Archives / 2010
  • Lessons from the past guide the future

    Tags: texas family physician, gerdes, president's letter

    An excerpt from the inaugural address of TAFP’s new president

    By Melissa Gerdes, M.D.
    TAFP President, 2010-2011

    As your president for the next year, I will live and advance our vision and mission. I will be your faithful servant, listener, and even cheerleader. Fortunately, I have some experience in each of these roles. I am sure you have heard of the book “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.” I like to say much of what I really need to know to be a family physician, I learned before medical school.

    My very first job at McDonald’s prepared me well for service. I was born in Chicago where the famous Hamburger University is located. Consequently, I got to work with many young recently trained managers for the company. McDonald’s is actually all about brand recognition and service, concepts I very much respect and push forward in my job today.

  • Don’t let others define you

    Tags: texas family physician, perspective, health care reform

    By Guy L. Culpepper, M.D.

    During his recent NFL Hall of Fame induction speech, running back Emmitt Smith affirmed that refusing to let others define him was critical to his success. This simple, yet powerful advice has been a core value shared by champions throughout history. Success begins with a clear vision of one’s abilities and goals. Defining identity must not be swayed by the ever-present naysayers. This principle holds true across all spectrums of life; in faith, in business, and certainly in medicine.

    Nicholas Pisacano, M.D., the founding director of the American Board of Family Practice, faced a multitude of naysayers and roadblocks when he led the efforts to have family practice recognized as the 20th medical specialty in 1969. To achieve that recognition required meticulous documentation and high standards of definition as to the training and responsibilities of the family physician. In other words, family physicians defined themselves. And Dr. Pisacano understood the importance of defining ourselves.

  • Reflections on a year as president

    Tags: texas family physician, president's letter, kumar, reflection

    By Kaparaboyna Ashok Kumar, M.D., F.R.C.S.
    TAFP President, 2009-2010

    It has been truly a privilege and an honor to serve as your president. This year was fast-paced, exciting, and full of accomplishments. It was a great year and I have many wonderful people to thank for it.

    First, I would like to thank my wife, Elaine, and my children, Priya and Nikhil, for their love and affection, patience and understanding, and for their support without which I would not have been able to take up the responsibilities of this office.

  • My journey to family medicine

    Tags: texas family physician, perspective, waner, family medicine, resident

    By Laci Waner, M.D.

    When I was a child, there were two physicians in my small town and both were family physicians. Thus, I based my idea of a physician on these two men: a man who treats each member of an entire family, a community leader, wears boots, has a polished log with a saddle for kids to ride in the waiting room, and has a jar full of stickers and suckers for post-visit rewards. When I asked for a doctor’s kit one Christmas and set up my first clinic for my dolls and toys in my bedroom, it was this idea of a physician that I aspired to be—minus the man part.

    As I grew into an adult and started my journey in medicine, I initially strayed from my lifelong interest in primary care. I was drawn to the instant gratification of surgery and the false security in the idea of limited, specific knowledge in a specialty. After exploring my interest in research, I embarked on my time in medical school much the same as any other student. I did not bargain for the expanded education I received from life while completing my school’s pre-clinical courses. The saying “sometimes life happens whether you are a student or not and whether you have a test or not” became more than just words to me. In addition to many educational experiences in medical school, I married my husband, Chris; gained a son we named Kylen; buried my father, Dudley; and gave birth to our second child, Addyx. My third-year rotations, especially the one in family medicine, greatly influenced my decision to pursue my desired specialty. However, they cannot compare to the influence that life imposed.

  • Hearing voices

    Tags: texas family physician, perspective, aafp, leadership, van winkle

    By Lloyd Van Winkle, M.D.
    TAFP’s senior delegate to the AAFP Congress of Delegates

    This year’s AAFP annual session will mark the end of my service as chief delegate from Texas to the American Academy of Family Physicians Congress of Delegates. It is the office that affords one the special privilege of speaking from the floor and participating in debate concerning the broad spectrum of issues that come before AAFP’s legislative body.

