2010: A year of innovation

Tags: members, leadership, news, texas family physician, 2010, year in review, advocacy, communications, education, tafp foundation

By Melissa Ayala

Launching into a new decade, TAFP experienced a year full of advancements in every category, from technology to politics. 2010 was marked with hard-hitting and award-winning advocacy and communications work, high-quality CME programs, and an ever-expanding network of member resources.

Advocacy

In April, a group of TAFP leaders gathered in Austin for the 2010 TAFP Leadership and Legislative Conference. Through lectures and interactive demonstrations, attendees enhanced their leadership and legislative skills by receiving training on lobbying and dealing with the media. The training included information on important policy issues, how to build a strong relationship with lawmakers, and how to handle news interviews.

In recognition of the Academy’s work to pass the physician education loan repayment bill during the 81st Texas Legislature in 2009, AAFP awarded TAFP the 2010 AAFP Leadership in State Government Advocacy award at the State Legislative Conference in New Orleans, La. TAFP received the award in 2007 for the Academy’s efforts during the 80th Legislative Session to deliver a comprehensive news package to family physicians that included the Capitol Report webcast and Capitol Update e-newsletter.

The TAFP Political Action Committee engaged in the November election cycle, building relationships with lawmakers in preparation for the 82nd Texas Legislature. The top issues for family medicine will include maintaining budget allocations that build the primary care workforce and holding the line on nurse practitioners’ scope of practice.

To further prepare members for the session, TAFP released multiple advocacy resources for physicians to use to educate their representatives and patients on the issues most important to family medicine. Use these issue briefs, found at www.tafp.org/advocacy/resources, when meeting with representatives or just to stay engaged in the legislative process in the upcoming session.

Communications

Through its quarterly magazine Texas Family Physician, the Academy explored relevant issues facing family medicine in 2010. The last year of issues featured cover stories on scope of practice, a step-by-step guide to grassroots advocacy for the 82nd Legislature, the multi-billion dollar budget shortfall, and the closing of the Baylor College of Medicine Kelsey-Seybold Family Medicine Residency Program. Other magazine content delved into news on state and federal legislative and regulatory topics affecting the practice of family medicine, news on what TAFP is doing on behalf of the family physicians of Texas, member news about notable accomplishments and activities of our members, service articles providing practice management tips, human interest stories about Texas family doctors, and opinion pieces from our officers and members.

TAFP continues to upgrade its website, www.tafp.org, to host member resources and tools relevant to family physicians’ practices. QuickInfo, TAFP’s e-newsletter, acted as a springboard to publicize these virtual tools and the latest news. TAFP Communications has many more exciting projects in the works, all part of the effort to continually expand the Web and media presence for family medicine.

Education

This past year brought about many changes to TAFP’s CME program including the sunset of Doctors in Motion and PrimeCME, the addition of a Primary Care Summit conference in Dallas and more Self-Assessment Module Group Study Workshops.

TAFP presented four annual symposia in 2010 including the C. Frank Webber Lectureship and Interim Session in Austin, TAFP’s 61st Annual Session and Scientific Assembly in San Antonio, and Primary Care Summit in both Houston and Dallas. These programs reached almost 1,400 family physicians and other health professionals. C. Frank Webber and Primary Care Summit – Houston had record-breaking attendance and Annual Session had the best attendance since 2005. In its inaugural year, Primary Care Summit – Dallas/Fort Worth boasted over 300 attendees, well over initial expectations. Symposia attendees had the opportunity to earn more than 86 CME credits at these conferences on more than 76 topics. Continuing a commitment to excellence, attendees ranked the education offerings an average of 4.48 on a five-point scale.

In addition, TAFP offered five SAM Group Study Workshops this year to help ABFM diplomates meet certification and recertification requirements. These workshops were held during the C. Frank Webber Lectureship, Annual Session, Primary Care Summit - Houston, Primary Care Summit - Dallas/Fort Worth, and the first of the series roadshow in Lubbock. TAFP will offer six more SAM workshops in 2011 to meet the growing needs of our members.

