February 2019


President's Message

Hello, my friends!

February is here, and Valentine’s Day is around the corner. You can’t ignore it – chocolate and hearts are everywhere you turn for the next few weeks. Many Alliance members I know give their all to their communities, but I want to remind you take care of YOURSELF first, then your RELATIONSHIPS, and then your COMMUNITIES. Just like the airlines say, put on your own mask before assisting others.

You need to take care of both your body and your soul. Do something you enjoy every day – smile, laugh, relax, work out, meditate, or indulge in that little piece of chocolate!

For your relationships, I encourage you to check out Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages. You can read one of his books, or just peruse the website (www.5lovelanguages.com) to get the gist of it. In our family, we have “speakers” of each of five languages. I’ve been trying communicate with everyone in their language and have seen great results.

First Tuesdays at the Capitol

The Texas Legislature is in full swing, and so are our Alliance advocates. TMA’s initial First Tuesdays at the Capitol lobby day on Feb. 5 brought more than 160 Alliance members and white-coated TMA physicians and medical students to Austin. We let our legislators know the Family of Medicine is serious and passionate about improving the health of all Texans and standing up for medicine. We visited many legislators’ offices and urged them to support good patient care. The “white-coat” invasion continues to be a powerful voice for medicine!

County Alliance Visits

TMAA President-Elect Lisa Queralt and I were focused on TMA Winter Conference this January and didn’t travel much. Lisa’s board retreat was amazing. The TMA Alliance is in good hands! She has a plan mapped out for the whole year, and the 2019-20 board has a lot of talent. The highlight for me was “Escape the Room” – I thought it would be scary, but it was so much fun!


Looking Ahead

First Tuesdays in March is “our” day: The next First Tuesdays, March 5, is designated as a day to recognize the Alliance’s advocacy work. We will have a reception for the Alliance on Monday, March 4. If you can make it to only one First Tuesdays advocacy day, make it that one.

In February, Lisa and I will visit Fort Worth, Temple, and San Antonio. If you would like us to visit your county, please send a request to Pam Udall, and let’s get your county booked.

TMAA award applications are due March 1. Please submit your application to Pam Udall even if you think it’s a “long shot.” You never know: Your entry could be the winning program.

I am grateful to each of you for being members of your local county medical society alliance and the Texas Medical Association Alliance! Feel free to reach out to me any time.

Be Well,


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NEW: TMAA Alliance Website

For the first time ever, TMAA has its very own website – www.texmedalliance.org – to promote our mission, programs, benefits of membership, and county medical society alliances. Now spouses interested in joining the Alliance can do so with their cell phones. And current members can renew their membership so much more easily. Another feature is the Return-on-Investment calculator that shows you the value of your membership. Check it out. Please contact Pam Udall if you have comments or ideas, or want to add something to the site.

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TMA’s Legislative Agenda and More

TMA’s 2019 legislative agenda outlines priorities to help advance patient care in Texas. 

Top on the list are the state budget, insurance reform, scope of practice, maternal health, the Texas Medical Board and Medical Practice Act, and public health. 

For details, see “On Call at the Capitol” in the January issue of Texas Medicine

TMA member physicians, Alliance members, and medical students play a significant role in advancing medicine’s priorities at the Capitol. Here are some ways you can help:

  • Register for First Tuesdays at the Capitol.
  • Testify before a House or Senate committee.
  • Learn more about TEXPAC, TMA’s bipartisan political action committee.
  • When called to do so, respond to TMA Action Alerts on specific bills.
  • Make sure you receive TMA’s Legislative News Hotline each day, via Texas Medicine Today. Here’s how: Just log in to the Edit My Interests page on your TMA profile, and ensure you get all the legislative updates by selecting “Health care issues in the Texas Legislature” as one of your Grassroots and Advocacy interests. TMA’s updates on the latest bills affecting medicine will arrive in your inbox as part of Texas Medicine Today at 2 pm each day lawmakers convene at the Capitol throughout Texas’ 86th legislative session.  

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First Tuesdays Personal Profile

By Jenny Shepherd, TMAA VIP of Political and Legislative Affairs

Voting is over. Our officials are ensconced at the Capitol. And we have fewer than 120 days and counting to score wins for medicine. Many people in Texas think they have done their job. They went to the polls, and they voted for the candidate of their choice. And now they sit back and hope for the best. I voted in November, too, but I like to think differently. I like to think that we vote for what’s important to us every single day with our actions, our time, our voice.

Our actions as an Alliance speak volumes. We have a goal to let our legislators know we are ever-present by telling specifically what we, as the Family of Medicine, are doing in their districts. Did you know that last year alone, we fit – free of charge – 3,500 helmets in 14 counties to needy children, thus reducing the risk of head injuries? Our Be Wise – Immunize events promoted the importance of being vaccinated and administered almost 20,000 shots.

In Bexar County, donations of educational books were made to University Hospital so that low-income graduates of the Premature Infant Program could have a better start to life. In Lubbock, Alliance members are raising funds for the One Voice home, a recovery center for sexual trafficking victims, and have placed information in colleges and public places to reach victims. Nueces County sponsored fundraisers for medicine-friendly candidates, while Tarrant County’s Shower of Love provided newborn supplies for families in need. Book donations to Little Libraries, thousands of dollars raised for allied health scholarships ... the list of what we are doing in our communities across the state goes on and on.

