March 2019



President's Message

Hello, my friends!

I have spent quite a lot of time on the road this month for TMAA. I can’t help but notice that the bluebonnets are in full bloom along I-37 and I-35, and that means it is spring in Texas! Alliance chapters around the state are putting together amazing community health advocacy projects. I hope to see lots of wonderful county award nominations rolling in as we begin preparations for AllMed in Dallas, May 15 -17 at the Hilton Anatole.

My yard is full of clover and oxalis, which makes me think of St. Patrick’s Day, and forgive me for being cheesy, but don’t leave health policy up to LUCK – support TEXPAC and First Tuesdays at the Capitol, and educate your legislators about TMA-supported health policies.

First Tuesdays at the Capitol

The March 5 First Tuesdays was “Alliance Day,” and we had a fabulous reception Monday night featuring special guests State Rep. Julie Johnson and American Medical Association Alliance President Cami Pond of Indiana. More than 30 Alliance members attended the action-packed day. We showed Cami how we do legislative advocacy when she joined us as an Advocacy Ambassador, meeting legislators and their staff. If you didn’t make it to First Tuesdays this month, you can still aim for April 2 and May 7. You can register now.

President Visits

TMAA President-Elect Lisa Queralt and I visited her home county, Tarrant County Medical Society Alliance, for its Shower of Love. I LOVE this type of program. Guests bring diapers, wipes, onesies, and other newborn supplies, which the alliance donates to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth so mothers in need have supplies to go home with them.

Lisa also took me to get a quick glimpse of Cooks Children’s Hospital — WOW. What an amazing facility they have there. It was impressive — if you’ve never been there: The atrium looks like a fairy tale castle.

Next we visited Bexar County Medical Society Alliance (BCMSA) at its NICU Shower. BCMSA members collected diapers, children’s books, and cash to go towards Mama-Roos for babies at the University Hospital neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) who were born addicted to opioids. A hospital administrator gave us a presentation highlighting a soon-to-be-added maternity module, and we also toured the hospital’s existing NICU, which is quite impressive. Another cool thing: The alliance is selling its own BCMSA Fiesta medals — a San Antonio tradition in honor of the Battle of the Flowers.

Next we visited Bell County Medical Alliance’s signature Wild West Casino Night fundraiser. This was a hoot. Lisa was “on a roll” at the craps table, and all for a good cause, raising money for postgraduate medical education.  

I hope to hear about all the good things you are doing in your community — so don’t be shy!


Be well,




Watch First Tuesday Highlights + Video

Watch February’s First Tuesdays at the Capitol video featuring TMA Alliance leader Martha Vijjeswarapu and her husband, Daniel Vijjeswarapu, MD, as they lobby the Texas Legislature for a day on Feb. 5 on behalf of medicine and patient care.


Register Today: AllMed 2019

Registration is now open for AllMed, the TMA Alliance annual convention. AllMed returns to Dallas and the Hilton Anatole May 15-17, 2019. The two-day conference is packed with networking opportunities, and programming to help you market and promote your alliance, grow membership, and prevent opioid abuse and addiction in your community. A few of the highlights:


  • Reception at the historical Aldredge House (Wednesday, May 15; shuttle service provided to and from the event);
  • Networking events every day;
  • Luncheon speaker with a focus on new membership strategies;
  • County alliance roundtables;
  • Presentations from marketing, public relations, and social media experts;
  • TMAA Annual Awards Luncheon;
  • Opioid Education Symposium with speakers on addiction, enforcement, and more;
  • TMA/TMAA Presidents’ Reception;
  • TMA Foundation gala; and
  • Joint installation ceremony of TMA and TMAA presidents.


New: All-inclusive price of $120 covers all meals, business meetings, and educational programming for AllMed and TexMed.




Save Your Spot at TMA Foundation’s BIG & BRIGHT!

The Texas Medical Association Foundation (TMAF) invites you to join your friends at its 26th annual gala, BIG & BRIGHT, on Friday, May 17, at the Hilton Anatole Dallas. The event helps support many initiatives carried out by TMA Alliance members, including TMA’s Hard Hats for Little Heads and Be Wise — ImmunizeSM, as well as local programs led by alliance chapters.

More than 500 physicians, Alliance members, and friends of medicine will enjoy cocktails, seated dinner, live music, dancing, auctions, and more. 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. Have fun dressing in vintage 1930s and ’40s attire (optional) or business casual.

Host city chairs for the gala are Cheryl and Samuel Chantilis, MD, of Dallas. Serving as a 2019 TMAF Gala metroplex co-chair with her husband John Queralt, MD, is TMA Alliance President-Elect Lisa Queralt. Other metroplex co-chairs are Collin-Fannin County Medical Society members Leena Shroff, MD; Nick Shroff, MD; Sejal Mehta, MD; and Saumil Mehta, MD. Joseph Valenti, MD, of Denton County Medical Society is also serving as a co-chair.

Gala sponsorships are available at various recognition levels ranging from $3,000 to $50,000 for the exclusive presenting sponsorship. Current top sponsors are H-E-B, Drs. Nick and Leena Shroff, Pfizer, and Texas Medical Liability Trust among other corporate and individual supporters.

Individual tables of eight begin at $2,200. VIP tickets are $300. General admission tickets are $250.

