February 2021

Service to the community lies at the heart of the alliance.

President's Message

When we think of February, we think of hearts. Whether we are recognizing our love and commitment to others or promoting cardiovascular health for American Heart Month, February is a great month to focus on the heart and all that it represents. For our organization, the heart of TMA Alliance comprises three main things:

Fellowship: The TMA Alliance thrives on a strong sense of community. Our members understand the challenges facing the Family of Medicine through each stage of a physician’s career. From the struggles of medical school and residency to the stresses of a career as a full-time physician, alliance members provide mentorship, valuable networking, and most importantly, unwavering support. This is why fellowship is so important. During this pandemic, we might not be able to gather in person, but we still have great ways to support each other through Zoom, text messages, emails, and cards.

Advocacy: As advocates for medicine, alliance members work year-round to ensure legislators are aware of the issues surrounding physicians, patients, and medicine. Through programs like First Tuesdays at the Capitol and First Tuesdays in the Districts, alliance members establish relationships with our legislators and spark effective discussion on the issues. This offers an avenue to advocate for the Family of Medicine and gain support for our communities and patients. We represent the Party of Medicine.

Community health: The alliance has always worked to serve our communities and promote the health of all Texans. During times of crises, our members do not shy away but run to the front lines to help. When the pandemic first took hold, alliance chapters throughout Texas held personal protective equipment drives to collect gear for physicians, and even now our members are volunteering to help with distribution of COVID-19 vaccine.

During this Heart Month, I encourage you not only to show your loved ones you care but also to think of yourself and your heart as well. Be safe, stay mindful of your heart, and take those extra steps for cardiovascular health. Don’t forget – the TMAA Winter Fitness Challenge runs through March, and you can cheer on your friends during their journey to good health. Once the pandemic is over, I encourage you to look up your local Walk With a Doc and join the walkers once a month.

Let us not grow weary during this pandemic but continue joining our hearts together to support each other and our communities for the health of all Texans. We are the Family of Medicine!

Martha Vijjeswarapu
TMA Alliance 2020-21 President

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Calling All Mentors: Volunteer to be an Ally in Medicine

Would you like to share your wisdom and experience as a physician spouse with someone who would benefit from your support and advice? If so, you can be a mentor through our new Allies in Medicine (AIM) program. Through AIM, veteran alliance members can connect with the spouses of medical residents and early-career physicians for fellowship, networking, community connection, and insider knowledge on how to navigate the life of a medical family. If you are a current alliance member and would like to volunteer as an Ally (mentor), email Pam Udall. Ally guidelines and expectations are available on the website.

If you know a resident or early-career spouse who would be interested in being paired up with an Ally, please ask him or her to fill out this form or contact TMAA.

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Register for First Tuesdays

The 2021 Texas legislative session is like no other, but First Tuesdays at the Capitol is still going strong. With virtual meetings, lobbying your legislator has never been easier … or safer. Join TMA and the TMA Alliance on the first Tuesday of each month during the session for a virtual legislative update. TMA’s lobby team will outline issues important to medicine and actions you can take now to make a difference.

Registration is FREE. Sign up below for upcoming First Tuesdays events, and visit the TMA Legislative page for more information.

March 2April 6May 4

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February Enrichment Series: Public Speaking

While COVID-19 may prevent us from holding face-to-face meetings, the rise of virtual meeting platforms means there has been no shortage of public speaking events in the past year. If you want to improve your skills and host more effective Zoom calls, join us on Feb. 18 for Public Speaking: It’s an Art, with Pam Udall, TMAA director and TMA VP of communications and marketing. Pam will share tips on how to present clear, concise ideas and build captivating presentations that keep audience attention in a time when it’s easier than ever to turn off the camera and multitask.

Thursday, Feb. 18
Noon-1 pm


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Start Your Own Texas BookShare Program

Thanks to the generosity of the TMA Foundation, TMAA now has funds to help five county chapters start their own BookShare program.

Chapters that start a new program each will receive $2,000, enough to purchase 500 books. For counties that have an existing program in place, TMAA will match funds up to $500.

