October 2018



It is officially fall in Texas, even though the temperatures may still be in the 90s or above for most of the state. Fall makes me think of protecting little heads, ensuring people know the importance of flu shots, and voting. Now is the time many of our Alliances are handing out Hard Hats for Little Heads bike helmets and promoting flu vaccines. I hope your Alliance is participating in one of these great programs this fall.

The midterm election is right around the corner on Nov. 6. Please consider joining TEXPAC, and at the very least, make sure you are registered to vote, and then vote on Nov. 6. Your vote does make a difference. NOTE: The deadline to register to vote in this election is Oct. 9


On the Road

TMAA President-Elect Lisa Queralt of Fort Worth and I have started visiting county medical Alliances around the state. We have been to Lubbock, where we “hopped with docs” at a family-friendly venue, and then met for a round table discussion with local members. We also visited the Harris County Medical Society Alliance in Houston, where we met for coffee and camaraderie.   

We have many more visits lined up in the coming weeks and are looking forward to each and every one. It is extremely rewarding to have the opportunity to meet our members in their home counties. 


Board Funds Opioid Outreach

I just returned home from the Fall Governance Meeting held Sept. 27 at the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort, east of Austin. At this annual meeting, the TMA Alliance Board of Directors considers the coming year’s budget and proposed bylaws changes.

I also participated in TEXPAC meetings and several Texas Medical Association council and committee meetings, where physicians discussed priorities for 2019 state legislative session.

The 2019 budget our board approved provides funds for a pilot project for opioid outreach. If your county is already working on or planning an opioid outreach project, please let me or Martha Vijjeswarapu know so we can add it to our list of pilot projects on this issue.   


Nominations Are In
At its meeting on Sept. 28, the Nominating Committee put forth a slate of officers to serve in 2019-20 alongside Lisa Queralt during her term as president. Congratulations to our newly proposed officers, who will be elected and installed during the TMAA Business Meeting at AllMed 2019 in Dallas. Nominees are: 

  • President-elect: Martha Vijjeswarapu, Corpus Christi;
  • Vice president of membership: Jennifer Lewis, San Antonio (selected by last year’s committee as VP-elect of membership);
  • Vice president-elect of membership: Chris McGilvery, Temple;
  • Vice president of legislation and political action: Jenny Shepherd, San Antonio (to serve the second year of a two-year term);
  • Vice president of community health: Janice Stachowiak, MD, Lubbock;
  • Vice president of communication: Martha Howell, Temple;
  • Vice president of fiscal affairs: Lori Urso, Fort Worth (to serve the second year of a two-year term);
  • Vice president of future planning: Lori Routh, Dallas;
  • Recording secretary: Mary Ann Shelton, Fort Worth; and
  • Special advisor: Angie Donahue (appointed by Lisa). 

Other 2019-20 officers, to be appointed by Lisa Queralt, are parliamentarian, bylaws chair, APT chair, and five resource liaisons.

A great big thank you to these Nominating Committee members for their thoughtful, hard work and dedication to TMAA:

  • Karen Lairmore, chair, Temple; 
  • Patty Loose, Advisory Committee, Austin;
  • Debbie Pitts, Advisory Committee, Tyler;
  • Lori Urso, Fort Worth;
  • Kathy Trizna, Austin;
  • Jennifer Shepherd, San Antonio; and
  • Chris Davies, Houston. 

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! 

Stay healthy!

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First Tuesdays: A Profile

By Keely Hunsaker, Nueces County Medical Society Alliance


“What is First Tuesdays?” I still hear this question all the time.  

First Tuesdays at the Capitol is the single most important thing the Texas Medical Association and TMAA do to improve and protect medicine and the health of all Texans. This grassroots advocacy event takes place the first Tuesday of February, March, April, and May, when the Texas Legislature is in session — always in odd number years, like 2019.  


How It Works
In Nueces County, we work continuously to cultivate relationships with our legislators, and to keep them educated about medicine’s issues. Before each First Tuesdays event, our medical society executive director sets up appointments with our elected officials in Austin so we can spend the day visiting with them. 

TMA and the TMA Alliance handle all the logistics of the day, making it easy for us to focus on visiting with our legislators. All we have to do is show up early Tuesday morning at the TMA building in Austin for breakfast and a legislative briefing by the TMA lobbyists. They put together a great program to spoon feed us current information on important issues evolving at the Capitol or hot topics occurring at that time of the legislative session. 

