Houston Physician Becomes 144th TMA President

For Immediate Release
May 2, 2009

Contact: Pam Udall
phone: (512) 370-1382
cell: (512) 413-6807
Pam Udall

Brent Annear
phone: (512) 370-1381
cell: (512) 656-7320
Brent Annear

 The Texas Medical Association (TMA) has elected William H. Fleming III, MD, of Houston as its 144th president. Dr. Fleming was installed as president today at TexMed 2009, the association's annual meeting, held this year in Austin.

"I am proud that the members of our society entrust me to lead the best state medical society in the land," Dr. Fleming said.

Dr. Fleming lists two big goals to improve the health of Texas patients during his one-year presidency. "No. 1 is health system reform - the system is broken and we need to fix it," he notes. "Second is access to care - we have to improve the access. When 30 percent of the population is either uninsured or underinsured, it's a problem. This 30 percent gets either no care, or delayed care, or poor care."

Dr. Fleming just completed a one-year term as TMA's president-elect. Previously, the neurologist served as speaker of TMA's House of Delegates, vice speaker, and as a member of TMA's Board of Trustees. He also is a TMA alternate delegate to the American Medical Association's House of Delegates.

Dr. Fleming is TMA's first African-American president, which he believes is historic and  long overdue. "It's a milestone in some ways and in other ways it's a non-issue," he says. "I stand on the shoulders of the African-American physicians who came before me, like Dr. Frank Bryant. I represent all the doctors. I'm the face of Texas medicine."

Dr. Fleming is a clinical assistant professor of neurology at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston. He also serves on the boards of Memorial Hermann Healthnet Providers, the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center, and the American Heart Association. Dr. Fleming is board certified by the American Board of Neuromuscular and Electrodiagnostic Medicine. He also recently served on the Joint Quality Review Committee of Houston's Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital, and on the Board of Regents of Texas Woman's University at Denton.

Dr. Fleming also has served in several leadership roles in other state and national medical societies. He was president of the Federation of State Medical Boards of the United States and chair of the State Affairs Committee of the American Academy of Neurology, and he has served as president of the Texas State Board of Medical Examiners, the Texas Neurologic Society, and the Harris County Medical Society. He also has served on the board of directors, and in several other roles, of several medical organizations.

Born and raised in Memphis, Tenn., the Houston neurologist took a somewhat roundabout path to becoming a physician. "I had always wanted to become doctor since I was a child, but I strayed for a little while and didn't know what I wanted to do," he says. During that time he played several musical instruments, and even contemplated becoming a professional musician. However, second thoughts and medicine's draw influenced him. "The real factor was my desire to help people; plus, I was influenced by my family physician," he recalls.

Dr. Fleming earned his medical degree from the St. Louis University School of Medicine at St. Louis, Mo. He completed his neurological residency at the Mayo Clinic and Mayo Graduate School of Medicine at Rochester, Minn., and his medical residency at McGill University at Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Dr. Fleming completed his undergraduate studies at The University of Kansas, at Lawrence, Kan.

Dr. Fleming and his wife, Cheryl, have a daughter, Bria.

TMA is the largest state medical society in the nation, representing nearly 44,000 physician and medical student members. It is located inAustin and has 120 component county medical societies around the state. TMA's key objective since 1853 is to improve the health of all Texans.

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