The BookShare program promotes healthy habits in children of all ages by supplying them with books on topics like the importance of physical activity, growing fruits and vegetables, and maintaining a healthy diet. County chapters partner with local pediatricians and family doctors to distribute the books to young patients, and each book includes a personal message from an alliance member written inside. To learn more about the program and request to open a program, visit our website.

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It's Never Too Late to Commit to Good Health

Was January a rough month? Were you one of thousands of Americans who made an ambitious resolution, only to break it two weeks into the year and lose motivation? We’ve all been there. Just remember: progress over perfection! It’s never too late to commit to good health, and TMAA is here to help with our Winter Fitness Challenge.

For this challenge, we have created peer groups to help you compete against others who match your activity levels. They are:
Athlete: Over 10,000 steps OR more than 60 activity minutes per day
Active: Between 5,001-10,000 steps OR between 30-60 activity minutes per day
Casual: Up to 5,000 steps or up to 30 minutes of activity per day

We are using MoveSpring again for this challenge, so click the button below to sign up now and get moving!

Step Challenge           Activity Challenge

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Dallas County Medical Society Alliance and Foundation

When it was founded in 1917, the Women’s Auxiliary to the Dallas County Medical Society was the first medical society alliance in Texas – and the United States. As with many early alliance chapters, it helped the Red Cross, but members were also very involved with the start of the American Medical Association Auxiliary. In the 1930s, the Dallas auxiliary founded its first scholarships for medical students, followed by the Edith Cavell Nursing Scholarship in the 1950s. Targeted toward bedside nursing, the Edith Cavell Nursing Scholarship has endured for more than 60 years. It awards funds to baccalaureate nursing students in Dallas County and provides them with professional mentoring. Today’s alliance board is considering creating a graduate nursing scholarship for nurse education, in response to the need for more teachers in nursing.

In 1974, the Aldredge family donated the historic Aldredge House – also vintage 1917 – to the Dallas County Medical Society. Recently designated a historic house museum, the Aldredge House serves as the alliance’s home. For many years, in addition to meetings and programs of the alliance and other nonprofits, this iconic mansion on Swiss Avenue has been used as a venue for events, photography, and film. It even appeared in the TV series Dallas.

In 2004, because of the ownership of the Aldredge House and several philanthropic funds, the organization’s name was changed from Dallas County Medical Society Alliance to Dallas County Medical Society Alliance Foundation, still a 501(c)(3). The following year a separate organization, Dallas County Medical Society Alliance, was formed as a 501(c)(6). Throughout the years, Dallas alliance members have served their community with health education programs such as Encouraging Children to Healthy Options (E.C.H.O.), health fairs, and TMA programs including Hard Hats for Little Heads, Walk With a Doc, and Be Wise – ImmunizeSM.

New this year in community outreach programming is a partnership with an elementary school, also with a historic background, known as the oldest school in Dallas Settlement. The alliance supports multiple activities with schools, participating in the Bayles Elementary Reading Partners program, sponsoring award-winning virtual field trips, and giving health care presentations on Career Day. Another new undertaking this year was the Holiday Photo at Aldredge House. This allowed families to have the house’s beautiful holiday decorations as the setting for their annual holiday family photograph. A committee has recommended the project be repeated next year with the addition of a Santa Claus.

Membership in the Dallas alliance had a makeover this year as the organization added or formalized several groups to join regular members, now known as Classic Members (originally spouses of physicians and then physician members). The alliance created Retired Physicians and Women in Medicine groups, as well as formalized the Young Alliance for families of younger or early-career physicians. The alliance also honors medical residents and medical students and their spouses as members. Membership is in the renewal phase, but the roster now sits around 465 members, an impressive number!

Stymied by the precautions of COVID-19 was a partnership with Dallas Independent School District high schools to provide immunizations for meningitis. However, the alliance has been a community resource on the COVID-19, frequently – even relentlessly – sharing information on social media and via virtual talks, and sharing TMA resources and activities. The alliance has worked with Dallas County Medical Society and others to promote and educate the public about the safety and availability of the COVID-19 vaccines. It also has a full schedule of virtual medical talks by distinguished speakers on non-COVID-19 topics, including culinary medicine, precision or molecular medicine, gene editing, and preventive medicine. CME credit is being pursued for these talks. Depending on the trajectory of the pandemic, events and other projects will be mounted to recognize medical professionals for their roles and sacrifices during this public health crisis.

