March 2020

President's Message

At the end of February, our focus was Houston. TMA Alliance Director Pam and I spent four days meeting with Harris County Medical Society Alliance (HCMSA) members, physicians in training, medical students, and staff from the Harris County Medical Society to discuss the future of organized medicine. The tour kicked off with a leadership lunch with the HCMSA Executive Board for a major strategic planning session. I am excited to see HCMSA focus exclusively on its most successful programs, like its Annual Gala; Touch, Hear and Smell Holiday event for special needs kids; and Hard Hats for Little Heads, to relieve some of the workload and allow room for membership growth. This alliance has an impressive history, powerful fundraising programs, and tons of untapped potential!

Next, we held a First Tuesday in the Districts planning discussion with Doug Abel, vice president of public affairs for Harris County Medical Society. Doug’s calendar is full, with 48 legislators to befriend. Now is the time to build those relationships! It’s so fun to hear how local medical students and residents are fired up to participate in personal visits as part of the First Tuesdays advocacy program. What could be more empowering than a one-on-one chat with elected officials? Not only do the legislators LOVE to hear from future physicians, but also their staff literally light up when someone their own age walks in! Makes me smile every time!

Houston medical students, residents, and resident spouses also have a lot going on this month with Match Day in just a couple of weeks, on March 20. Baylor and UTHealth McGovern Medical School students are anxious to learn where they will spend the next stage of their medical career. TMAA will host a happy hour for students on Match Day to celebrate the results, and I’ll head back to Houston on April 8 to welcome more residents and resident spouses to the alliance. I also want to give a shout-out to Rowland Pettit, APT representative and Baylor College of Medicine student, for joining up with UTHealth to co-host a Walk With a Future Doc at Hermann Park.

I always treasure my time in the counties! There is simply no substitute for hearing your successes and challenges in person, in your own neighborhoods. One challenge we all seem to face across the state is membership retention and recruitment. So, we are designating this month as “March Membership Madness.” Read on to learn about the campaign. I hope everyone participates in helping us capture 300 members (new or renewals) before March 31.

Lisa Queralt, RN, MSN
TMA Alliance President

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March Membership Madness

The TMA Alliance is the best kept secret in Texas … but that’s changing this month as we aim to recruit and/or renew memberships for 300 Alliance members by March 31. Alliance chapters across the state are holding membership mixers and reaching out to physicians, residents, and their spouses to join their organizations. Here are two sure-fire ways you can score your membership goal:

1. Sponsor a friend or colleague in 2020. Instead of asking your friend to join, take the next step – pay your friend’s 2020 dues so he or she can experience the alliance firsthand. It’s a small investment for a large return.

2. If you are hosting a membership mixer between 8 am and 5 pm, call the TMA Knowledge Center at (800) 880-7955 and have people renew their membership or join via phone, right then and there. The Bexar County Medical Society Alliance started doing this a couple months ago, and it works!

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2020 Survey Results

Big thanks to all who submitted a response to the survey we put out at the beginning of this year. The winner of our $25 gift card is Lisa Breech of Victoria. Congratulations, Lisa!

The results of this survey will help guide our programming at ALLMED next month and our Regional Conference in October, including sessions on social media marketing, membership growth strategies, and advocacy training. To learn more, visit the ALLMED page on our website, where a full schedule is available. Information about the Regional Conference will become available later this year, so stay tuned.

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2020 Membership Incentive Funds Available

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.

Read on for some best practices for planning your event:

  • Think ahead:We all know medical families lead busy lifestyles, and it can be hard to work around existing commitments. We recommend picking a date at least 60 days out to allow time for adequate marketing and for attendees to plan for it in their personal schedule.
  • Utilize TMAA resources:Remember that TMAA staff are available to help you design and market your event, and we have access to TMA’s graphics team and print shop to help you. This enables you to have professional, affordable materials to distribute before and during your event. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us with your ideas, and we’ll help you get started.
  • Partner with your county medical society: The TMA Alliance is a group for the Family of Medicine, and one of the best ways to show that is by opening up your event to members of your county medical society. The most successful and well-attended events we saw last year were co-hosted by alliance chapters and county medical societies, so make it a point to reach out to yours in 2020 and help each other meet your outreach goals.
  • Keep it simple: The most effective events have a one purpose and a clear message – You should join the alliance, and here’s why. Keep things fun; make sure there is ample time for guests to meet and socialize; and don’t get bogged down promoting a local initiative, raising funds for your chapter’s foundation, or planning an educational segment.
  • Use what you’ve got: Not every recruitment event needs to be brand-new. If your alliance chapter has a long-standing, popular event such as a luncheon, fundraising dinner, or annual party, use it as an opportunity to bring in new faces and show them what the alliance is all about. You can request incentive funds to help market the event to potential members, or even to help cover the cost of inviting them as guests.

  • ALLMED Registration Now Open

    If you haven’t already, head on over to the ALLMED page on our website and check out the schedule. This year’s program – April 29-May 2 at the Fort Worth Convention Center and Omni Fort Worth – is packed with useful tools for county leaders and general membership alike – including how to use the website tools, plan a successful event, recruit new members, and much more. On the personal development side, we will hear from two medical spouses on “Getting Your Needs Met in a Medical Marriage.” And, of course, there will be plenty of opportunities to meet and socialize with friends old and new, from our Thursday evening Happy Hour to our Annual Awards Luncheon on Friday. So, what are you waiting for? Register now, and don’t forget to book your hotel before the April 8 deadline!