The National Procedures Institute also had a successful year, providing procedural training to primary care physicians across the country. A joint investment of AAFP, TAFP, and the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine, NPI provides members valuable practice enhancement techniques while also providing the Academy non-dues revenue. In 2010, NPI delivered 96 procedural workshops to more than 1,000 medical professionals around the country, including a series of courses in San Antonio in November. View the 2011 event schedule and register for upcoming CME conferences on the NPI website, www.NPInstitute.com.

Along with planning successful educational programs this past year, TAFP completed the year-long reaccreditation process in July. TAFP is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide CME. With reaccreditation completed, TAFP will be able to offer CME for another four years. The Academy looks forward to working with members on the TAFP Commission on Annual Session and CME to continue to provide quality education for years to come.

Members and Leaders

TAFP’s new officers were inducted at this year’s Annual Session. The inductees were: President Melissa Gerdes, M.D.; President-elect I. L. Balkcom, IV, M.D.; Vice President Clare Hawkins, M.D.; Treasurer Troy Fiesinger, M.D.; and Parliamentarian Dale Ragle, M.D.

Also during Annual Session, the Academy recognized some of its revered members. Lloyd Van Winkle, M.D., of Castroville, received the Family Physician of the Year Award; Bruce Jacobson, M.D., of North Richland Hills, was recognized as the 2010 Physician Emeritus; Carlos Roberto Jaén, M.D., of San Antonio, received the Presidential Award of Merit; Jim and Karen White, of Austin, received the TAFP Foundation Philanthropist of the Year Award; James Mobley, M.D., of Portland, won the Public Health Award; Stephen Benold, M.D., of Georgetown, was awarded the TAFPPAC Award; Ulysses Urquidi, M.D., of Dallas, was awarded the Exemplary Teaching Award; State Rep. Veronica Gonzales, of McAllen, received the Patient Advocacy Award; and Amer Shakil, M.D., of Dallas, received the Special Constituency Leadership Award.

Texas was well represented at AAFP’s 2010 conferences. During AAFP’s 2010 Scientific Assembly in Denver, Colo., Roland Goertz, M.D., M.B.A., was inducted as AAFP president-elect, and Leah Raye Mabry, M.D., of San Antonio was elected to a third term as Speaker of the AAFP Congress of Delegates. Representing Texas during the Congress were Delegates Van Winkle and Justin Bartos, M.D., of North Richland Hills, and Alternate Delegates Linda Siy, M.D., of Fort Worth, and Erica Swegler, M.D., of Keller.

As of November 2010, membership in TAFP had increased to 6,443 total members. TAFP student and resident enrollment rose to 1,821. At TAFP’s 21st Annual Student and Resident Conference in March, TAFP leaders spoke on the business of medicine. The conference included the 6th TAFP Residency and Procedures Fair with residency programs demonstrating various procedures to students such as suturing, joint injections, ultrasounds, colposcopy, and others.

TAFP Foundation

The TAFP Foundation could not function without the generosity of its members. The Foundation currently has 64 monthly donors whose contributions go toward research, scholarships, and travel funding for medical students and residents.

This year, the TAFP Foundation Scholarship Program awarded its first James C. Martin, M.D. Scholarship; launched the David Katerndahl, M.D. Research Fund, created to honor the longtime Research Committee chair; and continued raising money for the Cassie Murphy-Cullen, Ph.D. Scholarship. Since the TAFP scholarship program was created in 1994, it has awarded more than $165,000 to future family physicians.

The Foundation continued the new Family Medicine Research Endowment Program this year. The program pools contributions into a large research fund that allows the research committee to award larger and more meaningful grants, one of which is the Katerndahl fund. Whether donors create a research fund in their name or honor a colleague, the funds will collectively support the research efforts of the Foundation. Each fund honoree will be identified as a Family Medicine Research Champion at four different levels on the website and in TAFP’s magazine.

Read more about the Research Endowment Program and find more Foundation news on the Foundation website, www.tafp.org/foundation.

Back at the Office

In August, a group of TAFP leaders and members representing a wide demographic range of Texas family physicians met in Austin to set priorities for the upcoming year. The group reviewed results of the 2010 member survey; integrated the findings; and set broad goals in the areas of advocacy, practice viability, membership, and education. The full 2010-2011 Strategic Plan can be found on www.tafp.org. Academy staff is working hard with project leaders on these new initiatives. Look for them as they roll out in 2011.

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