It's Academic

October 2015 


Texas Sets Another New Record for Number of Newly Licensed Physicians

Physicians continue to find Texas a good place to practice medicine as evidenced by yet another new record for the number of newly licensed physicians, for the state fiscal year that ended Aug. 31. The Texas Medical Board announced an additional 301 physicians were licensed in 2015, an increase of 7.5 percent over 2014.  

“Twelve years since the passage of our historic 2003 medical liability reforms, we continue to attract new physicians to Texas in record numbers,” said Austin internist Howard Marcus, MD, chairman of Texas Alliance For Patient Access. “I don’t at all find that to be a coincidence.”

    Oct 2015 It's Academic Licensed        

Three of four newly licensed Texas physicians are graduates of medical schools outside of Texas. Forty-five percent were educated at schools in another state and 30 percent in another country.


 Oct 2015 It's Academic New

India was the single largest educator of 2015 newly licensed physicians, with a total of 405. Off-shore medical schools in the Caribbean produced the second-highest number, at 197. 

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In addition to The University of Texas Medical School at Houston and The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, New York, Illinois, and Missouri were among the top-10 that educated the most newly licensed Texas physicians this year. Pakistan was also among the top 10.

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2015 Application Cycle for TMA Award for Academic Excellence Began Sept. 1

TMA knows the difference a good educator makes in the life of a physician. The association is asking for your help in recognizing physicians who excel in teaching. Consider applying for TMA’s award program or nominating a leader or colleague. 

The program is scaled across four levels to provide recognition throughout your career, starting with the Bronze level and culminating with the Platinum level. The Platinum Award winner is selected each year from the Gold recipients and receives a $5,000 cash award. The TMA Foundation generously provides award monies.

On TMA’s website, you will find everything you need, from a description of the eligibility criteria for each award level, to the forms you can use to apply or nominate a leader or colleague. TMA will invite qualified nominees to apply for an award.

Help us recognize physicians who make a difference in the lives of other physicians and who prepare our next generation of doctors. 

Important deadlines: If you are applying yourself, the 2015 application cycle runs from Sept. 1 through Dec. 7, 2015. If you are nominating someone else for this cycle, the deadline is Nov. 13. TMA accepts nominations year-round, but nominees are bound by the annual application cycle deadlines. 

If you have questions, call the TMA Knowledge Center at (800) 880-7955, 8:15 am-5:15 pm CT, and ask for the Medical Education Department, or send an email to  

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Med Students Receive Training on Talking to Patients About Costs of Care

A recent Association of American Medical Colleges survey finds 129 of 140 responding medical schools offered a required course on the cost of health care during the 2013-14 school year. Nearly 40 percent of the schools said they also present the issue in elective courses. 

Read more about the issue in a Sept. 10 Kaiser Health News article

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Save GME Action Week Kicked Off in August

During the third annual Save GME Action Week in August, the American Medical Association Medical Student Section encouraged students to participate via in-person visits, letters, phone calls, and social media outreach. The 2015 effort also saw greater collaboration with the AMA Resident and Fellow Sections, the Patient Action Network, and the AMA. 

Students advocated for Congress to:  

  • Maintain current funding for graduate medical education (GME).
  • Support legislation that will expand GME funding sources and the number of residency positions, specifically the Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act of 2015 and the Creating Access to Residency Education (CARE) Act of 2015.   

Students contacted Congress more than 1,500 times via letters and phone calls, and dozens visited their lawmakers. 

Over the past three years, according to AMA, the medical community has contacted Congress more than 35,000 times via calls and letters. The website has had more than 52,000 visits since its launch. 

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Social Media and Its Critical Impact on Your Future Medical Career

Physicians have a great deal to gain by using social media. Today, 24 percent of doctors use social media at least once a day to post or seek medical information, according to Allied Health World. But unlike the typical social media user, physicians have much higher standards they must meet when it comes to commenting and posting in social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter. In fact, the words you choose and the pictures you post could have a critical impact on your future as a medical professional. 

Here are a few ways your medical career could be affected by social media. 

Inappropriate Posts
Vulgar language or diminutive posts disparaging a person or group of people are not the qualities of a physician. The wrong posts, quotes, or pictures may cause you to lose patients and trigger an investigation by the state medical board. Therefore, everything you do on social media must be regarded as public, not private. 

Standing Out
On the other hand, social media allows physicians to stand out from the crowd. Inspiring stories of recovery and patient testimonials educate patients on your expertise and showcase your knowledge. Having a conversant and skilled physician makes all the difference in patient care. When you’re posting thought-provoking content, it’s only natural to stand out against your competitors and gain some new “followers,” who may then turn into new patients.

Connecting With Other Professionals
Networking can be difficult when you work a busy schedule. Social media allows professionals like you to congregate with peers and pass along information and get a job in the future. If you are an active part of social media, you can join in conversations and rub elbows with the top talent in your industry. 

Becoming the Authority
Social media provides a place where physicians can prove their value and knowledge. As you continue to post about industry-related subjects and success stories, followers are able to see your viewpoints and trust your opinions. It is important for professionals who want to be known for what they do to post on social media and gain a group of followers. 

Being a voice of authority will help future patients trust you and peers respect you. With today’s audience, everyone is looking to gain value from professionals. Social media gives you the ideal way to pass along tidbits of information and articles relating to important health facts.

Finding Mentors and Staying Current
Social media offers a place to learn new tips and discover what peers are up to. As you find professionals to network with, you will inevitably find those worth following and emulating. Of course, you will still have parents and teachers that serve as mentors, but look at the physicians in your field who are where you want to be. How are they doing it, and where can you improve? As you watch and learn, you will find your education is always far from over. 

