members had a great time making holiday recipes — everything from a spicy pumpkin hummus and squash soup to caramel buttercream pumpkin cupcakes.

TCMA also delivered 25 diabetic foot care kits and 100 pill organizers to the Volunteer Healthcare Clinic in Austin. Thanks to Stacey Jones for organizing the event.

On Nov. 29, TCMA had a recharge-and-renew event at Central Market for current and new members. It was a chance to take a midmorning coffee break, meet colleagues, and renew membership. Shout-out to Ronsey Chawla and Shannon McNeil, who organized the event.    

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TMA Foundation Helps Launch Bookshare Program

 The Texas BookShare project recently received a $2,500 grant from the Texas Medical Association Foundation to promote early literacy and healthy habits for families in low-income communities throughout Central Texas. The project was created by TMAA board member Chris McGilvery, who founded the nonprofit organization Give More HUGS (Helping Unite Giving Souls). GMH empowers youth to share their love for learning, reading, and creativity with students in need. 

The idea for Texas BookShare started when GMH partnered with the Bell County Medical Society Alliance to give children books during their well-check visits. TMAA President Sunshine Moore, Bell County Alliance members, and volunteers from GMH gave books to Baylor Scott & White McLane Children’s Medical Center in June 2018.

Obesity in children has more than tripled since the 1970s, and children’s books are a great way to build a foundation for parents and their children to learn healthy habits. Many children’s books provide such a foundation, like Benji & the 24 Pound Banana Squash by Alan C. Fox and Eefje Kuijl, which introduces the idea of gardening to children. “We hope the book inspires families to dream up and plant gardens,” said Chris. Through the Texas BookShare project, Bell County Alliance members will provide age-appropriate and relevant books to children in clinics across the county. 

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If you’re an AMA Alliance member, now is the time to renew your dues on the AMA Alliance website.

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.

Update your profile. Please send your current contact information and email address to

Send in the final count of volunteer hours your county alliance committed toward community health events, advocacy, fundraising and membership. Please fill out the TMAA Volunteer Tracking Matrix and send it to Pam Udall by Jan. 30

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