These Dallas physician spouses and physician members deserve recognition for managing so much outstanding work in the community. They have crushed membership records and supported schools, all while running the two nonprofits, Dallas County Medical Society Alliance Foundation and Dallas County Medical Society Alliance. This historic organization has succeeded in so many areas while fulfilling its original mission of “patriotism, philanthropy, and fellowship,” with health care education and service as its community focus, and preservation of its beautiful headquarters as its obligation.

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Nearly $3,200 Raised for a Healthy Future!

Thanks to 61 generous donors, the 25th TMA Alliance Holiday Sharing Card campaign raised $3,190. Donations support the TMA Foundation and the TMA and TMAA programs it funds. These include TMAA’s new Texas BookShare program and TMA’s new campaign, Vaccines Defend What Matters, as well as alliance chapter community outreach initiatives.

See who donated, and if you missed this campaign, please consider making an annual gift to the TMA Foundation in 2021. Donations are tax-deductible.

The TMA Foundation thanks you!

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Texas Strong Mask-Wearing Campaign

Check out TMA’S new Texas Strong campaign.

The Texas Strong public service announcement (PSA) encourages Texans to come together to fight COVID-19 by wearing masks to protect one another. It features two Texans – Grammy award-winning musician Lyle Lovett and singer-songwriter Lisa Morales – who lend their voices to narrate the English and Spanish versions.

You can find the TV spots as as a social media toolkit, on the TMA website.

The TV spot highlights the strength of Texans coming together for the common goal to stop the spread of COVID-19 in their communities. “What makes us strong is us,” the spot says. By wearing a mask, Texans are protecting themselves, their loved ones, and our health care heroes.

The TV spots are running on 132 TV stations across the state as PSAs.

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Vaccines Defend What Matters Campaign

TMA launched its new integrated, multimedia public health education and advocacy effort to overcome vaccine hesitancy and increase vaccination rates in Texas, called Vaccines Defend What Matters (VDWM). The campaign is funded by a grant from the TMA Foundation and sends a strong message from today’s medical heroes that choosing to be vaccinated against infectious diseases safeguards health, jobs, schools, and the Texas economy. VDWM will replace TMA’s Be Wise – ImmunizeSM community education and outreach program, which ended Dec. 31. Alliance chapters can continue to apply for Local Impact Grants to offer shot clinics in their communities as part of VDWM.

The new public health initiative has three primary aims: To educate leaders and policymakers about the importance of vaccines, inform physicians about how to counter vaccine hesitancy in their patients, and to enlighten the public about the positive impact vaccination can have on their lives. Watch TMA publications for more details about how to get involved and check out the campaign TV spots and more.

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Last Days to Renew 2021 Membership

The 2021 TMAA Membership Campaign is entering the home stretch, and we need your help to see it through. Thanks to the hard work of our county presidents and membership chairs, renewals are coming in steadily. If members in your county have not yet paid 2021 dues, let them know they have until March 31 to renew their membership.

>Recruiting new members into the TMA Alliance is also vital to the health of the organization. Ask your friends and colleagues to join – you can even gift their first year of membership so they can see firsthand all the alliance has to offer.

The remaining renewal statements will go out in February and March. Look for an email with a personalized link to log in and pay your dues. All you need to do is click the link, enter credit card information, and submit. [Note: Please do not forward this email to your colleagues, as the email is personalized to your account only.] In March, we will send final statements to those members for whom we don’t have an email address.

Feb. 10: Email reminder

Mar. 9: Final invoice + email reminder

Mar. 31: Delinquent date

There are three ways to pay dues:

1. Go online to 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.

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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.

Feb. 18, Noon-1 pm
Online Enrichment Series
Public Speaking: It’s an Art
With Pam Udall, TMAA director and TMA VP of communications and marketing

March 18, Noon-1 pm
Online Enrichment Series
How to Improve Health Through Physical Fitness
With Tom Warren, MD, of Warren Wellness

Have an event in your county that you would like advertised? Send details to sasha.khalifeh@texmed.org!