    Speaking on the floor of the Congress of Delegates is a bit of a heady experience. You rise from your seat and walk to a microphone. Once there, you make sure your thoughts are in order, pause while cultivating butterflies, and wait to be recognized by the speaker of the Congress. Once recognized, you take a deep breath, muster some spit, and identify yourself. I start with the customary statement of my name and state: “Van Winkle from Texas.” You then address your fellow delegates in a manner you hope will be clear and understandable. You would also like your comments to be eloquent enough to persuade others. If you are like me, you secretly pray that at least you won’t sound like an idiot and embarrass your state.

  • The long road ahead

    Tags: texas family physician, president's letter, health care reform

    By Kaparaboyna Ashok Kumar, M.D., F.R.C.S.
    TAFP President, 2009-2010

    It’s been more than a month since President Barack Obama’s health reform package became the law of the land, and we’re still dealing with the political and policy fallout. The legislative process and the yearlong debate have been painful, and remind us why it’s often better not to see the making of the sausage. As physicians, we can disagree about the appropriate roles for the market and the government in the distribution and financing of health care, but we should also begin considering the law apart from the partisan battlefield and analyze what its actual ramifications might be for our patients and our practices.

    Throughout the legislative process, AAFP was engaged in the debate at the highest levels, working to fend off ideas that would have been detrimental to physicians and patients, and making the case that investing in primary care will result in better health outcomes and reduced cost. Lawmakers heard and understood that message.

  • Become an ambassador of family medicine

    Tags: texas family physician, president's letter, kumar

    By Kaparaboyna Ashok Kumar, M.D., F.R.C.S.
    TAFP President, 2009-2010

    Last fall as I watched Roland Goertz, M.D., carry out his successful campaign to become AAFP’s new president-elect aided by our physician leadership and supported by our members, I was struck by something he frequently told audiences. In the midst of the concern and confusion surrounding the health care reform debate taking place on Capitol Hill, Dr. Goertz would look out at the crowd with hope and congratulate everyone for having the chance to live in interesting times. What a great perspective.

    We have every reason to be optimistic about the future of family medicine. Demand for the comprehensive, attentive care we offer our patients remains strong and the recognition among policymakers of our value in the health care system has never been greater. At the state level, TAFP has become a trusted and respected resource for lawmakers as they craft legislation, and at the national level, senators and congressional representatives seek the wisdom of family physicians in their deliberations. These are indeed heady days for our organization and our specialty.

  • Sowing the seeds of a better health care system

    Tags: texas family physician, academy update, health care reform

    By Tom Banning
    TAFP Chief Executive Officer/Executive Vice President

    Now that Democrats have lost their 60-vote supermajority in the Senate after suffering defeat in the Massachusetts special election to fill the vacant seat left by the death of Ted Kennedy, the fate of federal health system reform hangs by a thread. Will Democrats scale back the legislation and look for compromise, or is it back to square one? Whatever happens, one thing is certain: the problems plaguing the American health care system aren’t going away on their own, and they’ll likely get worse before they get better.

    For a fresh take on the concept of health system reform as it’s been considered for the past year or so, read the most recent contribution by prominent physician and author Dr. Atul Gawande in the December issue of the New Yorker magazine. It draws historical parallels with early-20th-century federal efforts to reform America’s labor-intensive, fragmented, and unproductive agricultural economy.

  • The true meaning of family medicine

    Tags: texas family physician, perspective, family medicine, elliott

    By Tricia C. Elliott, M.D., F.A.A.F.P.
    Program Director, Baylor College of Medicine Kelsey-Seybold Clinic Family Medicine Residency Program

    I am a family physician. In fact, I absolutely love being a family physician!

    In my 10 years of practice, 10 years of academic medicine, years as an associate residency director and now program director, my background in inner-city, underserved medicine advocating for patients’ health and social justice, and my involvement with the Academy on the local, state and the national level, what is it really all about?

  • 2009 Year in Review

    Tags: texas family physician, 2009, year in review, advocacy, communications, education, tafp foundation, members, leadership

    By Kate McCann

    From the first day of 2009, TAFP has worked diligently to promote family medicine. Beginning in January, advocacy and communications staff hit the ground running for the legislative session, education kicked off a year of high-quality CME programs, and membership sought new partnerships and resources to serve you better. Read on for a synopsis of the year’s work.