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Bracing for the Big Ones: Novel Diseases like COVID-19 Could Test Texas' Public Health System - 03/31/2020

Novel diseases like COVID-19 could be a tough test for Texas’ public health system.


In Defense of Public Health: Peter Hotez, MD, on the Comeback of Preventable Diseases - 03/31/2020

Preventable diseases are back on the map, and Peter Hotez, MD, Texas’ most outspoken vaccine researcher, says physicians need to think globally to help stop the trend.


Texas Physicians Say: Remain Calm, Protect Yourself, Stay Safe - 03/17/2020

Statement by Texas Medical Association (TMA) President David C. Fleeger, MD, about Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s state of emergency declaration regarding COVID-19.


House Bill 3703 (86th Texas Legislature) and Expansion of Texas’ Compassionate Use Act - 03/12/2020

In its 2019 session, the Texas Legislature passed House Bill 3703 (Rep. Stephanie Klick), effective immediately, expand­ing the list of diseases that may be treated with low-tetrahydrocannabinols (THC) cannabis. The bill also broadened the types of specialty physicians who may qualify to register with the Compassionate Use Registry of Texas to recommend treatment with low-THC cannabis to patients. A general discussion of these changes and more are discussed here.


Coronavirus vs. Influenza: The Differences and What We Need to know - 03/12/2020

As physicians, other medical experts, and the public learn more about the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, or COVID-19, scientists are learning more about the similarities – and differences – between COVID-19 and influenza. Both viruses cause respiratory disease, yet the World Health Organization (WHO) reports there are important differences between the two and how they spread.


Fighting Epidemics: Robert Haley, MD, Wins Inaugural Nickey Award for Public Health - 03/12/2020

Robert Haley, MD's work on West Nile virus – along with numerous other achievements – earned Dr. Haley the inaugural Dr. Laurance N. Nickey Lifetime Achievement Award. Presented by the Texas Medical Association’s Council on Science and Public Health, the award recognizes a TMA member physician who has made outstanding contributions to medicine through a significant commitment to public health.


What’s Better, Immunity From a Shot, or From the Disease? - 03/03/2020

Although suffering through a disease sometimes gives you immunity from catching that same disease later in life, vaccinating against diseases instead is the safest way to protect yourself and your loved ones.


Strength in Numbers: Texas Physicians Promote U.S. Census to Improve Funding - 02/28/2020

Every 10 years, the U.S. Census Bureau tries to enumerate each person living in the U.S., and the stakes always are high. Physicians are trusted members of the community so they’re in a perfect position to talk to reluctant people about the importance of the census.


Under the Gun: How Texas Hospitals, Clinics Can Prepare for Active Shooter Situations - 02/28/2020

Texas hospitals and clinics may need to change how they prepare for active shooter situations.


Learn More About Texas Youth Health at Symposium - 02/26/2020

If you’re interested in learning more about keeping Texas teens healthy and you’d like to make new connections to thought leaders and your peers, make plans to attend the Texas Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy’s ninth-annual symposium, set for April 6-8 in San Antonio.


Spread the Word: Texas Needs Organ Donors - 02/25/2020

The Texas Legislature in 2019 designated Wednesday, Feb. 26, “Texas Bone Marrow, Blood, and Organ Donation Registry Day." It's an effort inspired by Anh Nguyen Reiss, MD, a Houston obstetrician and gynecologist who died in 2016 of myelodysplastic syndrome. Her unsuccessful effort to find a bone marrow donor spurred greater education about the need for more donors of all types.


Public Health: Tobacco Triumph - 02/19/2020

Texas physicians got the kind of huge win on tobacco issues they haven’t seen in decades – a law to keep tobacco products away from young people.


