December 2019

President's Message

I was reflecting on this 2,000-year-old olive tree when the first missile hit. I heard – or, rather, felt – it in the air and under my feet. Later, we were briefed on the hotel safe room locations and told to sleep with a flashlight and robe nearby. Even though schools remained closed in Tel Aviv, we were informed that tourists should continue as if nothing had happened. “The U.S. Embassy will text you if you need to leave the country.” I wondered … do they really keep track of all Americans visiting Israel, along with their cell phones?

While visiting Israel was truly the experience of a lifetime – filled with fresh food, exotic spices, desert landscapes, religious history, and friendly people – the crisis that escalated during our trip called to mind the ways in which we all have an “US versus THEM” mentality in daily life. The brain saves energy by categorizing and labeling our surroundings. In fact, our brains have become quite efficient in taking this shortcut. Stereotypes help us manage the copious volume of information we take in daily, and they inform our behavior and reaction to others. However, people are never that simple, and actions and ideas are rarely just black or white. Some stereotypes are placed on us by others, while some we apply to ourselves. Here are few that come to mind when I think of the alliance:

Stereotype: The alliance consists of rich doctors’ wives who only meet for lunch.
Reality: TMAA is made up of hundreds of incredible, intelligent, educated, civic-minded, and ambitious women and men of diverse backgrounds. Many of us manage our physician spouse’s practice and career, in addition to our family and our own career. I’ve met so many incredible hardworking, generous, and giving people through TMAA.

Stereotype: County alliances and the TMA Alliance are two separate groups.
Reality: The truth is, the 17 county alliance chapters and TMAA are one and the same, with a mission to support the Family of Medicine while implementing TMA-funded programs like Hard Hats for Little Heads, Walk With A Doc, and Be Wise – ImmunizeSM, plus a myriad of other established and pilot programs. The counties work to carry out the mission of the alliance, while TMAA provides the structure and support for counties to succeed. Fellowship is and always has been the backbone of the alliance, and we do ourselves no justice by thinking of ourselves as separate organizations. When we view ourselves as one powerful organization, we harness the strength of many and accomplish so much more.

Stereotype: The alliance can either follow tradition or be innovative – not both.
Reality: It can be difficult to let go of the established way of doing things – traditions that worked when demands on the medical family were not as great. However, as we prepare to enter a new decade, it is important to remember that the changes we make are not intended to throw out our legacy – rather, we are working toward finding a happy medium between tradition and the innovation we must pursue to keep this organization healthy. As we embrace changing demographics, changing physician practice environments, dual career families, and more competition for our time, we must be more innovative, especially if want to recruit the next generation of members to lead the alliance. This might mean more communication via technology, after-hours meetings for working spouses, holiday parties for Hanukkah as well as Christmas, more male-oriented activities for our diverse membership, and more cross-cultural events.

As this year – and decade – draws to a close, now is the time to reflect on the amazing achievements we have accomplished so far, as well as what lies on the horizon. Medicine is in a state of growth and change, and so too is TMAA. Together, we will find the ways we can adapt to be stronger and more welcoming to new medical families, while still carrying on the traditions that have carried us to 100 years and beyond.

With so many upcoming holiday parties and other opportunities to meet new people, let’s make a promise to throw these stereotypes out the door and extend an olive branch in a new direction in 2020.

Lisa Queralt, RN, MSN
TMA Alliance President

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Renew Your Membership Before the Holidays

Following the launch of our 2020 Membership Campaign in September, TMAA is nearly halfway to our goal of 100% renewal.

Next week, TMAA will send out another email to those who have not yet paid for 2020. Here’s the schedule for the remainder of the billing cycle:

  • Dec. 9: fourth email reminder
  • Jan. 13: second mailed invoice to current and lapsed members + fifth email reminder
  • Feb. 10: sixth email reminder
  • March 9: third mailed invoice + seventh email reminder (with drop date)

Alert your members to look for the TMAA renewal notice in their inbox. Keep in mind that TMAA does not have email addresses for many of our members. We need your help to ensure that your local members know when and how to pay dues.

If you know someone who does not currently receive TMAA emails, including the Monthly Memo, please have him or her email Sasha and request to be added to the mailing list.

REMEMBER, TMA Alliance members have three ways to pay dues:
1. Go online to (look for blue button in the upper-right corner of website; click on “Renew” if you’re a  current member and want to renew your membership)
2. Call TMA Knowledge Center at (800) 880-7955 with credit card information
3. Mail an application form or mailed statement along with a check to TMA Alliance, 401 W. 15th St., Austin, TX 78701

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Membership Resources on TMAA Website

  • Check out the NEW Membership portion of the website, featuring a Membership Toolkit and ROI Calculator. The toolkit provides valuable talking points, elevator speeches, sample phone scripts, FAQs, and much more to help you share the benefits and value of the alliance. The ROI Calculator is a fun way to demonstrate exactly how far your investment goes toward making a difference in your community.
  • Make sure to visit your county’s personalized webpage! We are adding updated leadership rosters, upcoming events, flagship programs, and more. If you have information you would like included on your county’s page, email Sasha.

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Apply for a Membership Incentive in 2020

Apply now for funding for your membership recruitment events. Counties can request up to $1,000 to host an event geared towards recruiting new and/or former members of the alliance. Just fill out the application, and TMAA staff will get back to you within three business days.

Remember: Membership events must be free to attend and include a call to action for attendees – whether a short pitch about the alliance, a table with membership forms to fill out, or some other method to make joining easy. TMAA staff will assist with marketing and outreach of your event.