Being Patient-Centered
As a physician, you can use social media to promote your practice and keep up with patients, actively post success stories, and answer questions through your social media page. The more people who like and follow you, the larger the reach. 

Businesses have found their consumers are more likely to trust a company with a socially savvy CEO and high-level administrators who are active on social media because it makes them more personable. How much more will patients trust doctors who are active on social media?

With time and effort, it is possible to have a good balance of straightforward communication while also keeping the limitations of the medical industry in mind. If you’re unsure of your limitations as a Texas physician, follow the social media policy guidelines created by the Federation of State Medical Boards, and use the TMA Social Media Resource Center, which provides valuable information on social media presence for physicians. 

Visit the TMA Education Center to purchase Get Social: Put Your Practice on the Social Media Map by TMA’s Steve Levine and Debra Heater. Get Social explains how to use popular social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and others. The book offers handy tools and insights for physicians, medical students, and office staff interested in engaging with patients, and the public, on these platforms. You’ll also find advice and best practices for using social media responsibly and avoiding potential HIPAA pitfalls.

To read more articles like this, visit the TMA Insurance Trust blog or subscribe to the TMAIT newsletter.  

For information about physician-focused insurance coverage for individuals and medical groups, contact TMAIT today.  

About TMA Insurance Trust
Since 1955, TMA Insurance Trust has served as trusted advisors for Texas physicians, their families, and their employees. Created and exclusively endorsed by the Texas Medical Association, we at TMA Insurance Trust are proud to partner with TMA member physicians to meet their personal insurance needs and protect their livelihood. We walk alongside physicians throughout their entire career journey from medical school to residency and all the way through to retirement. Visit us at to learn more.

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 Submit an Abstract for the 2016 Quality Poster Session

The TMA Council on Health Care Quality and TMF Health Quality Institute announce the fourth annual TMA Quality Poster Session to be held April 30 during TexMed 2016 at the Hilton Anatole Dallas.   

The TMA Quality Poster Session is a platform for physicians and medical students to share their breakthroughs and best practices for better patient care, especially in one or more of the six aims of quality care: that it be safe, timely, effective, equitable, efficient, and patient-centered.

The TMA Quality Poster Session offers physicians a chance to gain exposure, network with Texas physicians, and have their work published. Here are just a few of the many reasons for you, your faculty, your students, and your residents to participate:  

  • Present your poster to physicians from across Texas during a continuing medical education event at TexMed 2016. 
  • Your abstract will appear on the Texas Medical Association website, which draws more than 75,000 visitors each month. 
  • The top-three winners in each category receive a cash award.     

Abstract submissions are due no later than March 25, 2016. All accepted poster exhibitors will receive a travel stipend.   

Please tell colleagues and those you teach about this event so they can take advantage of this enriching opportunity. For more information, poster parameters, and submission categories, or to see last year’s abstracts, visit the TMA website.

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 Loan Repayment Available to Physicians; Apply by Nov. 30

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board is accepting applications from primary care physicians and psychiatrists for the state’s Physician Education Loan Repayment Program. The program will cover up to $160,000 in loan repayment for physicians who commit to a practice in an underserved community for four years. More information is available on the Physician Education Loan Repayment Program website. Applications for this award cycle are due to the board’s offices by Nov. 30, 2015. Help spread the word among residents who have completed training and who may benefit from loan repayment.   

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Save the Date for the 2016 TMA Winter Conference 

Don't miss the 2016 TMA Winter Conference, Jan. 29-30 at the Hyatt Regency in Austin. Visit the TMA website for updates on the event.   

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  Wanted: Physicians Who Pursue Awesome Hobbies, Passions Outside the Office

Do you have an interesting (even unique) hobby or passion you enjoy when you're not in the office? Do you know a TMA member physician colleague who cuts loose on the weekends and lets the creative juices flow, who takes time to serve others in need, or who has a remarkable talent? If you do, TMA's Texas Medicine magazine would like to hear from you. 

The magazine periodically publishes a column called "Back Talk" that features a portrait of a physician enjoying his or her favorite outside-the-office pursuit. (For an example, see page 64 of the September issue.) If you would like to nominate yourself or a physician colleague for possible inclusion in "Back Talk," please email Texas Medicine Editor Crystal Zuzek with "Back Talk" in the subject line. Include the physician's name and contact information, along with a brief description of the hobby or pastime.  

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Are You Getting the Most From Your TMA Membership?

Check TMA's return on investment calculator to see what other benefits and services you can tap into.  

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This Month in Texas Medicine

The October issue of Texas Medicine features a cover story on the new MCAT and its components that focus on concepts such as self-identity, social stratification, and multiculturalism. In the issue you'll also find information on a new law that allows physicians to prescribe an opioid antagonist to a person in danger of an opioid-related overdose; renewal of the 1115 Medicaid Waiver; products to help practices stay in compliance with HIPAA privacy and security regulations; and a new TMA-backed law that calls on health plans to clean up their network directories. Check out our digital edition

You can subscribe to RSS feeds for TMA Practice E-Tips, TMA news releases, Blogged Arteries, and Texas Medicine. More

It's Academic is for physicians in academic settings. For more information about TMA’s efforts on behalf of medical education and academic physicians, visit the TMA Council on Medical Education’s Subcommittee for Academic Physicians page and Advocacy page on the TMA website.

Please share with your colleagues who are not TMA members and ask them to join.

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    The State legislature is unable to support the existing medical schools adequately. Another institution, no matter where it is located, would put more unnecessary strain on already stretched finances. Find the money to treat the ones you have better before straining draining resources.
    William E. Powell, M.D.

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