TAFP Annual Session and Primary Care Summit goes virtual because … 2020
Report from the virtual TAFP 2020 Annual Session and Primary Care Summit
By Jonathan Nelson
Family physicians and other health professionals from around the state logged in and streamed TAFP’s Annual Session and Primary Care Summit on November 6 and 7. A total of 553 people registered for the event for the opportunity to earn up to 13.75 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™.
The event began with a keynote address by TAFP Past President Tricia Elliott, MD, entitled “Racism is a Health Crisis: Family Medicine’s Call to Action.” She is the Vice President of Academic Affairs and Chief Academic Officer at John Peter Smith Health Network in Fort Worth, and she is the current president of the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine.
Other highlights included learning the latest on COVID-19; intimate partner violence; pain management; an AAFP update from Shawn Martin, the organization’s new CEO and executive vice president; and many more.
Since the Academy did not meet in person this year, many of the events usually occurring around the CME General Session took place in the previous weeks. Committee, commission, and section meetings happened over Zoom mostly during October.
On October 24, the Academy held a combined Member Assembly and Annual Business and Award Meeting. Outgoing president Javier D. “Jake” Margo Jr., MD, presided over the event. Delegates from TAFP’s local chapters elected Lane Aiena, MD, to serve as new physician director, and Ike Okwuwa, MD, and Gerald Banks, MD, to serve as at-large directors on the board. Marian Allen, MD, was elected as the Special Constituency representative on the board, and Elena Zamora, MD, and Marc Ghosn were elected to the board to serve as the resident and student directors respectively.
TAFP’s 2020 award recipients
Physician of the Year: Adrian Billings, MD, PhD
Adrian Billings, MD, PhD, of Alpine, earned his medical degree and a PhD in experimental pathology at UTMB Galveston. After completing residency and obstetrics fellowship at JPS in Fort Worth, he moved to Alpine in Pecos County and began practice to fulfill his commitment to the National Health Service Corps.
Adrian Billings, MD, PhD, and Kristin Kinsley, a medical student at Texas Tech University Health Science Center, survey the landscape on a brief stop along the road from Alpine to Presidio.
Since 2014, Billings has been the director of the Texas Family Medicine Preceptorship Program, helping TAFP administer the state-funded program to bring preclinical students to family medicine offices across the state. In his relatively short career, he’s had hundreds of medical students and residents rotate with him. He practices full-scope family medicine in an underserved community. He also serves outside the exam room and is committed to education. He pioneered a community-based medical Spanish rotation in Presidio and recently collaborated with Texas Tech in Odessa to bring a rural residency rotation to Alpine.
Billings joined the stream late, accepting the award after performing an emergency Caesarian section.
“Thank you for what you’re doing,” he said. “You are all heroes for the work that you’re doing. We have to be active; we have to be advocating for our patients.”
Presidential Award of Merit: Linda Siy, MD
Linda Siy, MD, of Fort Worth, has cared for patients as part of the JPS Health Network since 1995 at the JPS Northeast Tarrant Medical Home. She has been involved with TAFP for many years and in a variety of ways; as a past president, as a delegate to the AAFP Congress of Delegates, as chair of the TAFP Political Action Committee, and she currently serves as the TAFP Foundation President.
“It is an honor to be recognized for doing something that I have loved to do all these years,” Siy said. “My involvement with the TAFP and the AAFP, as well as my local chapter here in Tarrant County, over the years has been quite rewarding, both personally and professionally.”
Her commitment to TAFP extends beyond attending or chairing meetings. She also identifies and encourages young leaders. Siy takes time writing personal notes to encourage them to continue to show up and get involved. For the medical students attending her clerkship rotations, she goes out of her way to bring in practicing physicians — many of whom are TAFP and AAFP leaders — giving those future physicians a taste of what family medicine has to offer.
Public Health Award: Tom Banning
Tom Banning is TAFP’s CEO and executive vice president. He served as TAFP’s director of legislative and public affairs before taking over as CEO in 2007. Banning directs overall strategy including, advocacy, continuing medical education, and communications activities for the Academy, with more than 9,000 members.
The public health award is given to physicians and non-physicians who have an extraordinary impact on public health. As the pandemic hit in Texas, Banning was quick to react. He understood the gravity of the situation and quickly saw that while attention was focused on hospitals, private practice physicians were being overlooked. He used his years of experience and relationships to gather physician stories and amplify them in the media. He made sure TAFP member’s struggle with obtaining PPE, financial concerns, and their critical role in keeping patients healthy and out of the hospital was added to the COVID-19 narrative being told. He also used a connection to get a supply of PPE and personally drove across the state to deliver masks and other life-saving equipment.
“The real heroes and the people that really deserve this award are our members, who have kept their doors open during this pandemic continuing to screen potential COVID-19 patients, treat them, care for them, whether they were at home or in the office,” Banning said. “Not to mention, caring for your established patients that were still struggling with chronic illness or other acute problems. So I thank you. I can’t tell you what it means. I just wish we could have done more and I hope that we’ll be able to do a lot more in the future to make sure that you have the PPE and the protection that you need to continue doing your job. Thank you all for everything that you do.”
Special Constituency Leadership Award: Terrance Hines, MD
Terrance Hines, MD, is the executive director and chief medical officer at University Health Services at The University of Texas at Austin. He has served on multiple committees and commissions and was installed this fall as the TAFP Parliamentarian. He has served previously on the TAFP Board of Directors and he has represented Texas during AAFP’s National Conference of Constituency Leaders several times. The award honors an outstanding member who is a strong advocate for special constituencies.
Installation of officers
Before the board of directors met on October 31, the Academy held a virtual officer installation. AAFP Board Chair Gary LeRoy, MD, joined the stream to swear in the new officers: President Amer Shakil, MD; President-elect Mary Nguyen, MD; Treasurer Emily Briggs, MD; and Parliamentarian Terrance Hines, MD.