• Steps to raise awareness during Suicide Prevention Month

    Tags: anticipate joy, work stress, counseling, suicide prevention

    By Anticipate Joy

    There are few things in our world that are more heartbreaking than suicide. It is a final symptom of horrible mental illness, so severe it would drive someone to take their own life. With suicide being the tenth overall leading cause of death in the United States — the second for individuals between 10 and 34 — nearly everyone has been impacted by suicide in some way, shape, or form.

    However, the epidemic of suicide is even worse among medical professionals. The suicide rate for male-identifying physicians is 1.41 times higher than the general male population, and even higher for female-identifying physicians, at 2.27 times the average female rate. Due to the exhaustive nature of your position, burnout, depressive symptoms, and suicide risk are much higher for physicians than the general public.

  • Federal public health officials push vaccination efforts at Texas meeting

    Tags: Choucair, vaccine, COVID-19

    By Jonathan Nelson

    As COVID-19 cases continued to climb to crisis levels across the state, state and public health officials gathered for a roundtable discussion in Austin on August 5. The takeaway message from all parties: We must get as many people vaccinated as possible to get the pandemic under control.

    The Biden administration vaccinations coordinator, Bechara Choucair, MD, led the federal delegation as they met with DSHS representatives including commissioner John Hellerstedt, MD, and physician leaders from multiple physician associations including TAFP.

  • Family physicians encourage masking and vaccination of students

    As parents and students prepare for the start of the fall 2021 school year, the TAFP Board of Directors has heard loud and clear from many members that students, teachers, administrators, and all other personnel affiliated with Texas schools should take all necessary precautions to avoid infection and spread of COVID-19. The Academy has released a statement urging that everyone involved in in-person education at schools wear masks and that all eligible people be vaccinated for COVID-19. Read the statement here.

    Family Physicians Encourage Masking and Vaccination of Students

  • Reducing the stigma around mental health

    Tags: anticipate joy, texas academy of family physicians

    By Anticipate Joy

    As physicians, you are used to constantly helping and providing for your patients. However, there is a sense of stigma around doctors taking care of themselves — particularly in mental health. Suffering from depression, burnout, and suicide occur in higher rates among medical professionals than almost any other profession. There is so much stigma around doctors getting mental health care, as if a person is less fit to fulfill their profession if they are seeking out help. We would never shame someone for seeking treatment for a physical disease, and it should not be any different for someone struggling mentally.

    Prejudice and stigma around mental illness will keep people from seeking out the help they need and deserve. Here is some advice for helping reduce stigma in your workplace.

  • A scribe's story

    Tags: scribe story, Ben Saul, Harish Thoppe, Larry Kravitz, TAFP, Texas Academy of Family Physicians, pre-med, scribe

    By Ben Saul, Harish Thoppe, and Larry Kravitz, MD

    It is hard to lay bare your personal medical practice to the eyes of another professional. As I have told every medical student on rotation with me, “You will learn from me how to practice medicine right, but you will also quietly learn how to practice medicine wrong, seeing things you will know you never want to repeat.” We are imperfect. When we are teaching medical students, we showcase our successes, but we relinquish any hope of hiding our professional flaws. You must make your own peace with that in order to teach. You must trust in the benevolence of students to see that you stepped up to the plate and volunteered to try to raise their medical skills.

    Medical students shadow and practice, practice and shadow. They come and go, usually for four short weeks within a family medicine rotation. But scribes come and stay; they are the ultimate shadows. Muted by the nature of their mission. Silent witness to the inner clinical sanctum. We take them on to share the exhausting intensity of our trusting patients with their challenging mortal illnesses and aging. A bond develops with your scribe, often unspoken, yet undeniably strong.

  • New Braunfels family physician receives TMA’s Young at Heart Award

    Tags: Emily briggs, TMA Young at heart award, TAFP, Texas Academy of Family Physicians, new braunfels, young physician section

    New Braunfels family physician Emily D. Briggs, MD, MPH is the 2021 Texas Medical Association Young at Heart Award recipient. Doctors from the TMA  Young Physician Section announced the award during TexMed, TMA’s annual meeting, held virtually.  

    The YPS, a group of TMA physicians under age 40 or in their first eight years of medical practice, chose Briggs for her dedication to engaging medical students, resident physicians, fellows, and young physicians in organized medicine.

    “I have never been so pleasantly acknowledged — and by a wonderful group of future leaders,” said Briggs, a TMA member for 17 years. 

  • Awarding grants in the Heart of Texas

    Tags: chapter grant program, heart of texas chapter, TAFP, travis county chapter, Karen Smith, Katharina Hathaway, Jean Klewitz, Texas Academy of Family physicians

    By Jean Klewitz

    The TAFP Heart of Texas Chapter started a chapter grant program in early 2020. Supported by family physicians, the grant program fuels local community work. Applicants to the grant program are chapter members supporting the local community or member-nominated community groups within the Heart of Texas’ 12 counties.

    Leaders of the chapter, Karen Smith, MD, chair, and Katharina Hathaway, MD, vice chair, met while doing some nonprofit work together through the Manor Community Wellness Alliance. Smith was working with others to start the Manor Free Clinic. Their meeting in humanitarian work helped fuel philanthropic community work within their chapter.

  • President's Letter

    Tags: president's letter, amer shakil, family fun fest, TAFP, Texas Academy of Family Physicians

    Keeping up the fight for family medicine through the pandemic

    By Amer Shakil, MD, MBA
    TAFP President

    Greetings members. What a strange year and a half its been for all of us. As life is slowly and cautiously beginning to return to something akin to normal, we should take a moment to acknowledge the struggles and the achievements we have experienced, both individually and as a specialty. Over these several months, the resilience of family physicians, our physician colleagues, other health care providers, and aides of all sorts has been nothing short of amazing.

    I have also marveled at the resilience of our Academy. In February of 2020, it seemed unimaginable that we would cancel April’s C. Frank Webber Lectureship and Interim Session. And then it became obvious that we couldn’t possibly hold the meeting. The Academy would go on to learn to produce virtual conferences, and that’s how we would conduct business for the rest of the year.

  • Attention residents and students: Attend AAFP’s National Conference virtually

    Tags: national conference, resident, student, funding, 2021

    Once a year, family medicine residents and medical students come together to engage in real talk about family medicine with family medicine leaders, educators, and recruiters at the National Conference of Family Medicine Residents and Medical Students. This year, National Conference is virtual. From July 29-31 you can attend online workshops and main stage speaker sessions. The popular Expo Hall will be broken into sections so you can find the residency programs by state and exhibitors you are most interested in. You can schedule one-on-one appointments with residency programs, recruiters, and other exhibitors. You can also network with fellow attendees.

    Because it is virtual this year, the price tag to attend is much lower and there are more opportunities for financial assistance if you act fast.

    TAFP Foundation funding
    The TAFP Foundation is increasing the number of funding slots to help 300 Texas medical students and residents attend national conference. The application will stay open until July 25 or all the funding slots are taken.