November 2018


November and gratitude are forever linked in my mind. I am thankful for the cooler weather and the opportunity to travel around the state. I am thankful for the many friends I have made through the TMA Alliance and the variety of perspectives and talents our members possess. I am thankful to be an American, and to have the opportunity to elect our government and the ability to communicate with those leaders. I am grateful for family and friends, and the love and support they provide.

By the time you receive this message, the midterm election will be over, and we will know if we have some new legislators or returning incumbents. Whether or not “our guys” won, we need to remember we must work with the representatives who will be our voices in the government. I encourage everyone to send a note of congratulations to the winners in your district.

I am deeply saddened D’Anna Wick of Tyler has passed away, but I am eternally grateful to have known her. She was a deeply thoughtful person with a bright and optimistic personality. I will remember her as she was the last time I saw her, at ALLMED this May — full of life, vibrant, and smiling.

 The TMAA Regional Conference was held in Temple Oct. 11-12, and it was a wonderful success. I am thankful to our host committee in Temple — particularly Pam Abernathy for opening up her beautiful home for a welcoming reception and Amee Tuggle, president-elect of the Bell County Medical Society Alliance, for coordinating the committee and making the lovely centerpieces (they used pumpkins as vases!). The more than 40 members who attended heard from a variety of speakers from both TMA and around the state. Suzanne Wood and Jennifer Lewis did a fantastic job putting the conference together. 

TMAA President-Elect Lisa Queralt and I visited Cameron-Willacy County Medical Alliance and attended a luncheon in Rancho Viejo with both the newly revitalized Brownsville group and the North Chapter (Harlingen). Harlingen holds a special place in my heart as my first Alliance experience. The Brownsville group is really gathering momentum — it has a core group of members who will hold a Hard Hats for Little Heads giveaway this month. The North Chapter will continue its nursing scholarship program and annual Christmas tree decoration project at the local art museum. This was Lisa’s first visit to the Rio Grande Valley, and Rebecca Garcia and Bobbi Rodriguez took her on a tour including the “wall” in Brownsville and the beach at South Padre Island.    

We also visited Smith County Medical Society Alliance (Tyler) and got to “work” at its infamous Book Fair. I’ll be honest — Lisa actually worked at the checkout, and I merely shopped. I was blown away by the size of the fair’s space and the number of books it has. Used books are donated by the community, and the proceeds go toward the Alliance’s allied health scholarship fund and other community projects. Alliance members raised $17,000 at this event. We had a lovely lunch at a unique restaurant called The Grove.  

I hope you are enjoying the new TMAA Monthly Memo newsletter format. The newsletter is now being sent to all TMAA members. Please send us your feedback. I know Communications VP Elizabeth Vanexan,  Director of TMAA Legislative Affairs Pam Udall, and I welcome your ideas, suggestions, and of course, your news! 

As always, I am grateful for each of you,

Be healthy!

Top of page

In Memory of D'Anna Wick

By Debbie Pitts, Smith County Medical Society Alliance

It is as a sincere honor, but with great sadness, that I write about the life of my dear friend and mentor, D’Anna Wick. I knew D’Anna for more than 30 years and have always admired and respected her for all she did and how she showed leadership in so many ways. 

For almost two years, D’Anna faced with unbelievable courage some of the toughest challenges life can throw at a person. Often with pain and always with uncertainty, D’Anna met head on many difficult decisions. She learned to live life with a different set of priorities and expectations and yet seemed to appreciate each opportunity for hope and change along the way. 

D’Anna passed away at The Hospice of East Texas on Oct. 14 after a long and courageous fight with colon cancer. She had a positive attitude and never let on that she was sick or in pain. When anyone asked how she was, it was always a “good” day. 

D’Anna was born on Aug. 7, 1941, in Arkansas, but the family moved to her mother’s home in Malakoff, Texas, when she was young. She excelled in school and skipped her senior year of high school to enroll in the nursing program at The University of Texas in Austin at age 16. After her freshman year she transferred to The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, where she met a medical student who was to become her future husband. She and Paul H. Wick were married during her third year of nursing school and his fourth year of medical school. As a young physician, Paul interned at the University of Mississippi, and D’Anna transferred there and completed her bachelor of science degree in nursing at Ole Miss. 

