January 2019


President's Message

Happy New Year!

A fresh new year brings resolutions for better health and habits. What better time to focus on encouraging our communities to practice good habits for better health: wear their helmets, get vaccinated, and dispose of opioids properly. These will continue to be our statewide Alliance initiatives for the year. My personal resolution is to make sure that I get my “12 hugs” each day.  By “hugs” I mean actual hugs as well as reach-outs to friends, family, and neighbors, just to check in with them. Hugs are like smiles — the more you give, the more you get!

December was full of excitement for my family and me. I attended the TMA Advocacy Retreat in Austin, which was full of information on current issues facing a variety of medical specialties. I also participated in some hands-on workshops, learning how to speak with legislators and the media. TMAA President-Elect Lisa Queralt and I attended the Nueces County Medical Society (NCMS) Gala, where TMA President Doug Curran, MD, installed my dear husband, Jake Moore, MD, as president. I am so very proud of him. Jake and I brought our kids, Mia, Julia, and William, so they could get a feel for what mom and dad do when we so often leave them at home as we take care of medical society and Alliance tasks. Lisa and I also visited the NCMS Alliance at its annual Holiday Coffee honoring past presidents. We had a great discussion covering many topics.

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I want to include a few important reminders that provide great ways for Alliance members to get involved:

  • Your new or upgraded TEXPAC membership is vital — please participate in our political action committee. The 2018 Texas State Capitol ornaments are still available to those who join at any level. Get involved — or more involved — by calling the TMA Knowledge Center at (800) 880-7955.
  • First Tuesdays at the Capitol are Feb. 5, March 5, April 2, and May 7 — please make plans to attend or at least encourage others to do so. If your county has a good core group, you could enhance your exposure by taking one of your legislators and his or her staff out to a nice dinner on the Monday evening before. It is a wonderful opportunity to get to know them.
  • If you serve on the TMA Alliance board or any TMA committee or council, please be sure to register for 2019 TMA Winter Conference and book your sleeping room at the Hyatt Regency Austin.  If you would like to share a room, reach out, and we’ll try to get you matched up.
  • American Medical Association Alliance membership is valuable, and if you didn’t renew in December, please do so today through its website.  We are looking to partner with AMAA on our opioid awareness initiative. AMAA’s resources are well researched and educational.

As we close out 2018, I would like to have a virtual moment of silence to reflect on those we have lost this year as well as for those who have faced losses, hardships, and illnesses. And as we welcome in 2019, I wish each and every one of you the happiest, healthiest of years!


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First Tuesdays at the Capitol: A Personal Profile

By Angie Donahue  

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I look forward to attending First Tuesdays at the Capitol every legislative session. To me, First Tuesdays provides a unique opportunity to convey to my legislators that TMA/TMAA members are the trusted authorities on all issues affecting the health and well-being of fellow Texans, the practice of medicine, and the delivery of health care. 

Hopefully, they will see TMA physicians and Alliance members as informed advocates for Texas patients, and a group they can call on when they have questions about health care bills that come before them during the session.  

Whether you are a newbie or a seasoned attendee, the First Tuesdays format provides you with all the tools you will need for successful legislative visits. The TMA legislative staff presents easy-to-understand, concise information on the health care bills currently in play, along with supportive talking points.  My favorite part of First Tuesdays is walking the halls of the Capitol and seeing all the white coats — a powerful voice delivering the same, cohesive message on behalf of all Texas patients. It is a program that works!

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 Register for First Tuesdays

Mark your calendar for one of the most power grassroots activities in Texas — First Tuesdays at the Capitol on Feb. 5, March 5, April 2, and May 7, 2019.

 The TMA Alliance started the successful event in 2003, and it continues to grow each session. It’s a great way to learn about grassroots advocacy. All you need to do is show up. You will meet your legislator with a group of individuals from your House or Senate district who are prepared to discuss pertinent issues. 

Your presence is important and 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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Legislative Update

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The 86th Texas Legislature starts Jan. 8, and TMA and the TMA Alliance are ready to advocate on behalf of Texas patients. 

Our goal is to protect the practice of medicine and ensure Texas patients receive quality care when they need care. 

You can help by participating in First Tuesdays at the Capitol, and by visiting with your local legislators and their staff. Your voice and actions do make a difference!

These are TMA’s 2019 legislative priorities:  

  • Patient-friendly health insurance reforms; 
  • Fair Medicaid payment rates and processes; 
  • Patient protections from unqualified providers; 
  • Patient care decisions made by doctors, not corporations;
  • Passage of the Texas Medical Board sunset bill;
  • Responsible maternal health, mental health, and public health reforms; and 
  • Funding for medical residency programs.   

For more information, read this informative fact sheet

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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 reminders 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 to support YOU and your work.

