Let’s celebrate six decades of family medicine

Tags: siy, president's letter, tafp foundation, anniversary

By Linda Siy, M.D.
TAFP President, 2007-2008

Sixty years! 2008 marks the 60th anniversary of the Texas Academy of Family Physicians, and to mark the occasion, our TAFP Foun­dation is promoting a “$60 for Sixty” campaign. You can become a “60” donor this year and join us in celebrating our Academy’s anniversary.

The TAFP Foundation was started a few years later in 1960 under the moniker of Education and Research Institute of General Medicine, then becoming the Family Medicine Foundation in 1974. Eventually it was renamed the Texas Academy of Family Physicians Foundation in 1986. Its role has been to support research, students, residents and education of family physicians.

On page 31 of this issue of TFP, Dr. David Katerndahl gives us a look at the Foundation’s research activities and the growth of research in family medicine. I encourage you to read this article, which explains the importance of primary care and practice-based research to our specialty, and the much-needed support of the TAFP Foundation in helping to fund this research through its research grants program.

You are probably very familiar with the academic scholarships available through the Foundation, but perhaps don’t know the amount of funding the Foundation provides to research activity in Texas. The Foundation’s focus this year is on increasing support of research and seeking donations that are designated for research funding. Our specialty’s academic integrity in part relies upon the body of research produced and the research activity of our members. Unfortunately, primary care research has not been well supported by the usual sources of funding available to other branches of research. We are proud of the research we have supported in Texas through our Foundation and recognize the need to continue this support, expand our activities, train more researchers, develop better research infrastructure in Texas, and disseminate the results of our research projects. I hope you will join me this year in support of family medicine research and in honor of our Academy’s 60th anniversary by becoming a “$60 for Sixty” donor. Better yet, become a monthly donor to the Foundation and discover an easy way to give throughout the year!

This issue of TEXAS FAMILY PHYSICIAN also marks my last column to you as president of the TAFP, a role which I am honored to have had the chance to fulfill. As I started my term last summer, I told you that we were in a period of transition, as we said goodbye to our executive director of 25 years, Jim White, and began a new era with a newly restructured TAFP staff, with Tom Banning as CEO and Kathy McCarthy as COO.

All three of these individuals helped me do my job as president this year; a job that none of us can do alone. We do have the best staff any association can ever hope for! Our strategic planning meeting last fall proved that to us once again. I believe each of our staff members is committed to the success of our organization, to our specialty, and to you, our members. Thanks to the TAFP staff and to the Executive Committee for all the hours you volunteered to help lead our Academy this past year.

We continue to be challenged and rewarded by the acquisition of the National Procedures Institute, and I am optimistic that this will be a very successful venture for our Academy and benefit all of us as family physicians. I hope that you have signed up for an NPI course or will plan to do so soon!

As we gear up for the next legislative session in 2009, we are working with our colleagues at the Texas Medical Association and in the Primary Care Coalition to tackle the issues we know are challenging us, and to proactively craft legislation that will benefit us as family physicians practicing in Texas. Now more than ever, your TAFP Political Action Committee needs our support! This is a critical time for medicine in Texas. Please consider supporting the PAC this year, or increasing the support you already pledge. The PAC exists to help us as a specialty in the legislative arena. We are stronger if we stand together. I have tried to carry this message around the state this year and have been met with moderate success. The number of members donating to TAFPPAC has increased from 58 to 75.

Our presence at the national level continues to be strong. We have seven members serving on AAFP Commissions and Committees. Dr. Roland Goertz from Waco serves on the AAFP Board of Directors. Dr. Leah Raye Mabry from San Antonio will run for Speaker of the Congress of Delegates this year. We are also proud to have some of our student and resident members serving at the national level, and have a strong representation in the Special Constituency section.

The TAFP is in good hands as Dr. Robert Youens becomes president in July at our Annual Session in Houston.

Finally, I’d like to thank some people who helped make this year possible for me: my practice partner of 13 years, Dr. Daniel Lum, who tolerates my absences from the office without complaint, and my office nurse of 11 years, Linda Williams, L.V.N., who more than once cheerfully rescheduled patients and handled things for me when I had to be away. Volunteer leadership requires much support from those close to you. Thanks to my family for always being my support through all of my activities!

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