When the young Wick family moved to Tyler in 1967, Paul began a long and successful career in psychiatry. Shortly after moving to Tyler, D’Anna became active in the Smith County Medical

Society Alliance, where she served in every position before serving as president in 1995. She was instrumental in organizing the first Book Fair in 1968 that became the major fundraiser for the Alliance. 

From 2009 to 2010, D’Anna proudly served as the president of the Texas Medical Association Alliance. As only the second TMAA president from Smith County, she worked tirelessly that year, traveling all around the state meeting with and speaking to county alliances and societies about the importance of excellent medicine in Texas and how we can all play a part in achieving that. Prior to her year as president, D’Anna served in a wide variety of TMAA positions. She remained active on many levels of TMAA and TMA involvement following her presidency.  

In 2012, D’Anna joined the Texas Medical Association Foundation (TMAF) board. She served faithfully for six years, sitting on the Grants Committee as co-chair and Nominating Committee, and in 2015-16, serving as the Executive Committee member-at-large. D’Anna took seriously her role as a TMAF board member, knowing how her participation could impact or shape the lives of others. 

For many years, D’Anna and Paul traveled to Chicago, where Paul was involved in the American Medical Association and D’Anna the AMA Alliance. 

Throughout her life in Tyler, D’Anna was active in many local organizations. This included extensive involvement at Christ Church Episcopal and serving as president of the Junior League of Tyler in 1979-80, where she helped organize the first Mistletoe & Magic and served as president of the league during its initial season. She also served on the East Texas Symphony Orchestra board and Women’s Symphony League board, and was involved with the American Cancer Society, Mental Health Association, Tyler Museum of Art, Alzheimer’s Alliance of East Texas, Quid Nunc literary club, and Cork Club. She served on the PATH social services agency committee that hired its first two CEOs and on several Rose Festival committees.  

D’Anna was extremely instrumental in organizing and starting a hospice for the local community. She saw this as a great challenge and did not hesitate to do what was needed.The Hospice of East Texas has endured for more than 35 years. D’Anna served its first CEO for seven years and helped recruit her successor. She was honored by The Hospice of East Texas in February 2018 for her work with the organization. 

For so many in our local Alliance, D’Anna was an inspiration, an encourager, a patient listener, an advisor, and a dear friend. She will be remembered often by many for her sweet and gracious spirit and disposition. 

A link to D’Anna’s obituary in the Tyler Morning Telegraph can be found here.  

Top of page

First Tuesdays at the Capitol: A Personal Profile

By Patty Loose, Travis County Medical Society Alliance  

Here’s why I attend First Tuesdays at the Capitol, and why you should, too!

Although First Tuesdays has been in existence for quite some time (it began in 2003), it is still a bit of a mystery to some of our Alliance members. As Keeley Hunsaker explained in the last Monthly Memo, “First Tuesdays are the single most important thing the TMA and the TMA Alliance do to improve and protect medicine.”


But why should I go?  How can I possibly make a difference?

The difference you can make is simply by showing up. Your attendance, as a constituent, tells your legislators you care about and want to help protect the practice of medicine. And this is before you've even said a word.

How am I going to know what to say?

Now, that’s the best part!  As part of the TMA family, we are fortunate enough to have a highly skilled lobbying staff who will help educate us as the legislative session advances. Each First Tuesdays begins with a briefing of the bills filed and the issues to be concerned about.  

I’m still not sure …

If you can’t make it to the briefings or you’re still unsure if you should go, please talk to Jenny Shepherd or me. Let us help you become a part of the team. Whether you need someone to tag along with or you’re just not sure about the issues, we can help. I promise that after attending one First Tuesdays, you will begin to understand the difference that you, as an Alliance member, can make.   

Top of page

Register for First Tuesdays

The “White Coat Invasion” has been the key to TMA’s successes in the Texas Legislature. Our influence is so much greater when physicians and alliance members arrive en masse to visit their representatives. It’s time again to bring out Texas medicine’s strongest weapon — YOU. Mark your calendar for First Tuesdays at the Capitol on
Feb. 5, March 5, April 2, and May 7, 2019.

