October 2020

President's Message

Meet my two grand dogs. Nike is 9 months old and was born Christmas Day, 2019. She is a Grand Pyrenees/Great Dane mix. Bentley is 4 months old and was born May 28. She is a micro goldendoodle. Nike and Bentley met each other for the first time this weekend. Nike thinks she is a lap dog and doesn’t realize her size. Confused by the toy dog running circles around her, Nike joined in the chase, only to have this moving toy stop suddenly and lay belly-up on the ground, playing dead with paws reaching for the sky.

I must admit there have been moments in my life that overwhelmed me. During those times, I felt I had two choices: to lie down and feel overwhelmed, or to face the situation head on. One of those times was when Daniel, my husband, started his residency. We had a newborn, and I was working full time. Daniel was gone all the time, and I was left to juggle my job, our new baby, and everything else that came along. Another time was at the completion of his fellowship, when he started his career only to discover it was not what he thought he had signed on for. However, we kept going, and his work situation improved, despite the difficulties. I am very proud of Daniel for hanging in there.

Further down the road, we started a private practice in Corpus Christi, where I was suddenly running a medical office. Every day, I had to fight insurance companies to allow us to take care of our patients – from treatment to medication – and for payment. It was a struggle, but we did it for 17 years. Even now during the pandemic, there are days I find myself wanting to just lie down and say, “enough!” These are the times we need each other most.

The alliance has helped me through all stages of our medical career. I am grateful for the friendship of those who understand the challenges of a medical family. Our journey is unique from many other professionals, and it’s comforting to have connections with others who share the same path. The alliance has helped me become more comfortable in my many roles.

With the 2021 membership campaign underway, now is the perfect time to share your “alliance story” with your colleagues and invite them to join. If you have not already, take this time to renew your dues. Here are few benefits of your TMA Alliance membership:

  • Access to our monthly enrichment series, featuring speakers on topics ranging from dealing with the uncertainty of COVID to practicing conflict management;
  • Our newsletter, Monthly Memo, which shares updates and highlights accomplishments across the state;
  • Free leadership development and training at the virtual regional conference;
  • Access to TMA and TMAA community outreach programs such as Walk With a Doc and the Texas BookShare program;
  • Grassroots advocacy opportunities, such as First Tuesdays in the Districts, to grow and strengthen your relationships with local legislators; and
  • More funds from the TMA Foundation for community outreach and medical student scholarships.

The TMA Alliance is here for you at all stages of your medical life – from post-medical school training, to early career, to retirement. This is a life journey with many ups and downs, and the alliance is here for you.

Let’s make sure everyone knows what TMAA does for the Family of Medicine.

Martha Vijjeswarapu
TMA Alliance 2020-21 President

Top of page

Save the Date: TMAA Enrichment Series

Dr. Smith is a Tyler pediatrician who brings much expertise to this overview of the pandemic. She is member of TMA’s COVID-19 Taskforce, chair of TMA’s COVID return-to-school workgroup, and chair of TMA’s Subcommittee on Behavioral Health. She will discuss the state of the COVID-19 pandemic across Texas and what to expect with school reopening, new testing options, vaccines on the horizon, and much more. Learn about the progress made toward preventing COVID-19, and how families can work together to further decrease the spread.

COVID-19: What Do We Know and Where Are We Going?
Presented by Valerie Smith, MD
Thursday, Oct. 15
Noon-1 pm


TMAA enrichment webinars are open to all members.

Top of page

2021 Membership Campaign Underway

It’s time to renew your TMA Alliance membership for 2021. Look for an email in your inbox this month with your personalized auto-login information. All you need to do is click the link in the email; 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.)

This week, we will mail a statement to members who do not have an email address and to members who have not renewed their membership. The full renewal notice schedule is as follows:

Week of Oct. 12: First mailed invoice + email reminder
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

Remember – there are three ways to renew your dues or join:

1. Online at www.texmedalliance.org (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.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why did I not receive a renewal email last month?
A: There are a couple of reasons you may not have received the email. First, if we do not have your email address on file, we would not have been able to send it to you. Second, you may have signed up for auto-renewal last year. If that is the case, you will have received a different email reminding you the renewal charge would go through in early October.

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

Top of page

Meet the TMA Alliance 2021-22 Board of Directors

As chair of the TMAA’s Nominating Committee, it is my distinct honor to present to you the new slated officers for TMA Alliance 2021-22 board service. Please welcome this awesome leadership team!

President-elect: Libby White of Lubbock
VP of membership: Lori Routh of Dallas
VP-elect of membership: Joi Smith of Tyler
VP of communications: Mark Baerd of Houston
VP of community health & well-being: Jenny Shepherd of San Antonio
VP of future planning: Amanda Cutbirth of Corpus Christi
VP of legislative affairs: Christel Chase of Fort Worth
Recording secretary: Lisa Drever of Longview

These officers will be installed on May 14, 2021, at the Annual Business Meeting. Mark your calendar now!

With pride,
Lisa Queralt, Past President
Texas Medical Association Alliance

Top of page

Submit Your Recipes for TMAA's Cookbook!

To help in your pursuit of a healthier lifestyle, we are producing a cookbook filled with recipes submitted by our very own alliance members. Please email your healthy(ish) recipes to Sasha. We’d love to see pictures of your dishes as well, so get those cameras ready and send your delicious recipes by Friday, Nov. 13!

Top of page

Last month at our fall conference board meeting, we launched the 25th TMAA Holiday Sharing Card. If you’ve been part of this celebration of caring, thank you, but if you’re new to it, we hope you’ll join in!

TMAA’s Holiday Sharing Card Campaign is an annual fundraising appeal to support the TMA Foundation (TMAF) and the TMA and TMAA programs it funds, such as Be Wise –ImmunizeSM and Hard Hats for Little Heads – plus a NEW TMAA program, Texas Bookshare, set to launch next year  Our goal is to raise $5,000 by the end of this year. I hope you’ll join the TMAA leadership with a tax-deductible donation.

While 2020 has been anything but typical, one thing is certain: The work and caring our members bring to dozens of communities is needed now more than ever. Alliance members help protect Texans from vaccine-preventable diseases and potentially fatal head injuries, provide scholarships, and much more. The Holiday Sharing Card provides an opportunity for county alliances and members across the state to ensure these initiatives and many others are brought to life in 2021.

You can make a secure online gift, or call Marilyn Anderson, TMAF data manager, at (800) 880-1300, ext. 1466, to make a gift over the phone.

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

Thank you in advance for your support this holiday season!

Top of page

Get Out the Vote

Election Day – Tuesday, Nov. 3 – is less than a month away. Encourage your patients and your colleagues to vote this year using tools and resources available through VoteHealth 2020. The nonpartisan group encourages physicians and other health care professionals to vote in the 2020 elections. Resources on the group’s website include social media graphics to share; downloadable posters, stickers, and graphics; and sample letters and templates you can send to colleagues and patients. Note that the deadline to register to vote on Nov. 3 has passed.

Top of page

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.

Top of page

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.

Oct. 15
TMAA Enrichment Series: COVID-19: What Do We Know and Where Are We Going? Presented by Valerie Smith, MD

Nov. 20
TMAA Enrichment Series: 87th TMA Legislative Session – What You Need to Know. Presented by Dan Finch, VP of Legislative Affairs, Texas Medical Association 

Dec. 5
Advocacy Seminar (Virtual)