Kayla Riggs
Kayla Riggs, TMA Student of the Year for 2014

Since 1998, the Texas Medical Association has recognized an outstanding student member who excels in furthering the section’s goals and policies to improve Texas’ health care system. This year, the prestigious TMA Student of the Year for 2014 goes to Kayla Riggs, second-year medical student and president of the UTHealth HCMS/TMA/AMA chapter.

The chapter aims to engage students in organized medicine by encouraging their involvement in local medical societies and provides direction to health-related activities at all levels of education.

“I am incredibly humbled and honored,” Riggs said of receiving the award. “It was a wonderful surprise, and I loved serving and leading our TMA Chapter this past year.”

David Savage, a MD/PhD student and a member of the TMA executive council, nominated Riggs for the award because of her leadership and commitment to the local TMA chapter and the missions of TMA. Riggs joined TMA prior to medical school and became president of the school’s HCMS/TMA/AMA chapter in the middle of her first year of medical school.

As chapter president, Riggs counts among her successes: increasing the number of guest lectures and meetings, community service events, and fundraisers.

A native of Austin and graduate of The University of Texas at Austin, Riggs said it is important for students to be involved with organizations that provide structure and direction to the field of medicine.

“I pursued my undergraduate degree in business and connected with TMA because it provides physicians the opportunity to collaborate with others to facilitate change and influence policy in medicine,” she said.

Following medical school graduation, Riggs said she plans to continue to be active in AMA and TMA and serve her community.

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