The UTHealth Medical School’s chapter of the Texas Medical Association (TMA) is this year’s recipient of the Chapter of the Year Award.
First awarded in 1998, the annual award recognizes the TMA-MSS chapter that excels in furthering TMA-MSS goals and policies for a better Texas. The award recognizes leadership, dedication, and service to TMA and the American Medical Association (AMA). Chapters are nominated for this award by the TMA-MSS Executive Council.
The UTHealth chapter was recognized for its various fundraisers, community service events, and lecture offerings. A scrub sale and golf tournament raised $5,000 for TroubleShooters, the Harris Health mobile immunization clinic for children. The group also supported TMA’s Hard Hats for Little Heads, sizing and distributing bicycle helmets for children.
Nearly 850 UTHealth students are members of the local TMA chapter.
“We are the future physicians of Texas, and it is crucial for our education to learn not only good clinical practices, but also be exposed to the ethical, political, and educational factors that will guide our future practices,” explained TMA chapter president Kayla Riggs about why TMA leadership and membership is important.
Looking to the future, the organization is planning Be Wise Immunize community service events, representing UTHealth at TMA and AMA meetings, and fundraising for the community. “Our most recent successful event was our trip to the capitol for First Tuesday on February 3,” Riggs added.
Mentors and advisers have helped to guide and encourage the chapter.
“We have been blessed to have the support and guidance from Dr. Arlo Weltge as our current faculty advisor. His commitment and enthusiasm that he brings to the medical students is infectious and inspiring,” Riggs said. “We were also fortunate to have another faculty adviser who has recently retired, Dr. Joel Dunnington, who continues to be active in TMA and in supporting our students.
“We have had wonderful leadership guidance from David Savage, an MD/PhD candidate who has been involved in TMA his entire medical school career. He served as past president for our chapter and in multiple leadership roles within the TMA and AMA. His wisdom and advice is priceless. Thank you to our HCMS advisors, Tomise Martin and Scott Atkins, and our TMA advisers, Karen Kollar and Tammy Wishard. We cannot thank these mentors and advisers enough!”
Riggs added that everyone on the TMA leadership team, Catherine Carlile, Caitlin Clark, Ryan Gunter, Ben Karfunkle, Ross McFall, Kayla Riggs, Andrew Ritchey, Mary Alice Sallman, David Savage, and Blaine Smith, took ownership of an aspect of the year’s goals.
TMA is the largest state medical society in the nation, representing more than 47,000 physician and medical student members. It is located in Austin and has 112 component county medical societies around the state. TMA’s key objective since 1853 is to improve the health of all Texans.
-Darla Brown, Office of Communications, Medical School