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    After ALLMED, Enjoy the TMA Foundation Gala

    Join your TMA Alliance friends at the 27th annual TMA Foundation gala on Friday, May 1, at the Omni Fort Worth. 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. The gala theme, THE ART OF MEDICINE, recognizes Fort Worth for its vibrant art scene and honors the unique way physicians treat each patient. The décor will be bright and artistic. Dress is artistic and creative cocktail attire or business.

    Host City chairs for the 2020 TMAF gala are alliance member Debbie Massingill and her husband, G. Sealy Massingill, MD, Fort Worth. Debbie Pitts, past TMAA president and TMA Foundation board member, is chairing the Gala Auction Committee, which includes TMA and TMAA members and donors. Alliance members, more than 500 physicians, and friends of medicine will enjoy cocktails, a seated dinner, live music, dancing, auctions, and more.

    Buy tickets now because they increase in price after April 15. For extra recognition and early entry to the silent auction, consider purchasing a table of eight starting at $2,200, or purchase individual VIP tickets for $300 each.  General admission tickets are $250 each.

    Current top sponsors include H-E-B, Pfizer Inc., Texas Medical Liability Trust, and Radiology Associates of North Texas, PA, among other corporate and individual supporters. To purchase tickets and learn more, contact the TMA Foundation at (800) 880-1330, ext. 1466, or visit

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

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    Be Wise Grants Deadline Extended

    Thinking about hosting a TMA Be Wise – Immunize education event or shot clinic? If so, you’re in luck because the deadline to apply for a Local Impact Grant to help fund the event has been extended to March 15. Read more.

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    Concerned About COVID 19? Model Common Sense

    Remember the 2009-10 H1N1 flu season in Texas and the U.S? Most people don’t recall that period. I was the Texas Department of State Health Services state nursing director during those years, and I remember all the public health immunization clinics we had and what a hard sell it was to get folks to take a flu shot. We had difficulty giving them away, even when we offered them in strip shopping centers and malls. That flu season, the U.S. saw 12,000 flu deaths and more than a quarter-million flu hospitalizations. We thought that was a bad year, but then came the 2017-18 season, which was even worse, with an estimated 61,000 flu deaths in the U.S.

    If you don’t remember past U.S. flu statistics being so alarming, it raises the question of why the COVID-19 flu virus is so scary for us now. Partly, it is because the frenzied and politicalized media focus is stoking the fears we are all experiencing. Yesterday, I heard a television medical expert remind us all that less than half of us bother with the currently available flu shot.

    Am I concerned about COVID 19? Of course. If you haven’t had your flu shot yet this year, it isn’t too late. Seize this time to encourage others to schedule a flu shot. Not having hand sanitizer is not the end of the world if we have soap, water, and know the birthday song. We need to stay home when we are ill, even if it means disappointing others. We all participate in many organizations, and we can encourage different behaviors, even if just for a while. For example, our church has announced a “handshake and hug moratorium.”

    We will get through this flu season, and we have an opportunity to make a real difference by modeling healthy practices as well as encouraging our friends, families, and organizations to think about commonsense approaches that do not require special supplies or equipment but perhaps some new ways of doing things.

    Be wise – immunize!

    COVID-19 Resources, All in One Place

    To help Texas physicians and alliance members prepare for the coronavirus COVID-19, turn to TMA’s COVID-19 Resource Center. Bookmark that page as TMA will update it continually with all the news and information you need right now.

    Around the State

    Smith County Medical Society Alliance (SCMSA) hosted its Valentine’s Luncheon on Feb. 13 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Tyler. The 140 in attendance included alliance members; veterans; physicians; former Mayor Barbara Bass; State Rep. Matt Schaefer; Tyler Junior College President Juan Mejia, EdD; TMA Past President Doug Curran, MD, and wife Sandy; TMAA President Lisa Queralt; TMAA President-Elect Martha Vijjeswarapu; Smith County Medical Society Director Angela Driggs; Camp V board members; and Texas State Guard and Color Guard from C Co., 3rd Btn., 1st BDE. The event promoted the alliance’s mission to “Strengthen, support and serve medical families and to nurture and encourage a healthy community.” The event was an absolute blast, and attendees had a wonderful time honoring the veteran community. Way to go, SCMSA!

    Lubbock County Medical Society Alliance held a Party of Medicine on Feb. 27 to promote TEXPAC membership. About 30 physicians and spouses attended the home of Dr. Gary and Mrs. Judy Simmons, to learn about TMA’s advocacy efforts and how they can get involved. If you’d like to host your own Party of Medicine, contact Pam Udall.

    Tarrant County Medical Society Alliance (TCMSA) held its 11th annual Medicine Ball on Feb. 14 at Ridglea Country Club. The theme was The Queens of Heart, and the alliance took the opportunity to celebrate its centennial year with a special program that will serve as a valued keepsake for years to come. The event was one for the books, with TMAA President Lisa Queralt and President-Elect Martha Vijjeswarapu in attendance, and plenty of special touches to honor the work and efforts of all the amazing past presidents. Happy centennial, TCMSA!

    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.

    From March 27-30, several alliance chapters will be celebrating Doctors’ Day with local events: Bexar County Medical Society Alliance, Brownsville Medical Alliance, Potter-Randall County Medical Society Alliance, and Nueces County Medical Society Alliance.

    March 28, 6 pm @ Fiesta Gardens
    Travis County Medical Alliance’s annual Party With a Purpose raises thousands of dollars each year to help fund numerous local nonprofits. This year’s theme is Havana Nights, featuring tiki drinks, tropical food, music, and dancing. Buy your tickets

    June 6-9, Chicago, Ill.
    AMAA Annual Meeting. Early bird registration ends April 30. Learn more.