Top of page

Better Together

 By Jenny Shephard, Bexar County Medical Society Alliance

I represent the TMA Alliance as the vice president for political action and legislative affairs. I proudly serve concurrently as the Bexar County Medical Society Alliance president, where the theme of my year has echoed that of our society county president, Sheldon Gross, MD ... Better Together. 

It’s my belief that county medical societies paired with county alliances, TMA paired with the TMA Alliance, and all of us joining to support the mission of TEXPAC are no different from me pairing with my favorite physician and spouse, John Shepherd, MD. We bring different experiences, perspectives, and skill sets, and we are truly just better together. 

Alliance members across the state remain dedicated to the medical community, to serving the needs of Texas, and to being strong advocates for medicine at all levels. We are very proud of the work we do representing the Alliance and proud to work alongside members of TMA and TEXPAC. While each of our organizations has its own individual mission and ways of fulfilling it, our goals remain the same ... healthy communities and strong medicine. In this, we stand united. In this, we are truly the Family of Medicine. In this, each of us together makes a stronger and better medical community and a stronger and healthier Texas.  

Top of page

Register Now: TMA Advocacy Retreat

Nov. 30-Dec. 1, 2018 — Austin

Join TMA physician leaders and Alliance members from across the state to prepare for the 2019 Texas legislative session and discuss the future of Texas health care at TMA’s 2018 Advocacy Retreat.  Register now.

Top of page

Around the State

The Bell County Medical Alliance (BCMA) of Temple received a $2,500 grant from the TMA Foundation. The Alliance will use the funds to encourage early literacy and overall health and wellness among children through the Texas Bookshare literacy program. Program partners include the TMA Alliance, Give More HUGS, and Baylor Scott & White Health. “Reading to children can help their language development and love for reading,” said BCMA President Lisa Drever. “Children in low-income communities often do not have access to books at home, and today in the United States one in four children grow up without learning how to read.” 

BCMA participated in the 6th Annual American Cancer Society Bra Brunch Oct. 2 to raise money for breast cancer research. The Mardi Gras-themed event attracted hundreds of breast cancer survivors and supporters from Bell County and the surrounding area. 

 Alliance President Lisa Drever praised Amee Tuggle, BCMA president-elect and past president who organized, planned, and even made the BCMA-sponsored bra. “I cannot overstate what an amazing job Amee did and how proud we are of her,” Lisa said. Alliance member Caren Hamilton helped Amee make the bra in honor of BCMA members who have or who are currently battling breast cancer or other cancer-related illnesses. The BCMA bra raised $1,500 … and it was not purchased by a BCMA member.


TMAA Regional Meeting: A special thank you to Bell County Medical Alliance for hosting the TMAA Regional Conference Oct. 11-12. More than 40 Alliance members attended the full-day event, where leadership development, diversifying membership, fundraising, and advocacy where discussed at length.


 Matthew Riebel of San Antonio, representing Dads Married to Doctors, discussed how his group recruits and retains members, and how some of these ideas could help the Alliance recruit spouses. 



A big shout-out to the BCMA Board members who planned and donated funds for the conference welcome reception. And a special thanks to Pamela and Dr. Stephen Abernathy for hosting the reception.



Brownsville and Harlingen Alliance Visits: TMAA President Sunshine Moore and President-Elect Lisa Queralt have been covering the state visiting county alliances. In October, they made stops in Brownsville and Harlingen (Cameron-Willacy County Medical Alliance chapters), and Tyler (Smith County Medical Society Alliance). The Harlingen and Brownsville chapters hosted a membership luncheon for Sunshine and Lisa, where they overviewed the TMA Alliance and its many activities.



The Nueces County Medical Society Alliance attended a fundraiser for State Rep. Todd Hunter (R-Corpus Christi) on Oct. 10.



