Family docs meet in San Antonio for Annual Session

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Family docs meet in San Antonio for Annual Session

Report from TAFP’s 65th Annual Session & Scientific Assembly

posted 7.29.14

Family physicians and other health professionals from around the state gathered in San Antonio July 24-27 for TAFP’s 65th Annual Session and Scientific Assembly. Attendees networked, earned CME, shaped TAFP policy at committee and commission meetings, and celebrated the specialty of family medicine.

As always, attendees had opportunities all weekend to learn about a variety of topics from an especially distinguished faculty during the scientific portion of the conference. Participants also had the opportunity to attend three Self-Assessment Module workshops Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday, on preventive care, health behavior, and mental health in the community. The National Procedures Institute offered one of its most popular courses, Joint Exam and Injections with Introduction to Ultrasound Guidance, on Thursday. This year’s Scientific Assembly also included a CME dinner and satellite symposium Friday evening on injectable strategies.

The TAFP Foundation held a cocktail cruise on the Riverwalk Thursday evening. Members enjoyed appetizers and drinks from the Iron Cactus while cruising down the San Antonio River on a guided tour. 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 for being a platinum sponsor; AbbVie, Texas Hospital Association, Texas Medical Association, Texas Medical Liability Trust, and Robert Youens, M.D., for being gold sponsors; and Lewis Foxhall, M.D., Donald Niño, M.D., and ProAssurance for being silver sponsors.

The CME general session opened Friday morning with a presentation by Bo Bobbitt, Jr., J.D., on family physicians succeeding in ACOs. The rest of the weekend’s CME included topics on patient-centered medical home, direct primary care, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, geriatric care, and much more. AAFP President Reid Blackwelder, M.D., addressed attendees Sunday morning on advocacy, education, and family medicine for the nation’s health.

Troy Fiesinger, M.D., gave a TAFP update during Friday’s Member Assembly Luncheon. There were also updates from the TAFP Foundation and TAFP Political Action Committee and a report from the Task Force on Payment Reform. Members had the opportunity to ask questions of Academy leaders and they elected members to the TAFP Board of Directors.

Saturday’s Annual Business and Awards Lunch began with members present voting to adopt the TAFP bylaws changes. Next, TAFP’s top honors were announced and the 2014-2015 officers assumed their new positions. Russell Thomas, D.O., M.P.H., of Eagle Lake, was named Texas Family Physician of the Year, the highest honor of the Academy.

After finishing a family medicine residency in 1983, Dr. Thomas went into practice with his physician father in their hometown of Eagle Lake, Texas. He took a break from practicing from 2000-2002 to be the program director at the Central Texas Medical Foundation Family Practice Residency Program in Austin, where he established a rural rotation. He is also a second generation recipient of this award as his father, Raymond Thomas, M.D., was the 1997 Texas Family Physician of the Year.

After accepting the award, Dr. Thomas addressed the physicians present at the lunch. “I encourage you as we leave today to remember that we’re all the physician of the year in the eyes of our patients, so we must continue to work hard to make family medicine the cornerstone of medical practice.”

TAFP honored Dr. Seth Cowan this year with the Physician Emeritus award. He started practicing family medicine in 1953 in Colorado City, Texas, and was later a founding partner in the Family Clinic of Garland, where he practiced until his retirement. Joining TAFP when it was still the Texas Academy of General Practice, he served on numerous committees and commissions, and was TAFP president in 1979-1980. Dr. Cowan served as president of the TAFP Foundation Board of Trustees during the early years of establishing and growing the very successful scholarship program.

This year’s TAFP Patient Advocacy Award was given to Congressman Pete Gallego, who represents District 23 in the U.S. House of Representatives and is from Alpine, Texas. He has established a solid record of advocacy for patients’ rights, working to solve problems in the health care delivery system at both the state and national levels, and to make the Affordable Care Act function better.

Receiving the 2014 Presidential Award of Merit was Joane Baumer, M.D., for her commitment to solidifying the future of family medicine.

Sheri Talley, M.D., received the TAFPPAC award for her time advocating for family medicine by testifying in front of committees and regulatory agencies.

The TAFP Foundation presented scholarships to medical students and honored Melissa and Cory Gerdes as the Philanthropists of the Year.

Lisa Glenn, M.D., Clinical Innovation Medical Director for the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services, received the Public Health Award.

The University of North Texas Health Science Center and Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine in Fort Worth was given the Medical School Award of Achievement for attaining 25 percent of graduates entering family medicine residencies.

Dan Sepdham, M.D., received this year’s Exemplary Teaching Award for his work at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

Tricia Elliott, M.D., received the Special Constituency Leadership Award.

Dr. Blackwelder presided over the official installation of TAFP’s new officers who will lead the Academy in 2014-2015. The new TAFP officers are: President Dale Ragle, M.D., of Dallas; President-elect Ajay Gupta, M.D., of Austin; Vice President Janet Hurley, M.D., of Whitehouse; Treasurer Tricia Elliott, M.D., of League City; and Parliamentarian Tamra Deuser, M.D., of Flower Mound.

In his presidential address, Ragle encouraged his peers to help expand the family physician workforce in the state.

“Expanding access to family medicine provides a great opportunity for policymakers and payers to improve the health of the nation and lower health care costs,” Ragle said. “In this vein, we need to promote the expansion of our family medicine workforce. We must redouble our efforts to promote family medicine in our medical schools and encourage students to choose our specialty.”

The conference’s most anticipated event, the President’s Party, was a fiesta in the conference host hotel, the Grand Hyatt San Antonio. Attendees listened to mariachi music, ate street tacos and churros, and danced cumbias all night.

Mark your calendars now for upcoming symposia. TAFP offers two Primary Care Summit conferences this fall; Primary Care Summit – Houston at the Westin Oaks Oct. 17-19, and Primary Care Summit – Dallas at the Westin Galleria Nov. 7-9. The 2015 C. Frank Webber Lectureship will be held March 6-7 at the Omni Austin Hotel at Southpark. For the full 2015 schedule, check out the ad on the facing page or go to