November 2020

President's Message

November is the month we celebrate Thanksgiving. I have found that when life gets difficult, if I take the time and remind myself of all I am grateful for, I feel much better. I am very thankful for my family, who mean the world to me. And to my TMA Alliance family: I am so grateful for your heart to serve all those around you. You help me navigate through this medical journey with support from so many of you. Each one of you make up a unique quality in this organization. I appreciate all the ways in which you step up to help.

I want to thank the TMAA board members who have worked so hard behind the scenes these past months:

President-Elect Jennifer Lewis: Even though this is not what we imagined our traveling the state would look like, thank you for always being there with full support.

Vice President of Future Planning Sue Schackmuth: You kept us on track during the organizational review and strategy meeting and enabled us to roll out the new Allies in Medicine program, as well as update our bylaws. Thank you, Sue and Big Country County Medical Society Alliance, for making the Mini Regional Conference so fun by reminding us Abilene is a great place to visit.

Bylaws Chair Elizabeth Vanexan: Thank you for your expertise in guiding us through all the bylaw suggestions and changes and for keeping the record straight.

VP of Membership Chris McGilvery and VP-Elect of Membership Lori Routh: Allies in Medicine shows your passion for the alliance and desire to include everyone.

VP of Communications Lisa Drever: You work so tirelessly collecting Membership Monday posts and interviewing counties for our spotlight. Thank you for giving us a chance to see people around the state and all they are doing.

VP of Community Health Debbie Massingill: Thank you for your work on the grant proposal for the Texas BookShare program. Your hard work will ensure we can bring this amazing program to cities all around Texas.

VP of Legislative Affairs Jenny Shepherd: Your passion to make a difference through advocacy is clear in all you do.

VP of Fiscal Affairs Martha Howell and Finance Chair Lori Urso: Your diligence keeps us fiscally responsible and secure.

Parliamentarian Angie Donahue: A great big thank-you for keeping me on track and out of trouble!

APT Chair Mark Baerd: The resources and insight you bring to our resident outreach are invaluable.

Special Advisor Patty Loose: Your unwavering support and great words of wisdom have helped me through so much in these past few months.

Presidential advisors Lisa Queralt, Sunshine Moore, and Karen Lairmore: Thank you for your support and guidance through this year.

Pam Udall and Sasha Khalifeh: “Thank you” is not even enough. You are an amazing staff with whom we have been so blessed. Your skills and talents are beyond amazing. Thank you for your willingness to explore my crazy ideas!

Let’s count our blessings this month and all year long.

From my family to yours, have a blessed Thanksgiving.

Martha Vijjeswarapu
TMA Alliance 2020-21 President

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Tune in: Strengthening Medicine in the 87th Texas Legislature

The 87th legislative session will get underway in January 2021, and the Texas Medical Association is ready. Join Dan Finch to learn about TMA’s top-tier issues. More importantly, learn how you can help advocate on these issues from your phone, computer, or tablet. Participants can earn 1 CME credit for their time. View the flyer for details.

Thursday, Nov. 19
Noon-1 pm


This is the last TMAA Enrichment Series webinar of 2020. If you missed any of the previous webinars in the series, you can still access the recordings.

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2021 Membership Campaign Making Progress

Thanks for renewing your dues. It really makes a difference, as we work to wrap up the membership renewal campaign by the end of January. Be sure to ask your friends and colleagues to join the TMA Alliance too. During these trying times, we all need support and fellowship. The Family of Medicine is here for YOU.

If you haven’t renewed yet, look for an email in this month with your personalized auto-login information. All you need to do is click the link in the email, and it will take you directly to your TMAA account to renew your dues. [Note: Please do not forward this email to your colleagues, as the email is personalized to your account only.]

The full renewal notice schedule is below:
Nov. 11: Renewal email reminder
Dec. 9: Renewal email reminder
Jan. 13: Second mailed invoice + email reminder
Feb. 10: Email reminder
Mar. 9: Final invoice + email reminder
Mar. 31: Delinquent date

Ask your friends and colleagues to join the alliance. There are three ways to renew your dues or join:
1. Go online to (click on the blue “Renew” button in the upper-right corner if you’re a current member).
2. Call TMA Knowledge Center at (800) 880-7955 with credit card information.
3. Mail an application form or paper statement with a check to TMA Alliance, 401 W. 15th St., Austin, TX 78701.