To purchase tickets or sponsorship or to learn more, contact TMAF at (800) 880-1330, ext. 1664, or visit

Many thanks to the co-chairs, sponsors, and TMA Alliance for helping make TMAF’s 26th annual gala a success to improve the health of all Texans.

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


Around the State: Advocacy in Action


Bell County Medical Alliance (BCMA) was recognized Feb. 12 by the Temple City Federation of Women’s Clubs as one of three Community Servants for its support of Meals on Wheels. BCMA has run a route and financially supported Meals on Wheels for the past 36 years and is committed to caring for seniors in its community.  Meals on Wheels volunteer coordinator Jill Cable and immediate past coordinator Patsy Posey accepted the award.

BCMA members held their 4th Annual Wild West Casino Night on Feb. 23. Members cooked all the food, hit the pavement for wonderful silent auction items and prize packages, and decorated the venue. The alliance raised more than $15,000 for the Training Texas Physician Fund for Baylor Scott & White Health (BSWH) Central Texas Foundation. The funds will support 10 travel grants for BSWH residents and fellows to present their research at domestic conferences. BCMA is committed to supporting its medical community in hopes of recruiting the best residents and faculty. 

In addition, it supports medical families because the alliance members recall their own Ramen noodle days during medical school and residency training. BCMA was honored to have TMAA President Sunshine Moore and TMAA President-Elect Lisa Queralt attend the event. Sandy Korompai and Pamela Abernathy outdid themselves with a wonderful menu; Julie Ruiz and Lisa Drever headed up the planning, logistics, and fundraising; and Amee Tuggle did an amazing job with prizes and silent auction items. A special thanks goes to Susan Higgins and Amrti Bower for being all-star members helping with everything. Even our youngest junior member, Charlotte Tippett, joined her mother, Courtney, to help us cook!

The Tarrant County Medical Society Alliance (TCMSA) held its Shower of Love at the home of Marisa Mercer. Members donated clothing, diapers, and other items for infants in the John Peter Smith Hospital newborn nursery. The outpouring of love generated more than 150 onesies; 27 onesie sets; 40 baby socks; and lots of diapers, body wash, blankets, and cash for the nursery.

TCMSA launched a new program in February to honor physicians while raising awareness and funds for Project Access. The program gives the community a way to honor and thank their doctor. Community members can honor one doctor with a $50 donation or three for $100. Each donor receives an I (heart) My Doctor yard sign. A handwritten note is then sent to the physician being honored. The funds support Project Access, a program that provides free medical care to community members.  

The Travis County Medical Alliance (TCMA) volunteered at the Austin Diaper Bank in February.  TCMA members took inventory, and wrapped and organized diapers. The Austin Diaper Bank’s mission is to empower families and individuals by providing a reliable and adequate source of diapers, wipes, and personal hygiene products so families can thrive. The TCMA members enjoyed it so much they are planning another volunteer opportunity this spring. Members also donated diapers, baby wipes, and cream.

Smith County Medical Society held a chocolate tasting at Sweet Gourmet for Valentine’s Day.


Hard Hats Advocate Profile: Martha Howell 

Promoting public health initiatives in local communities can help physicians build relationships with the people they care for every day. Martha Howell and her husband, infectious disease specialist Alan Howell, MD, have taken that idea a few steps further. 

For the past three years, the couple has hosted Hard Hats for Little Heads events not in Bell County, where they currently live, but in counties where the Texas Medical Association’s bicycle helmet giveaway for kids has not occurred. Read more


Happy Birthday, Hard Hats

It’s time to light the birthday candles because TMA’s Hard Hats for Little Heads bicycle helmet giveaway program is turning 25! You can help make it an amazing year by hosting a helmet giveaway.

TMA has everything you need for your event, from helmets to publicity tools to educational materials. 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.

Elizabeth Velleman, president of the Nueces County Medical Society Alliance, said the Hard Hats event at a health fair last year opened alliance members’ eyes to how many children and parents need reminding about the importance of wearing a helmet. “So many kids tried telling us they didn’t need a helmet because they would never fall,” she said. “The doctors and volunteers had many real-life stories to remind them otherwise.” Read more


Doctor’s Day: March 30

Many alliances and county medical societies will honor their physicians on March 30, National Doctor’s Day. Here’s a little history lesson on how Doctor’s Day originated.

The first Doctors’ Day was held on March 30, 1933, by the Barrow County Auxiliary in Winder, Ga. The idea of setting aside a day to honor physicians was conceived by Eudora Brown Almond, wife of Dr. Charles B. Almond, and the recognition occurred on the anniversary of the first administration of anesthesia by Dr. Crawford W. Long in Barrow County, Ga., in 1842.

On March 30, 1958, a resolution commemorating Doctors’ Day was adopted by the U.S House of Representatives. In 1990, legislation was introduced in the U.S. House and Senate to establish a national Doctors’ Day.

Following overwhelming approval by both houses of Congress, President George H.W. Bush on Oct. 30, 1990, signed S.J. 366 (which became public Law 101-473) designating March 30 as National Doctors’ Day.

The official symbol of Doctors’ Day is a red carnation.



Renew your 2019 Alliance membership by March 30. You can renew your membership by calling TMA Knowledge Center at (800) 880-7955 or online at

Register for Tuesdays at the Capitol 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 andTMAA’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.

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 about why your member rocks it and a photo.


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