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Don't Forget to Recruit!

This year, TMAA is holding a contest for the alliance member who recruits the most new members! All you have to do is instruct your new member recruits to include your name on their membership form, or to enter your name when they see the “Who recruited you?” question on the online membership application. We will do all the tracking for you. A winner will be announced after the 2020 billing cycle closes on March 31, 2020, so stay tuned!

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Share the gift of good health by supporting the community outreach work of your colleagues. Please consider a gift of $25 or more for the TMAA Holiday Sharing Campaign as it celebrates its 25th year of giving!

Your gift will allow the TMA Foundation to award even more medical community grants to alliance chapters in the new year. These alliance chapters received grants in 2019:

  • Tarrant County Medical Society Alliance Foundation received $7,500 for its Immunization Collaboration of Tarrant County. The program provides low-cost vaccination events for more than 7,000 children and adults annually.
  • Bexar County Medical Society Alliance received $2,500 for its Campaign to Reduce Bullying and Build Self-Esteem for children with craniofacial deformities.
  • Lubbock County Medical Society Alliance/South Plains Immunization Network received $2,226 for pneumonia vaccine for the South Plains Food Bank.
  • Nueces County Medical Society Alliance received $5,000 for battling opioid misuse in Nueces County.

Help us reach our goal of $6,000 by Dec. 31, 2019. Your gift is tax-deductible.

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Addiction ... No One Is Immune

After attending the opioid symposium at ALLMED in May, Nueces County Medical Society Alliance (NCMSA) President Amanda Cutbirth knew she wanted to bring what she had learned to her community. On Nov. 21, NCMSA did just that by hosting two educational symposiums focused on addiction, treatment, and recovery. Through partnerships with local stakeholders, NCMSA marketed the events to parents, teachers, and the community at large, resulting in a combined attendance of more than 300.

To accommodate varying schedules, NCMSA held the symposium twice on the same day, at 10 am in the Veterans Memorial High School Auditorium, and again at 7 pm at the Church Unlimited Rodd Field campus. Attendees of both events heard from addiction specialist Carlos Tirado, MD; Susán Hoemke, who shared her personal experience; and Mark Kinzly, co-founder of the Texas Overdose Naloxone Initiative. Following their presentations, speakers were joined in a Q&A session with attendees by Amy Granberry, vice president of client engagement and recovery management for Cenikor Foundation; Alison Johnson, director of community health outreach at Coastal Bend Wellness Foundation; and Melissa Sweeting, executive director at the Council on Alcohol & Drug Abuse-Coastal Bend.

Several local and state organizations had informational tables at each event, providing educational literature and more. Organizations present were Alateen, Cenikor Corpus Christi, Coastal Bend Wellness, Council of Alcohol & Drug Abuse, More Narcan Please, and Starlite Recovery Center. UT Health San Antonio School of Nursing also had a table and gave out free Narcan for attendees to take home in case of emergencies.

The success of the day was a powerful example of how alliance members give back to their community through outreach and education. Big shout-out to NCMSA members, and congratulations to Amanda Cutbirth on a job well done!

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Around the State

Smith County Medical Society Alliance held its Guest Day on Wednesday, Nov. 20, at Jack Ryan’s restaurant in Tyler. In addition to presenting the Heels for Healing fundraiser check to Hospice of East Texas, nearly 50 alliance members and guests shared a festive lunch in anticipation of the holiday season.

Nueces County Medical Society Alliance members spent a morning volunteering at the Coastal Bend Food Bank. Together, they packed 504 bags of food into 168 boxes, to be sent to distribution sites across 11 counties.

Medical students at Baylor College of Medicine and McGovern Medical School at UTHealth banded together for a Hard Hats for Little Heads giveaway with Casa de Esperanza de Los Ninos in Houston. The Harris County Medical Society Alliance helped fund the event, raising money to purchase the helmets by collecting donations at its local meeting. We loved seeing the collaboration among these groups – great job to all involved!

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Submit a Nomination for the Anson Jones Awards

Seen or heard top-notch health and medical news in your local or other Texas-based media this year? If so, share the stories with TMA so we can enter them in the Anson Jones, MD, Awards that recognize outstanding health reporting. Nominations are due Jan. 3, 2020.

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First Tuesdays in the Districts

First Tuesdays in the Districts, the new grassroots advocacy program from TMA, TEXPAC, and TMAA, officially launched in August. The program encourages physicians, alliance members and medical students to schedule small informal visits with local legislators and their staff to build or maintain meaningful relationships. To date, more than 60 visits, award presentations, and fundraisers have taken place or will take place by Dec. 31, 2019. For November, we have a couple of highlights from local alliance chapters.

Members of the Tarrant County Medical Society Alliance and Tarrant County Medical Society participated in First Tuesdays in the Districts, getting to know State Rep. Chris Turner over a casual lunch – just the first step in building a strong relationship with a local legislator.

Big Country County Medical Society Alliance and Big Country County Medical Society members were also busy with First Tuesdays in the Districts, attending a fundraiser for State Sen. Dawn Buckingham on Nov. 15 and having a casual meeting with State Rep. Stan Lambert on Nov. 20. Big Country alliance members and physicians got to know Representative Lambert and discussed the future of hospitals, telemedicine, and more over coffee and delicious Wisconsin Kringle.

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Join TEXPAC Today for a Special Holiday Gift!

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