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Why I Joined the Party of Medicine

Christel Chase, Tarrant County

I have been a Tarrant County Medical Society Alliance (TCMSA) member since 2007. I dipped my toe in slowly to become more active as a volunteering member. The more involved I became, the more I realized how much our local and state medical society and alliance do to improve health care. It became easier to pay my membership dues once I met the board and the people actively involved.

I was reluctant to join TEXPAC until I saw what it does to support the health care community. When I was the vice president of legislation for my local county alliance, I decided to lead by example, and I paid my TEXPAC dues. I started receiving the TEXPAC and TMA legislative briefing information. You know the old saying, “knowledge is power”; well, that was certainly true for me! The advocacy experience I gained was priceless. It helped me advocate for myself with an issue I had with my insurance company, and I knew TMA and TMAA supported me.

I also got to see firsthand how hard TEXPAC works for the medical community when I went to First Tuesdays at the Capitol. I was proud to be a paying member! The TEXPAC leaders gave us the knowledge and the tools to speak on behalf of medicine in Texas; they made it fun and easy. The most valuable thing that I’ve gained from my TCMS Alliance membership is learning more about advocating for medicine.

Learn more about the Party of Medicine.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can podiatrists and other health care professionals join the alliance?
Active members of the alliance may be (1) a spouse, significant other, or partner of a physician or medical student who is TMA-eligible; (2) a physician or medical student who is TMA-eligible; (3) a TMA Alliance member who is in good standing at the time of divorce; or (4) a widow or widower of a TMA-eligible physician. TMA-eligible individuals are those who hold an MD or DO degree, and medical students pursuing such degrees.

Q: If I signed up for auto-renewal, does that include TEXPAC and other optional dues items?
You will be charged for whatever dues items you paid when you signed up for auto-renewal. If you paid TEXPAC dues or another item, those will be charged along with your dues renewal.

Q: Why have physician members not received a TMAA invoice?
Physicians are only billed for the alliance after TMA invoices have been sent. If you or your spouse is a physician, your TMAA invoice will come in January.

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With a donation of $25 or more to TMAA’s Holiday Sharing Card campaign, you can help support the TMA Foundation and the TMA and TMAA programs it funds. This annual fundraiser helps pay for programs like TMA’s Be Wise – ImmunizeSM and Hard Hats for Little Heads – plus a NEW TMAA program set to launch next year, Texas Bookshare. Our goal is to raise $5,000 by the end of this year. Please make a tax-deductible donation online today, or make a gift over the phone by calling Marilyn Anderson, TMAF data manager, at (800) 880-1300, ext. 1466.

If you are not familiar with the TMA Foundation and the programs it funds or would like to learn more, please visit

Thank you in advance for your support this holiday season!

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County Alliance Spotlight: Lubbock County Medical Society Alliance

Riding high in the Texas panhandle are a pair of amazing physicians who run the Lubbock County Medical Society Alliance (LCMSA). Drs. Janice Stachowiak and Eman Attaya are serving as co-presidents of the 2020 LCMS Board of Directors. Despite 2020 being such an unusual year for all alliance chapters and members, Eman and Janice are leading with experience and creativity.

Community Health Initiatives

LCMSA has historically and consistently implemented many TMAA programs such as Be Wise – Immunize, Hard Hats for Little Heads, and Walk With a Doc. Beyond Be Wise, LCMSA worked with The Immunization Partnership to start the South Plains Immunization Network (SPIN) and has volunteered at the SPIN vaccination events for the past four years. Alliance members have multi-tasked at many community health fairs using the opportunity to educate the public about relevant health topics, Turn it Off Today, and helmet safety, and have handed out “Hard Hats” and drug disposal kits.

Turn It Off Today

Turn it Off Today (TOT) is a joint program of the Lubbock County Medical Society and the alliance to help families unplug from all forms of electronic devices. LCMSA held a TOT event at Barnes & Noble, where members gave away toys, read aloud to children, and played with puzzles and games with them.

