July 2020

President's Message

At its start, 2020 looked to be a year packed with travel and adventure. I was looking forward to visiting alliance chapters across the state to meet our members in person. By the time stay-at-home orders were issued in March, TMAA’s Board of Directors and staff had already been working on events scheduled for the coming months – ALLMED, the Regional Meeting – and we all had our own personal calendars filled with graduations, weddings, vacations, and other milestones. However, we put these plans on hold for a few weeks, thinking life would get back to normal by spring.

Then spring came, and the pandemic was still very much part of our daily lives. In May, we had to pivot and hold the Annual Business Meeting via Zoom. I took my oath as your new president on a screen instead of before the TMA House of Delegates. Now, even as the stay-at-home orders have lifted, we hear of COVID cases on the rise and hospitals running out of beds. TMA has just announced the cancellation of Fall Conference in September.

We have all adapted to the pandemic in our own ways. Spending time with family, either physically or virtually, has become important. New hobbies have been taken up, countless books have been read, and by now we can all call ourselves pros at Zoom. TMAA is also adapting so we can be here for you! We're moving quickly to make the alliance the best possible in our new virtual reality.

Last month, we kicked off our Online Enrichment Series with Coping with Stress and Uncertainty During Covid-19 by Valerie Smith, MD. In this webinar, Dr. Smith offered pathways to resilience. Watching a movie that makes you laugh, practicing breathing exercises, engaging in something creative, or even just taking a walk are great ways to help you through the day. If you want to learn more, watch a recording of the presentation from the TMAA website. Our next webinar is Thursday, July 16, at noon. Meeting the Needs of Physician Partners will be presented by Lara McElderry, founder of marriedtodoctors.com. RSVP for the webinar.

While we might not have all the answers, one thing still within our control is making this a fabulous year for the alliance. We are fortunate to have the technology to continue our work. From the Annual Business Meeting in May to the Organizational Review & Strategy meeting this summer, to our Regional Meeting in October, TMAA will continue to handle business, provide support to the Family of Medicine, and offer opportunities for growth and learning to our members.

Please know that while we may remain in self-isolation, you are not alone. TMAA is dedicated to helping county alliances hold more social engagements, develop membership ideas, and form ways to connect during this time. I look forward to our continuing virtual engagements.

Martha Vijjeswarapu
TMA Alliance 2020-21 President

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Save the Date: Meeting the Needs of Physician Partners

As a continuation of our online enrichment webinars, Lara McElderry, founder of marriedtodoctors.com, will look at the real needs of physician partners and how to meet them. She will discuss recognizing negative feelings and how to manage them in the context of a physician family. The webinar is open to all TMAA members.

Thursday, July 16
Noon-1 pm

A recording of the webinar will be made available afterwards.

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COVID-19 Resources

TMA’s COVID-19 Resource Center has ongoing coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic, including guides on personal protective equipment distribution, resources on practice viability, and much more. Be sure to bookmark the page and check it frequently to stay up to date on COVID-19 in Texas.

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TMAF Annual Report

Thanks to TMA Foundation donors, volunteers, and community partners, along with Texas Medical Association and TMA Alliance members like you, we’ve accomplished some amazing things together. Lives were saved. Children protected. Families transformed. Minority students supported in their medical training. Excellence in science teaching celebrated. And more.

TMAF invites you to view this brief video presentation of its 2019 annual report to meet some of the people who’ve been touched by your generosity.

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School Helmet Giveaways Help Kids Read, Ride

Motivating kids to stay active and succeed academically is a win-win. During these pandemic times, joining with a local school that gives bikes as a reward for achievement is a good fit for a TMA Hard Hats for Little Heads bike helmet giveaway.

Kent Rasmussen, MD, an Arlington internist, got involved with Hard Hats by way of the Kiwanis Club of Arlington’s Bringing Up Grades (BUGS) program, which rewards third- and fourth-graders in Arlington independent School District who earn a spot on the A/B honor roll. Students who make the honor roll are entered into a drawing. The 80 lucky winners receive a gently used bike, along with a helmet.

If you already support a local school, see if it has a similar learning incentive program to pair with a helmet giveaway. Or consider looking for a local school that has one.