As you can see, in our Alliance partnership with our elected officials, we are not just what I would call takers, only showing up wanting them to vote on “our side” on any particular issue. We are givers, selflessly offering our time, our efforts, and our money to make sure the communities where we live and work, and that they represent, get the best of what the medical community has to offer. And in return, we ask them to seek the guidance of TMA and TEXPAC when it comes to voting for the best interest of good medicine for all Texans.

We vote with our voice, too. Individual county alliances are gearing up to walk alongside the physicians from our communities at First Tuesdays. We are educated on the issues and are thinking about how they affect our lives personally. None of us wants our children in school with unvaccinated children, none of us wants to see our spouse burdened with unnecessary paperwork, none of us wants to see our spouse’s practice struggle or people not get the health care they need because the insurance corridors are narrow and health plan payment is dismal. First Tuesdays, postcards, calls, and emails from Alliance members all serve to make sure the voice of medicine is heard – loud and clear.

There is immense power when a group of people comes together to work for a common goal. We are proud to be part of the team. We are proud to work for medicine. And we are proud to make it part of our mission to show that medicine votes ... not only at the ballot box, but also in our community, and with our actions and our voices. Our Family of Medicine – TMA, TMAA and TEXPAC – are absolutely the right people for our legislators to partner with for a healthier Texas.

We look forward to seeing you at the Capitol on March 5, April 2, and May 7 to spread the message of medicine at First Tuesdays at the Capitol .

Be Wise — Immunize is a service mark of the Texas Medical Association.

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Advocacy Ambassadors Wanted

One of the goals of First Tuesdays at the Capitol is to ensure every single legislator receives a visit from TMA and the Alliance. Many legislators have appointments scheduled with their county medical society physicians and alliance members, but many don’t. To ensure every office receives a visit, you can join the TMAA Ambassador group. Past TMAA President Patty Loose, a member of the Travis County Medical Society Alliance, will lead Ambassadors at each First Tuesdays in several hours of meet-and-greets at the Capitol, so no legislator is left out. The group will leave at 9 am from the TMA building on First Tuesdays. Join Patty at the next First Tuesdays event on March 5 – it’s a great way to learn your way around the Capitol and how to do grassroots advocacy.

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Around the State: Advocacy in Action

The Bell County Medical Alliance (BCMA) held its Non-Event Event, which is an annual mail-in fundraiser. All the money collected goes toward its community outreach grants. Each year, the alliance helps fund more than 12 health-related organizations and charities. This year’s Non-Event Event raised more than $11,000.

Two of the organizations that received funding were the Body of Christ Community Clinic and Helping Hands Ministry of Belton. BCMA Treasurer Teresa Idoux presented a $500 check to Donna Dunn, executive director of Body of Christ Community Center.

BCMA member and past TMAA President Chery Jones presented Tasha Roberts, executive director, and Brittany Duncan, associate executive director, of Helping Hands Ministry of Belton a gift of $750. BCMA also raised $2,000 to help fund its Allied Health Scholarship.

The Travis County Medical Society Alliance had its annual holiday luncheon in December. It was a fun morning filled with holiday cheer. Alliance members collected $85 and 136 books for BookSpring, a nonprofit that builds early literacy in children and families.

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TMA Foundation Announces 2019 Gala Chairs and Co-Chairs

The Texas Medical Association Foundation (TMAF) is pleased to announce the chairs and co-chairs of its 26th annual gala , which will be on Friday, May 17, during TexMed 2019 at the Hilton Anatole Dallas.

Host city chairs for the gala, this year themed BIG & BRIGHT, are Cheryl and Samuel Chantilis, MD, representing Dallas County Medical Society.

Representing the Metroplex are co-chairs Leena Shroff, MD; Nick Shroff, MD; Sejal Mehta, MD; and Saumil Mehta, MD, all members of Collin-Fannin County Medical Society; Lisa and John Queralt, MD, of Tarrant County Medical Society; and Joseph Valenti, MD, of Denton County Medical Society.

BIG & BRIGHT will have a 1930-40s state fair theme, designed to evoke memories of when the Texas fair was an escape from hard times through fun games, chivalrous contests, and theatrical eccentricity. Attire will be vintage 1930s and ’40s (optional) or business casual.

More than 500 physicians and friends of medicine will enjoy cocktails, a seated dinner, live music, dancing, auctions, and more. The annual gala is TMAF’s largest fundraiser of the year, with proceeds supporting TMA’s health improvement and quality-of-care initiatives.

Sponsorships are available at various recognition levels ranging from $3,000 for a table of eight to $50,000 for the exclusive presenting sponsorship. Current top sponsors are H-E-B, Pfizer, and Texas Medical Liability Trust, among other corporate and individual supporters.

For more information, contact TMAF at (800) 880-1330, ext. 1664, or (512) 370-1664, or visit www.texmed.org/Gala .

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Important Reminders

Register for Tuesdays at the Capitol March 5, April 2, and 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 .

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 Feb. 28.

Membership Monday: Every Monday we feature an Alliance member on the TMAA Facebook page . Help us spotlight your hard-working alliance members. Just send Pam two or three lines why your member rocks it and a photo.

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