• TAFP Past President Glen Johnson dies

    Tags: glen johnson, obituary

    By Samantha White

    TAFP Past President Glen Royce Johnson, MD, passed away February 20, 2022, at his home in Pinecrest, Florida.

    After completing medical school and residency at Howard University, Johnson joined AAFP in 1976 and quickly rose the ranks in both AAFP and TAFP. He served as a TAFP alternate delegate then delegate to AAFP’s Congress of Delegates in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and became the first Black physician to serve as TAFP president in 1986. Johnson was a director on the AAFP Board of Directors, then AAFP vice president in the early and mid 1990s, and eventually served as AAFP’s alternate delegate then delegate to the American Medical Association in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

  • TMA fund supports medical families in crisis

    Tags: tma, texas medical association

    TMA fund supports medical families in crisis

    By Tammy Wishard

    A dedicated physician finds himself struggling with dementia in his later years, with his wife by his side caring for him. To provide needed income, the Johnsons (not their real name) sell their home and relocate to their smaller vacation residence in another part of the state, leaving behind lifelong friends.

    Funds dwindle as the couple makes needed accessibility updates to the home and pays for health insurance. As the days and months pass, and with no support from family, the wife begins to wear down from her role as caretaker. She needs a break. Mrs. Johnson reaches out to TMA’s Physicians Benevolent Fund (PBF) for assistance, and PBF fills the need, providing funding for respite care so she can have a few hours each week to tend to her needs.

  • Putting mental health tools in the hands of primary care physicians

    Tags: Waco guide, psychopharmacology, mental health, clinical tools

    Access psychopharmacology clinical support with The Waco Guide

    By Zach Sartor, MD

    We are living amid a mental health epidemic. One in five people experience mental illness yearly, and the volume of mental and behavioral health disorders will increase in the future due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Primary care is the de facto mental health system in the United States. Primary care clinicians serve most patients receiving treatment for mental illness, prescribing a majority of psychotropic medications in the process. However, two-thirds of family medicine physicians cannot connect their patients with essential mental health support services. Therefore, most behavioral health care services occur in the primary care office. Although the situation is dire, this challenge represents an opportunity to provide high-value mental health care in the primary care context. Family medicine can lead the way forward.

  • MEMBER VOICES: A physician mom's take on telemedicine

    Tags: telemedicine, sabari sundarraj

    By Sabari Sundarraj, MD

    I know most of us have started adapting to the new way of life in our practice. However, some of us are still skeptical. I'm hoping to reach out to the skeptical ones among us. 

    The reason I say that is I was in your shoes as I started my career in a brick-and-mortar practice. In 2017 when my twins were born and after a short parental leave, I returned to work. I was starting to get tired of watching my nanny’s videos during lunch hour on their developmental milestones rather than being there to enjoy them. I give kudos to all the physician moms who did it, who are doing it, and who will do it, but it is not my cup of tea.

  • Buprenorphine and the elimination of the X-waiver

    Tags: buprenorphine, opioid crisis

    By Larry Kravitz, MD, Chris Allen, and Matthew Seghers

    As primary care physicians, we all want to help end the opioid crisis. But the options for family physicians in this epidemic have been limited. Most of us are not addiction specialists. Most of us do not work in substance abuse rehab clinics. Within the traditional primary care clinic setup is the undercurrent of our daily struggles, as our patients succumb to progressive illness, and with that, often the emergence of chronic pain conditions. Tackling chronic pain can be one of the most vexing issues in medicine, and primary care is at the frontlines of handling these patients.

    Statistics from the National Institute on Drug Abuse are staggering: Roughly 21-29% of patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain misuse them, between 8-12% of people using an opioid for chronic pain develop an opioid use disorder, and approximately 80% of people who use heroin first misused prescription opioids. COVID-19 only exacerbated opioid-related consequences, with several publications from prominent organizations such as the Journal of the American Medical Association and the American Medical Association outlining the harrowing spikes in both non-fatal and fatal overdoses. Texas has not been immune to these trends, as highlighted in a KHOU segment from December 2020 that describes a record-breaking number of calls to first responders for overdoses.

  • Texas Physicians for Social Responsibility releases report on health and climate change

    Tags: Texas Physicians for Social Responsibility, climate change, public health

    By Samantha White

    A new report on the disastrous health impacts of climate change was recently released by the Texas Physicians for Social Responsibility. The organization’s report, “Texas Climate 2040: How Climate Change Impacts the Health of Texans,” examines the various consequences of the climate crisis and the public health problems they create.