TMA has the tools you need for a successful giveaway. When you purchase up to 50 helmets, TMA boosts your giving power with an equal match of helmets. Helmets cost $7.85 each (including shipping). TMA also has free educational materials in English and Spanish to support your event.

To receive an order packet, email Tammy Wishard, TMA outreach coordinator, or call her at (512) 370-1470.

Hard Hats for Little Heads is supported in 2020 with a grant from the TMA Foundation.

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Join With TMA To Improve Local Vaccination Rates

Counties across Texas could be at risk for an outbreak of measles or other diseases because of poor vaccination rates. Texas Medical Association’s Be Wise – ImmunizeSM offers Local Impact Grants to support vaccination efforts, and is giving priority this year to events in counties where vaccinations are most needed.

Grants of up to $2,500 support vaccination clinics or educational events hosted by TMA physicians/clinics, medical students, county medical societies, and TMA Alliance chapters. You can apply until July 15 for events this fall or later. This is the last application opportunity for 2020.

The grants can fund anything needed for a shot clinic, such as vaccines, overtime pay for nurses, or facility rental. Shot clinics can offer any recommended vaccination for children to adults, including flu, human papillomavirus, and pertussis. Grantees have up to 12 months to use the funds.

With social distancing in place, creativity is needed. Take some tips from the Lubbock County Medical Society Alliance. Last year, the alliance teamed up with Meals on Wheels to offer pneumococcal vaccinations to the city’s elderly population. And for several years, the alliance, as part of the South Plains Immunization Network, has given flu shots each fall in conjunction with a local food bank.

Use the TMA Foundation Online Grant Interface to submit your grant application by July 15. For help planning your event, check out the Be Wise — Immunize Quick Start Manual: A Step-by-Step Vaccination Outreach Guide and Be Wise Event Ideas. Or contact Tammy Wishard, TMA outreach coordinator, at (512) 370-1470.

Be Wise – Immunize is a joint initiative led by TMA physicians, medical students, and the TMA Alliance. It is funded in 2020 by the TMA Foundation, thanks to major support from H-E-B and Permian Basin Youth Chavarim.

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

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TEXPAC Offer for Alliance Members

You are not alone in this crisis. ... TEXPAC stands with our members in the fight against COVID-19. Support TEXPAC by donating NOW to keep physicians front and center next legislative session. Medicine will be the No. 1 issue, and TEXPAC needs to lead the conversation. We need to elect those who will STAND with medicine! In light of the financial difficulties many of our members are facing, we have lowered TEXPAC Alliance membership from $55 to only $40 for the year. Join today to help TEXPAC prepare for the biggest battle since the 2003 tort reform fight!

Log in to the TEXPAC site and renew your dues, or click “Donate Now” on the home page and use the “Other” button to do a quick donation without signing in.


We are running a new feature in the Monthly Memo to answer frequently asked questions from our membership. Three common points of confusion are these:

Q. How do we promote the alliance to people who are possible new members?
On the TMAA website we have a section dedicated solely to membership resources. One of the resources is a membership toolkit that provides specific messaging for each member you are trying to recruit, from a medical student or resident to a retired physician spouse.

Q. Does the alliance have print materials we can hand out that highlight who we are and what we do?
Yes, we have a new brochure to hand out to potential members and to retain your current members. Download a PDF of the brochure, or if you would like copies mailed to you, contact TMAA staff.

Q. What do I get for my membership?
As a member of TMAA you receive the Monthly Memo; free webinars via the TMAA Enrichment Series; access to TMA outreach programs, like Hard Hats for Little Heads and the new Texas BookShare program; funding for membership events in your community; access to TMA’s and TMAA’s advocacy programs; and hands-on training from TMAA marketing and communication consultants.

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Upcoming Events

In addition to the events below, please be sure to check out our new calendar, where you can sort events by county. If your chapter has an upcoming event you would like featured, email details (date, time, location, ticket prices, description) to Sasha.

July 9
County Leadership Listening Session (virtual)

July 16
TMAA Webinar: Meeting the Needs of Physician Partners
Register here

Aug. 13
County Leadership Listening Session (virtual)

Sept. 10
County Leadership Listening Session (virtual)
TMAA Finance Committee (virtual)
TMAA Board of Directors meeting (virtual)

Oct. 2
TMAA Regional Conference (virtual)
Registration will open soon.