Sex Trafficking Awareness

Because Lubbock was ranked in the top five worst cities in Texas for sex trafficking, that is another important health topic for LCMSA. Members of the alliance and the medical society worked to help the Lubbock community rally against sex trafficking. They brought together community leaders to bring awareness to teachers, parents, and health and legal professionals about this issue. A committee helped write protocols for emergency clinics and hospitals to follow when a suspected trafficking victim is being treated.

The organizations also helped create two awareness campaigns about sex trafficking. One was the “sticker campaign,” where they put up stickers with the national hotline number in local gas stations, bars, nail spas, and school and hair salon bathrooms. The other was the “tear-apart fake nail business cards campaign” with the national hotline number and questions to see if a person or a friend is being controlled. They worked with the Human Rescue Coalition to get those cards distributed at night clubs. The committee helped create and work with school groups aimed at continuing educational outreach. The organizations are continually working to expand their impact in this area by doing community presentations and working with their legislators on state bills to help those who have been affected by trafficking.

Pandemic Activities

In response to this crazy COVID year, Lubbock County Medical Society and Alliance worked together to have a personal protective equipment drive (PPE). Local medical students helped them collect and distribute PPE.

The alliance also quickly switched to virtual membership events including a virtual crafting with kids night, and more recently, family night story reading about hearing-impaired children (the story was written by a physician’s child), as well as a virtual happy hour for adults. Even COVID didn’t stop this group from safely helping with flu vaccination events with SPIN in late September and late October.


Not only does the Lubbock alliance support those with no voice, but also it has been very active in fostering relationships between the medical community and our elected officials. the alliance has historically participated in First Tuesdays at the Capital and First Tuesdays in the District.  Members have opened their homes to state representatives so they can get to know their medical constituents and so physicians can get to know their elected officials and their stance on medicine. Other members have hosted a Party of Medicine event to help educate physicians and alliance members about TEXPAC.


TMAA is very grateful to Lubbock for its current and past support in implementing health initiatives and also for Lubbock county members’ state alliance service. Libby White and Janice Stachowiak are current and past state board members as is Nancy Neal, a past TMAA president.

This county alliance isn’t strong just because it is full of compassionate members who are willing to share their time. Lubbock has really excelled at creative membership activities allowing for increased professional member participation, along with a mutually supportive relationship with the Lubbock County Medical Society. LCMS and the alliance co-host many family-oriented events such as ice cream socials, trampoline park events, and a virtual “show and tell” event. They also hold joint board installation and membership drives. The LSCSA says this relationship is successful in part because it tries to bring an added value to the medical society through volunteer efforts and medical society committee work. In support of professional members, Lubbock hosts many networking socials so those who work during the day can have a nice evening outing with their spouse.

Lubbock physicians and spouses truly have big hearts when it comes to making their community a better place to work and live. They have learned to work towards a common goal and to keep the health of all Texas at the center of their efforts.

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Give a Gift and Give Back

Giving a gift that gives back embodies the spirit of the season. Kendra Scott’s Shop for Good makes it easy. Twenty percent of all Kendra Scott online, phone and in-store (Clearfork Fort Worth only) purchases you make Nov. 12-13 will be donated to TMA Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Texas Medical Association.

Here’s how it works: Go to Kendra Scott’s website at and use this unique promotional code: GIVEBACK-075A, from midnight on Thursday, Nov. 12 through Friday, Nov. 13 at 11:59 pm. Additional details to order by phone or purchase at the Kendra Scott store at The Shops at Clearfork in Fort Worth only can be found at Thank you for supporting TMAF, and Happy Holidays!

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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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.

Nov. 19
TMAA Enrichment Series: 87th TMA Legislative Session – What You Need to Know. Presented by Dan Finch, VP of Advocacy, Texas Medical Association 

Dec. 5
Advocacy Seminar (Virtual) - Learn more.

Jan. 1
TMAA Fitness Challenge – with new tiered activity levels and awards categories! More info will be shared in the December Monthly Memo.