The Parker County Medical Alliance hosted its 7th Annual Health Fair on Oct. 13. The Alliance fitted children with free bicycle helmets through TMA’s Hard Hats for Little Heads and also made available free flu shots, blood pressure checks, hearing and vision screenings, massages, EKGs, and carotid Doppler tests.


The Smith County Medical Alliance (SCMA) held its 50th annual Book Fair Oct. 25-27. The event provides thousands of quality books at great prices for the community. Books available covered 31 topics including religion, gardening, mystery, Texana, cooking, business, art, and more. Since its inception in 1968, the event has raised nearly $800,000 for health care scholarships at Tyler Junior College and The University of Texas at Tyler. The Alliance has two $25,000 endowed presidential scholarships at both institutions. Seventy-five percent of the proceeds of the book sale are allocated to the scholarships, while 25 percent support the Alliance’s community projects. SCMA made more than $17,000 from October book sale proceeds.

SCMA held its 3rd Annual Zero Prostate Cancer Run and Walk on Oct. 26. Alliance member Cynthia McAndrew has organized the event since it started. At the event, SCMA also fitted 95 children with a new bicycle helmets through Hard Hats for Little Heads, and provided free flu shots in partnership with the local public health department. The free shots were made possible through a TMA Foundation grant SCMA received this fall. Free PSA screenings also were provided at registration and packet pickup. 

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



The Travis County Medical Society Alliance (TCMSA) hosted its annual Toast to Doctors on Sept. 30 to thank physicians in the community for their hard work. More than 60 physicians and alliance members attended the event. A special thank-you to TCMSA member Lindy Brand, who chaired the event. 


  Fort Bend Medical Society Alliance made a generous donation to Marathon Kids, a nonprofit organization that helps communities all over the United States create running clubs for kids. The gift of $4,665 will help Marathon Kids runners in Fort Bend County for the 2018-19 school year. “The Alliance was honored to contribute to a program benefiting kids in so many ways,” said Nomita Bajwa, Alliance president and a Marathon Kids Ambassador. “Research shows children improve their self-esteem, are more focused in school, and better manage stress with regular physical activity. We support their mission to help kids live healthier lives.” 


 Top of page

TMAF Accepting Grant Applications Now

The Texas Medical Association Foundation (TMAF) is accepting applications from Alliance chapters as well as county medical societies and medical student chapters for community health improvement programs. Alliance chapters and county medical societies may apply for up to $7,500 in matching funds from the TMAF Medical Community Grant Program. TMAF must receive your application by Dec. 14, 2018, to be considered in January 2019. Start your online application today. 

Help an Outstanding Science Teacher Stand Out
Each year, the Texas Medical Association recognizes the hard work and dedication of teachers throughout the state with the Ernest and Sarah Butler Awards for Excellence in Science Teaching.

If you know a science teacher who deserves recognition, nominate him or her for a 2019 award before the Nov. 24 deadline. Nominees will be invited to complete an online application.

Top of page   

 TMA Advocacy Update

Health Care Leaders Host First-Ever Joint Summit on Texas Medicaid
As the future of Texas Medicaid promises to be a central topic of discussion in the 2019 Texas Legislature, leaders from three pillars of the Texas health care system gathered in Austin on Oct. 12 for a first-ever summit to identify and commit to working on shared priorities for strengthening the program. Read more to learn about the 2019 legislative agenda on Medicaid.

Top of page

Important Reminders

Don’t forget to send in your TMAA membership dues. Dues invoices went out at the end of September. If the Texas Medical Association had your email address, you would have received your invoice by email. If not, your dues invoice arrived by mail. You can pay your membership dues invoice online or through the mail. When mailing in your dues, please send the bottom section of the invoice statement along with your check. If you have any questions, email Judy Julian, or call her at (800) 880-1300, ext. 1331, or (512) 370-1331. If you want to join the AMA Alliance or renew your membership, visit the AMA Alliance webpage.

 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, post it to TMAA’s Facebook page, or include it in the annual TexasAccent printed newsletter. Send your stories to Elizabeth Vanexan.

Update your profile. Please send your current contact information and email address to

Top of page


TMA Alliance Monthly Memo Back Issues

TMA Alliance main page