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Register: Winter Conference

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Join your colleagues Jan. 25-26, 2019, at the Hyatt Regency Austin for 2019 TMA Winter Conference

The TMA Alliance will hold its governance meetings Jan. 25 from 7 am to noon in Foothills I. Meetings include the Finance Task Force starting at 7 am, Resource Liaisons Committee from 8:15-9:30 am, Finance Committee starting a 9:45 am, and the Board of Directors meeting will take place from 11am-noon. 

Here is the full list of the business meetings for TMA boards, councils, and committees. 

We look forward to seeing you there.

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Around the State: Advocacy in Action

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The Travis County Medical Alliance (TCMA) partnered Dec. 8 with the Junior League of Austin’s 32nd annual Coats for Kids event at the Palmer Events Center in Austin. “We chose to partner with Junior League of Austin’s Coats for Kids event because it is a great opportunity to reach a large number of kids that are in need of bike helmets,” said Christina Fenrich, who organized the event for TCMA and also is chair of the TMAA Finance Committee. TCMA gave out 125 helmets through TMA’s Hard Hats for Little Heads program and helped fit each one properly on the child’s head. The kids were excited to get their very own helmet. TCMA plans to do the event again next year and give away even more helmets.  

TCMA also held its annual holiday luncheon Dec. 14 at the Westwood Country Club. Everyone brought books to donate to BookSpring, a nonprofit organization committed to building early literacy in children and families through health care, education, and the community. 


The Brownsville Medical Alliance held its first Christmas Posada for physicians and their families. The Posada was hosted at the family farm of Dr. Christopher and Cheryl Olson on December 15th. We had a special visit form Santa Clause who handed out gifts to each child. The children participated in cookie decorations, arts and crafts, breaking of two piñatas, and an afternoon of fun. Several families were in attendance and are looking forward to next year's Posada.

Since June, the Harris County Medical Society Alliance (HCMSA) has been working hard on its 2019 gala. The April event will be a celebration of the Alliance’s 100-year anniversary. It will honor past presidents and recognize the significant contributions the Alliance has made to the medical community and to the community of Houston. 

HCMSA also held its 46th annual Touch, Smell and Hear holiday event Dec. 3. More than 500 physically and mentally challenged students, along with their families and teachers, attended the event at the John P. McGovern Health Museum. The museum was fully decorated with beautiful 12-foot Christmas trees, scented ornaments, and other holiday décor. Greeters gave guests a jingle bell bracelet when they arrived. Activities included a puppet show, choir performance, three wise men, and Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus. Each child had the opportunity to sit on Santa’s lap and get a picture taken, and each received a teddy bear to take home. “It was a beautiful way to begin the Christmas season, and we have many schools that come each year to be a part of the party,” said HCMSA President Vina Nichols.   

The Lubbock County Medical Society (LCMS) held its final meeting for 2018 on Dec. 5 at the home of Steve and Libby White. The 2019 slate of officers were approved unanimously, and guest speaker Jennifer Simek of Blooms by Jen discussed what flora to plant now to ensure beautiful spring yards, stressing the importance of landscaping with indigenous plants to help with water conservation. Santa Claus made a guest appearance to surprise both the young and young at heart, who enjoyed food, fellowship, and fun. Texas Tech Medical students, who have been helping with LCMS and the Lubbock County Medical Society Alliance human trafficking outreach, broke away from their studies to join the merriment.

LCMS and the LCMS Alliance on Dec. 7 also turned out to support the incoming Texas speaker of the House, State Rep. Dennis Bonnen. State Reps. Dustin Burrows and John Frullo hosted the fundraiser at the Merket Alumni Center at Texas Tech University. This event was one of the last fundraising stops before the Dec. 8 deadline.

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The medical society honored members of the community as well as physicians who helped further the mission of Texas medicine. Alliance member Libby White and Melinda Schalow, MD, received the Community Service Award for their work this past year in educating the community about human trafficking. 

Texas Tech University medical students Jane Gilmore and William Sessions received the M.C. Overton Award for their city-wide volunteering to improve the health of Lubbock residents. Lubbock Mayor Dan Pope received the Friends of Medicine Award for his support and commitment to human trafficking education and physical health outreach. 

All officers installed look forward to renewing their endeavors and forging new paths to advance the practice of medicine while improving the health of Texans in the year ahead.  

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A Stronger Voice for Women: Forums Aim to Improve Standing of Female Physicians in TMA 


About 15 years ago, Alisa Berger, MD, found out she was expecting a child. Because she was entering her third year of residency, it was not a convenient pregnancy. At that same time, the hospital where Dr. Berger worked had just created a policy on parental leave: Both women and men would get three weeks after the birth of a child. Read the full article here.

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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.

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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