Family physicians gather in Fort Worth

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Family physicians gather in Fort Worth

Report from TAFP’s 64th Annual Session & Scientific Assembly

posted 08.15.13

More than 400 family physicians and other health professionals met in Fort Worth in early August to network, learn, and celebrate the specialty of family medicine at TAFP’s 64th Annual Session and Scientific Assembly. Attendees earned CME, shaped TAFP policy at committee and commission meetings, and networked with medical industry leaders in the exhibit hall, all while visiting with old friends and making new ones from across the state. See more of our favorite photos from the weekend’s events on the TAFP Facebook page.

As always, attendees had opportunities all weekend to learn about a variety of topics during the scientific portion of the conference. This year’s general assembly lectures took place Friday, Aug. 2, through Sunday, Aug. 4, and were given by a range of distinguished faculty. Participants also had the opportunity to attend three Self-Assessment Module workshops Wednesday and Thursday on diabetes, well child care, and pain management. The National Procedures Institute offered one of its most popular courses, Allergy Testing and Immunotherapy for Primary Care Physicians, on Thursday, Aug. 1. This year’s Scientific Assembly also included two other workshops—Friday afternoon’s GO! Diabetes master class and that evening’s CME dinner and satellite symposium on antiplatelet strategies.

The TAFP Foundation held a reception Thursday night at Zambrano Wine Cellar and Bistro where attendees sipped and learned about three wines with owner and master sommelier Cef Zambrano. The event benefitted the Student Interest Endowment, a fund created in 2012 by the Foundation to support stipends for students participating in the Texas Statewide Family Medicine Preceptorship program. Thank you to Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas and Pfizer for being Platinum sponsors; Austin Regional Clinic, CareNow, Texas Medical Association, and Texas Medical Liability Trust for being Gold sponsors; Drs. Justin Bartos, Lewis Foxhall, and Donald Nino for being Silver sponsors; and Drs. Tricia Elliott and Roland Goertz for being Bronze sponsors.

The CME general session opened Friday morning with an update on the state Academy by TAFP President Troy Fiesinger, M.D., and CEO Tom Banning. The rest of the weekend’s continuing medical education included topics on medicating the elderly, overdose deaths in Texas, the implementation of ICD-10, and chronic pain. AAFP board member Daniel Spogen, M.D., addressed attendees Sunday morning on the national Academy’s latest updates.

Clare Hawkins, M.D., M.Sc., gave a TAFP update  during Friday’s Member Assembly Luncheon. Members had the opportunity to ask questions about the Academy’s latest happenings and discuss the proposed bylaws changes that were voted on later in the weekend.

Saturday’s Annual Business and Awards Lunch began with members present voting to adopt the TAFP bylaws changes and new governance structure. You can find the final version of the newly adopted bylaws and related frequently asked questions at

The Business and Awards Lunch also unveiled the 2013 awardees for TAFP’s top honors and the 2013-2014 officers assumed their new positions. Jasmine Sulaiman, M.D., of Cleveland, was named Texas Family Physician of the Year, the highest honor of the Academy.

Dr. Sulaiman is currently the medical director of the Health Center of Southeast Texas, a federally qualified health center, and the associate medical director of Compassionate Care Hospice, both in Cleveland, Texas. Prior to these positions, she held various practitioner positions around the state of New York.

Her humility was apparent at the awards lunch, saying that she doesn’t “do anything different than any of you other family physicians,” in her acceptance speech. She follows “dharmo rakshati rakshitah” on a daily basis, explaining it to mean “you protect ethics, ethics will protect you.”

TAFP honored two doctors this year with the Physician Emeritus award—George Zenner, M.D., and David Pillow, M.D.

Dr. Zenner served as director of the Memorial Family Medicine Residency Program from 1978 to 1985, and again from 1996 to 2001. He was also director of the Continuing Medical Education Committee at Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital. Dr. Pillow is a former director of the Family Medicine Residency Program at John Peter Smith Hospital and is an icon in the Tarrant County community. He was ranked first in his class at the George Washington University School of Medicine and is a co-founder of two of the largest family medicine groups in Northeast Tarrant County.

Sen. Jane Nelson was honored with TAFP’s Patient Advocacy Award. Nelson has represented parts of Denton and Tarrant counties for more than 10 years and is currently chair of the Health and Human Services Committee. During the 83rd Texas Legislature, Nelson authored Senate Bill 143 which addressed the physician workforce shortage in the state by increasing residency slots and creating incentives for medical schools promoting primary care. The legislation was added on to another bill and passed into law.

The TAFP Foundation presented scholarships to medical students and honored Tim Lambert, M.D., as the Philanthropist of the Year. Dr. Lambert’s acceptance speech included a striking statement: “If you cut me, I bleed family medicine.”

Receiving the 2013 Presidential Award of Merit was Janet Realini, M.D., of San Antonio, for her work with the Texas Women’s Healthcare Coalition this year. Xavier Muñoz, D.O., of El Paso, received the TAFPPAC award for his time spent fostering relationships with his local elected officials to advance the specialty statewide. Nora Gimpel, M.D., director of the Community Action Research Experience and chief of the Community Medicine Division in the family medicine department of UT Southwestern, received the Public Health Award. Professor William Huang, M.D., of Houston, received this year’s Exemplary Teaching Award and Bruce Echols, M.D., of Dallas, received the Special Constituency Leadership Award.

Dr. Spogen presided over the official installation of TAFP’s new officers who will lead the Academy in 2013-2014. The new TAFP officers are: President Clare Hawkins, M.D., M.Sc., of Baytown; President-elect Dale Ragle, M.D., of Dallas; Vice President Tricia Elliot, M.D., of Houston; Treasurer Ajay Gupta, M.D., of Austin; and Parliamentarian Janet Hurley, M.D., of Whitehouse.

In his presidential address, Hawkins spoke about change—his own personal and professional changes, changes TAFP recently made, and changes involved in the country’s recent health care reform. He also described the things he hopes to accomplish in his year as president, including working with TAFP staff to better the Academy’s annual meetings, laying the groundwork for the next legislative session, and continuing to provide quality CME for TAFP members.

“As for our patients, it is my hope that as  TAFP serves family physicians in Texas, there will be a direct benefit to the families of this great state,” Hawkins said.

In his outgoing presidential address, Fiesinger thanked his family, coworkers, fellow members, and the TAFP staff for making his year as president a successful one.

The conference’s most anticipated event, the President’s Party, was a hoe-down that took place at the River Ranch Stockyards. Attendees participated in true Texas events —two stepping and armadillo racing. Be sure to see photos on the TAFP Facebook page of Drs. Hawkins, Ragle, and Fiesinger battling it out in the first heat of races.

Mark your calendars now for next year’s symposia. The 2014 C. Frank Webber Lectureship will be held Friday, Feb. 28, at the Omni Austin Hotel at Southpark, and the 65th Annual Session and Scientific Assembly will be held July 24-27, 2014, in San Antonio. TAFP will also offer two Primary Care Summit conferences next fall; Primary Care Summit – Houston at the Westin Oaks Oct. 17-19, and Primary Care Summit – Dallas at the Westin Galleria Nov. 7-9.