    “Climate change is the greatest public health threat of our time,” said Dr. Lisa Doggett, a family physician and president of Texas PSR. “Urgent global action is needed to reduce its impact and mitigate its effects. We need a massive shift to renewable energy to protect the health and future of Texas families and communities.”

  • Funded delegate spots and scholarships available for NCCL

    Tags: NCCL, 2021, texas academy of family physicians, TAFP, delegate, alternate delegate

    Each year, AAFP holds the National Conference of Constituency Leaders and Annual Chapter Leader Forum together in Kansas City, Missouri. NCCL representatives and ACLF attendees from across the nation gather to discuss various issues, suggest policies and programs to AAFP, and receive leadership training. In 2022, the conferences will be held April 28-30 and TAFP is looking for members to serve on the delegation or apply for scholarships to attend.

    Texas Delegation to NCCL
    Spots are available for 10 TAFP members to represent each of the five constituencies: new physicians (physicians who have been out of residency for seven years or fewer), women, minorities, international medical graduates, and LGBT physicians. TAFP reimburses up to $1,200 for expenses for each of the five delegate and five alternate delegates. In addition, TAFP offers two other opportunities to attend NCCL with funding. These scholarships will be awarded to one third-year resident and one minority physician.

    Interested? Please fill out this form and send a current curriculum vitae to Kathy McCarthy at kmccarthy@tafp.org by Friday, Dec. 17, 2021.

  • Time to triumph over the trials of burnout

    Tags: Anticipate Joy, burnout

    By Anticipate Joy

    It all started with a dream. Maybe it was to make the world a better place. Maybe it was to save lives. Maybe it was to help others. Or maybe it was just to make a nice paycheck. Whatever it was, you had a dream of becoming a doctor, and you did it. Your dream came true! But unlike fairytales, achieving our dreams doesn’t always mean “happily ever after.” In fact, sometimes our dreams can seem nothing like how we always imagined they’d be. 

    One of the biggest problems physicians struggle with today is burnout. With 44% of doctors experiencing this issue and 96% of medical professionals believing burnout is a problem, there clearly needs to be something done about this topic. However, despite nearly half of doctors undergoing feelings of burnout, 40% of physicians are reluctant to seek out mental health treatment, and 41% of physicians choose to isolate themselves as a method of coping. These are things that will only lead to more difficulty for doctors, both in their work and in taking care of themselves. Here are some symptoms that might indicate you’re struggling with feeling burnt out.

  • Texas Family Physician of the Year urges House committee to invest in rural primary care workforce

    Tags: Adrian Billings, testimony, House Public Health Committee, border health

    By Jonathan Nelson

    The House Public Health Committee of the Texas Legislature held a hearing this week focused on addressing health care access for communities along the Texas-Mexico border. TAFP’s Family Physician of the Year, Adrian Billings, MD, PhD, made the drive from his home in Alpine to Austin to provide his perspective on the great need for primary care investment in rural Texas.

    “My work, although rewarding in so many ways, has been both exhausting and challenging because of the incredible need for care in my communities,” Billings told the committee. “Rural health care organizations such as critical access hospitals and rural clinics are like small football teams. We have very few, if any, additional staff on reserve sitting on the bench for relief. For example, our Alpine clinic today does not have a provider because I am here testifying.”

  • Explore Ecuador on a medical mission

    Tags: Ecuador, medical mission, Katherine Lynn Walker

    By Katherine Lynn Walker, MD

    A warm hello to my fellow AAFP members! My name is Katherine Lynn Walker. I am a board-certified family medicine physician with more than 20 years of clinical experience and more than 10 years of leadership experience on international medical brigades. I work in a private practice located in Boulder County, Colorado. And I also serve as an adjunct faculty member at the St. Anthony North Family Medicine Residency in the greater Denver area.

    I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce MissionCMEcuador, a program I developed and presented at the AAFP Global Health Summit National Conference in 2020. In collaboration with the Ecuadorian Ministry of Health in Otavalo, this one-of-a-kind international opportunity allows U.S.-based physicians to provide medical care in underserved areas of the Otavolo Canton, located in the Imbabura Province of Ecuador.