Reaching for the Cure: Texas Medicaid Doesn't Cover Hepatitis C Drugs Until Patients Are Seriously Ill - 02/18/2020

Infectious disease specialist Ogechika Alozie, MD, has a ready-made solution for patients diagnosed with hepatitis C now that five medications can rid patients of this deadly disease. But for Texas Medicaid patients, there’s a catch. The program does not pay for the cure based just on a diagnosis. Instead, Medicaid pays only after a blood test, biopsy, or sonogram shows the liver is so badly damaged that it’s on the verge of cirrhosis. At that point, patients who get the medication will be cured of their hepatitis C but more vulnerable to other deadly illnesses, like liver cancer.


Clearing the Haze: Texas Physicians Demystify Vaping - 02/18/2020

The rise in EVALI deaths and hospitalizations has changed the conversation about vaping and gives physicians an opportunity to champion tighter rules and higher taxes on an untested, unhealthy product that remains lightly regulated in both the U.S. and Texas.


Help Patients Stand Up to Be Counted in the Census - 02/05/2020

Physicians can improve census reporting by stressing the census’ importance to patients and explaining that it’s safe. The information people give is private and guarded from other branches of federal, state, and local governments. People will begin receiving official Census Bureau mail March 12, and the final counting will end July 31.


Texas Physicians Propose Mass Violence Prevention Strategies - 02/03/2020

How should Texas address the incidents of mass violence that have rocked the state in recent years? Physicians laid out medicine’s priorities before a special committee of the Texas House of Representatives late last week.


Regulate E-Cigarettes - 02/03/2020

The Texas Pediatric Society and the Texas Medical Association represent more than 48,000 physicians and medical students. Our members have made it a priority to advocate for limiting youth access to e-cigarettes, including marketing strategies aimed at youth. Texas physicians are concerned about the known and unknown health risks associated with e-cigarettes. Scientific conclusions on the effects of e-cigarettes, which are only now beginning to emerge, vary due to differences among devices, e-juices, and product brands. However, we feel that the available information warrants restrictions on youth access to e-cigarettes and the marketing of these products to youth for three major reasons.


Tell FDA to Regulate All Tobacco Products - 02/03/2020

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is urging public comment in support of regulation of all tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes and cigars, by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Click here to submit your comments directly to the FDA. The submission deadline is Aug. 8.


TMA Supports Bill to Prohibit E-Cigarettes on School Campuses - 02/03/2020

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.


2015 Legislative Wins: Family Medicine - 02/03/2020

2015 Legislative Wins: Family Medicine


Youth Safeguards, Budget Boons - 02/03/2020

The Texas Medical Association, the Texas Public Health Coalition, and diligent physicians earned significant public health victories during the Texas Legislature's 2015 session in their drive to reduce tobacco and electronic cigarette use and to protect schoolchildren at risk for anaphylaxis.


Texas 21 Pushes to Raise the Age for Tobacco Sales - 02/03/2020

Texas 21, a coalition of 75 public health groups that includes the Texas Medical Association and two powerful state legislators, on Tuesday called for the Texas Legislature to stop the sale of tobacco to anyone under the age of 21.


Protect Texas’ Youths – Raise the Smoking Age to 21 - 02/03/2020

The younger kids are when they start using tobacco, the more likely they’ll become addicted. Exposure to tobacco and nicotine at a young age affects brain development and increases risk for nicotine dependence. With nicotine addiction and continued use into adulthood come even greater risks of lung cancer, coronary heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and other cancers, as well as early death.  If current trends continue, nearly half a million (498,000) Texas kids alive now will ultimately die prematurely from smoking.


Legislative Top 10: A Closer Look at Texas’ New “Tobacco 21” Law - 02/03/2020

One of the major public health achievements the Texas Medical Association pushed for this past legislative session was Senate Bill 21, which raises the minimum age to buy tobacco and vape-product in Texas from 18 to 21 years. The lifesaving measure, which Gov. Greg Abbott signed last week, is featured in today’s TMA’s Legislative News Hotline video report.  


Teach Teens to “Escape the Vape” - 02/03/2020

As a physician you understand the health risks associated with tobacco products, but how do you effectively talk to your young patients about those dangers? Well, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) is here to help with a free online course entitled “Escape the Vape: Help Stop the E-Cigarette Epidemic Among Adolescents.”