Athens FP installed as TMA president

Athens FP installed as TMA President

By Jonathan Nelson
Photo courtesy of the Texas Medical Association

In May of 1948 at the Texas Medical Association’s annual meeting at Houston’s historic Rice Hotel, a group of general practitioners decided to organize an association in Texas to affiliate with the recently formed American Academy of General Practice. The event marked the beginning of TAFP.

Seventy years later at TMA’s annual meeting now known as TexMed, a family physician who calls himself “an old country doc” became TMA president.

Douglas Curran, MD, of Athens, Texas was sworn in as president of the nation’s largest medical society at the JW Marriott Hill Country Resort in San Antonio on May 19, 2018. He says his top priorities during his term will be to improve patient care in Texas and to increase access to that care for all Texans.

“I feel very humbled by this opportunity to serve the patients of Texas physicians as well as protect and preserve the integrity of our profession,” Curran said in a TMA release. “The opportunity to serve as president of this great organization will allow me to speak from the heart about the profession I love and our commitment to improve the health care of all Texans.”

Curran practices full-scope family medicine at Lakeland Medical Associates and at UT Health Athens. For nearly four decades, Curran has served as a fierce advocate for the patients and physicians of Texas. He played a leading role in the passage of Texas’ groundbreaking medical liability reforms, fought for sweeping patients’ rights reforms including holding managed care companies accountable for their actions, championed legislation to improve the Children’s Health Insurance Program and Medicaid, and fought to ensure patient safety throughout the health care system.

He has been active in TMA, TAFP, and AAFP, serving on numerous committees and in various officer roles. He is the immediate past chair of the TMA Board of Trustees and a member of the TMA Select Committee on Medicaid, CHIP, and the Uninsured. He is a past president of TAFP and a past winner of TAFP’s Family Physician of the Year award. He served as chair for the Commission on Membership and Member Services, chair of the Commission on Legislative and Public Affairs, and he has been an active member of TAFPPAC. He represented Texas as a delegate to the AAFP Congress of Delegates and served on the AAFP Commission for Governmental Advocacy.

In June of 2017, Curran spoke to TAFP about his plans for his term as TMA president in a Member of the Month interview.

“As far as where I think TMA is headed, it’s in a direction to improve the quality of care patients get,” he said. “Right now, we have access issues for Medicaid patients and enormous access issues for the working poor, we must address those. I will work on the areas of how we get better access to health care for all Texans.

“I also want to work on better and fairer payment for all physicians. I think as alternate payment models come out, it’s going to give us an opportunity to change how we pay doctors. … My time will be spent being sure patients get the best they can get, in terms of quality and having adequate access to care, and for physicians I want less hassle and a more appropriate payment model.”

Curran should get his chance to focus on these topics and a host of others. He will be in office during the preparation for and the duration of the 86th Texas Legislature, which promises to be challenging for organized medicine. Here at TAFP, we know TMA couldn’t be in better hands.