TMA provides handouts on each hot topic that we can leave behind with our elected officials. After the breakfast briefing, we take a three-block walk from TMA to the Texas Capitol. It is an exciting experience to walk the history-filled, beautiful halls of the Texas Capitol. Our elected representatives welcome us when we enter their offices. They listen to our physicians and Alliance members as we advocate for Texas medicine and the health of Texas patients.

Another highlight is sitting in the gallery to watch the pomp and circumstance of the day as our Alliance members and physicians in white coats are recognized and asked to stand. I have taken my children with me to experience being a “page for the day” in the House of Representatives. They get to be on the House floor and actually participate in Texas history being made, walk the back halls, and learn their way around the Texas Capitol.  

If you have never been to a First Tuesdays advocacy day or the Texas Capitol, please join us, and don’t worry about knowing what to do or say. We will take you with our well-informed group. All you need to do is show up.

Why It Is important
We have to stay active and vigilant to continuously protect our tort reforms and all aspects of Texas medicine. It is always under attack from all sides. THE FIGHT FOR MEDICINE IS NEVER OVER!

A life experience begins at the end of your comfort zone. So come have the experience of a lifetime, and make some Texas history at First Tuesdays!

You will make a difference!

Side Bar:

Mark your calendar for 2019. Register for First Tuesdays at the Capitol on Feb. 5, March 5, April 2, and May 7

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Register NOW: 2018 Regional Conference

Come share your experiences and learn how to build stronger alliances at the TMA Alliance Regional Conference, Friday, Oct. 12, at the Hilton Garden Inn in Temple. 

Featured speaker Curtis Webster Jr., founder of Dads Married to Doctors, will discuss his organization and how he attracts new members. 

You’ll also hear an overview of the 2019 legislative agenda, learn how to increase your membership, find out new ideas for community health events, and more. 

Travel stipends are available. Contact your county alliance president today to apply. We look forward to seeing you in Temple. 

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Around the State

Bell County Medical Alliance held a well-attended Walk With a Doc Texas event in September in Temple, where 24 people joined physician leader William Bohannon, MD, and his wife, Alliance member Melissa Bohannon, for a healthy stroll. The Alliance donated funds to help pay for participant T-shirts and a Welcome Luncheon following the event. 

Bell County also is hosting the TMAA 2018 Regional Conference, Friday, Oct. 12, at the Hilton Garden Inn, Temple. A casual welcome reception will be held at the home of Pam Abernathy, Thursday, Oct. 11, 6-8 pm.


Lubbock County Medical Society and Alliance have been working to increase awareness of human trafficking of children. They have put up stickers in all the junior high and high schools in the Lubbock and Frenship independent school districts, and most recently, at Texas Tech to ensure people know about the National Human Trafficking Hotline.


At its first general Meet and Shop meeting, Nueces County Medical Society Alliance raised $1,020 for its Shop with a Cop annual donation drive through sales and donations from Kendra Scott, Tom Ford, Stella and Dot, and Norwex. 

Nueces County also participated in the Nueces County Medical Society’s 52nd Annual Health Fair on Aug. 11 by holding a Hard Hats for Little Heads event, giving 150 children brand new helmets. 

Nueces County also hosts Walk With a Doc Texas events in Corpus Christi with a wonderful attendance. Physician leader Albert Gest, DO, attracts repeat walkers to the events. 


Travis County Medical Alliance’s (TCMA’s) first general meeting, held at the Kendra Scott flagship store in Central Austin, was a huge success. The event featured a presentation about Kendra Scott, her philanthropic endeavors, and her latest jewelry fashions with sneak peek at the coming fall collection. 

Kendra Scott generously donated 20 percent of all sales during the meeting to the TCMA Foundation. The foundation has designated the funds for community service grants to be awarded at its April general meeting. 


Smith County Medical Alliance will host four Walk With a Doc Texas events in Tyler during October with physician leader Li-Yu Mitchell, MD. Look for highlights in next month’s newsletter.

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TMAF Accepting Grant Applications Now

The Texas Medical Association Foundation 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. Your application must be received by Dec. 14, 2018, to be considered in January 2019. Start your online application today. 

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TEXPAC Makes Final 2018 Candidate Endorsements

TEXPAC has announced its final endorsements for the 2018 general election. “TEXPAC selects the candidates who will support Texas physicians in our effort to provide excellent patient care,” said TEXPAC Board Chair Robert Rogers, MD, a Fort Worth allergist. Read more.

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Doctors Say Vaccinations Key to Preventing a Deadly Flu Season

Look out: Here comes flu season. Even though the flu is an annual occurrence, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) branded the 2017-18 flu season as one of the worst in recent years. Read more.

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Important Reminders

  • 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 breeann.stallsmith@texmed.org.

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