• Improving the Health of All Texans

    • Advancing Care, Treatment for Patients With Mental Illness

      In 1861, the Texas State Lunatic Asylum admitted its first patients. With funding granted in 1856 and construction starting in 1857, the institution featured state-of-the-art design and construction. Physicians and state leaders recognized the need to humanely treat those with mental illness. I'm proud to say the institution and the original building now stand as the Austin State Hospital. I was the clinical director there from 1995 to 2005.
  • Standing up for Public Health

    • TMA Supports Texting While Driving Ban
      Texas is one of only six states without a prohibition on texting while driving. And while an increasing number of cities have implemented a variety of restrictions, there is no comprehensive approach. By eliminating texting while driving across the state and promoting distracted driving education for Texas drivers, HB 80 will help reduce costly and preventable injury and make our roads safer for all Texans.
    • Improve Texas' Emergency Response
      We must not only maintain but also further build our state’s preparedness and response system to work with medicine and the public to address emerging and re-emerging diseases like measles. Working with medicine and with many of the provisions in CSSB538, we believe Texas will be better prepared to manage the infectious disease threats present in our environment.
    • Measles Outbreak Adds 33 Cases to Reach 154
      In response to the growing 2015 measles outbreak, which at press time stood at 154 U.S. cases, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has beefed up its website to include resources to help physicians in their practice.
    • Combating Measles Resource Center
      The December 2014 "Disneyland" nationwide measles outbreak and the 2013 outbreak in North Texas -- all primarily among unimmunized persons -- brings new attention to a disease once thought to be eliminated in the United States. TMA has collected the information below to help you and your patients combat this deadly disease. 
    • TMA Supports Bill to Prohibit E-Cigarettes on School Campuses
      TMA reviewed studies on e-cigarette use last year and found many states and communities had already restricted the use of these products. Texas is only one of 10 states that have not already restricted the sale of e-cigarettes to minors. Several studies on e-cigarettes have identified the major components of e-cigarettes (nicotine, propylene glycol, and/or glycerin). There is no water in e-cigarettes. However, because these are unregulated products with poor quality control, physicians and public health experts are concerned about the lack of information on the precise amount and type of compounds in the many different brands of e-cigarettes, and the potential short- and long-term health effects of the compounds produced by heating in these devices.
    • Improve Funding for Mental Health Services
      Investing in mental health services ultimately pays for itself through reduced incarceration and emergency department costs. Additionally, of the DSHS figures demonstrating the billions of dollars our state spends on potentially preventable hospitalizations, more than a third have comorbidities in mental health conditions.
    • Support Funding for Critical DSHS Services
      We strongly encourage your support for continuing the funding of the state’s tobacco cessation and chronic disease prevention programs. We support Exceptional Item 3 to increase the agency’s and state’s capacity to investigate and respond to infectious disease outbreaks. Exceptional Item 9 funding will enable communities to conduct evidence-based activities that promote physical activity and healthy eating.   
    • Dr. Ryan Van Ramshorst: E-Cigarettes Must be Regulated
      We are concerned that e-cigarette users risk progression to other forms of tobacco use. And we, as a state, are quite aware of the harmful effects of tobacco use, with higher rates of death attributable to smoking – 273 per 100,000 – than the rest of the United States. Despite major progress, Texas still has a ways to go to reduce the use of tobacco by youth. For instance, 14.1 percent of high school students still smoke, and 24,200 kids become new smokers each year. We need to do all we can to limit youth from starting down the road toward addiction.
  • Addressing Pollution from Legacy Coal Power Plants in Texas

    This June 2013 report examines retrofitting Big Brown, Martin Lake, and Monticello coal-fired facilities with modern emission controls or retiring the plants and replacing them with cleaner alternative energy sources. Prepared by Daniel Cohan, PhD, assistant professor of environmental engineering at Rice University, Addressing Pollution targets these three 1970s-era legacy coal-fired power plants because they are "the leading emitters of air pollutants and greenhouse gases in Texas." And they heavily contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone and particulate matter, a mixture of substances including carbon-based particles, dust, and acid aerosols formed in the atmosphere by volatile organic compounds, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides.

    The report explores four options that "could foster the ability of electricity providers to offset any loss of generating capacity from the legacy coal-fired power plants, while enhancing air quality and minimizing costs to ratepayers."

  • Texas Public Health Stats

    • Immunizations

      There is a greater risk of outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases in communities with low immunization rates. Vaccine preventable diseases will increase if Texas cuts immunization funding.
    • Obesity

      "F as in 'Fat'" Ranks Texas the 13th most-obese state in the country. Healthy eating starts in childhood.
    • Smoking

      Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in the state. More than 24,000 Texans die each year from tobacco-related illnesses. Join with TMA to make Texas smoke-free.
    • Mental Health Funding

      More than 4.3 million Texans, including 1.2 million children, live with some form of mental health disorder. Of these, 1.5 million cannot function at work, school, or in the community due to their illness.