It's Academic: December 2012

AG: Coordinating Board Has Authority On Foreign Medical Schools  

Will foreign medical schools begin sending their students to Texas for clinical training? A recent opinion by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott says state law gives the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) the discretion to decide whether foreign-based institutions may offer courses leading to a medical degree in the state.

The board sought the opinion after the American University of the Caribbean, a for-profit medical school owned by DeVry, Inc., asked for THECB approval to contract with Texas hospitals and other health care facilities to provide clinical training in the state for third- and fourth-year students from the school, located on the island of St. Maarten.

The proposal sparked concerns among the state's medical schools, some state lawmakers, and the Texas Medical Association that it would displace Texas medical students from existing clinical clerkships. DeVry officials argue the move could bring more physicians to Texas.

Texas Attorney General Abbott said the state education code has "no geographic requirements or restrictions" that prevent the THECB from granting, or denying, a certificate of authority to a foreign medical school "that otherwise satisfies the statutory and regulatory criteria for issuance of such a certificate."

A THECB spokesperson said the board could take up the matter at its next meeting on Jan. 24.

Citing reduced state funding for medical education and growth in enrollment, Cynthia Jumper, MD, immediate past chair of the TMA Council on Medical Education, said adding foreign medical students simultaneously with the large Texas enrollment growth "will exacerbate the shortage of clinical training space."

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Dec. 31 Deadline for Academic Physician Award Applications  

Have you been working hard teaching for the past three to five years? TMA thinks you should reward yourself.

If you are a physician who has taught medical students, residents, or fellows for at least the past three years, and you were a TMA member who participated on a TMA or county medical society board/council/committee or ad hoc group for at least three years, TMA encourages you to apply for new awards created for doctors like you.

The TMA Award for Excellence in Academic Medicine recognizes teaching physicians who are clinicians and have a record of TMA leadership, scholarly activity, mentoring, professional development, advocacy, and community service.

"TMA is eager to recognize our physician leaders who are dedicated to caring for patients as well as preparing tomorrow’s physician workforce," said David P. Wright, MD, chair of the TMA Council on Medical Education. "These awards express the value TMA places on the academic segment of the physician community and the role they play in transforming health care through teaching."

Qualification for Bronze and Silver Awards is through self-nomination. Physicians may download and submit the application by Dec. 31. TMA is developing criteria for gold and platinum levels and will announce them in coming months. Applying for the bronze- or silver-level now will not disqualify you from the possibility of being nominated for the Gold or Platinum levels later on.

Once TMA verifies your eligibility for a bronze or silver award, you will receive a framed certificate in the mail. In addition, you will receive recognition in Texas Medicine and a mention in the Handbook Report for the next TMA House of Delegates annual meeting. If you have questions, email Jennifer McHaney or call her at (800) 880-1300, ext. 1451, or (512) 370-1451.

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Baylor College of Medicine Top Texas NIH-funded Medical School  

Two departments at Baylor College of Medicine led the nation's medical schools in National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding in a report the Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research released this week. BCM continues to rank first in Texas among medical schools in the FY2012 report. The College received $207.3 million in NIH funding for the fiscal year and had an overall national ranking of #17 for all areas of NIH funding.

Two BCM departments ranked No. 1 in the country: Molecular and Human Genetics, with $60.1 million in funding; and Molecular and Cellular Biology, with $20.2 million. The Department of Pediatrics ranked No. 3 in the country, with $38.4 million; and Neuroscience, No. 8 with $9.1 million.

The college had a total of nine programs ranked in the Top 20 in the nation. Others were Urology, No. 11; Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, No. 12; Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, No. 14; Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, No. 19; and Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, No. 19.

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TMA Winter Conference Feb. 1-2 in Austin  

Save the date for the 2013 TMA Winter Conference Feb 1-2 at the AT&T Conference Center in Austin.

The first part of the General Session will feature Changing Demographics, with Former Texas State Demographer Steve Murdock, PhD, who will share insights on demographics changes in Texas and the implications for medicine. Then the Physician Medicaid Congress … with Texas Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Kyle Janek, MD, and a panel of physician leaders and legislators … will address the future of Medicaid in Texas, and the presenters will share the progress of TMA’s Physician Medicaid Congress.

The Texas Legislature will be in session, and TMA will continue to shape Healthy Vision 2020, the association's advocacy playbook for the future of Texas medicine.

Book your hotel reservation by Jan. 11 to get the discounted rate.

Watch your email and the Winter Conference website for more information.

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Save the Date  

Plan on coming to Austin on Tuesday, April 2, for First Tuesdays at the Capitol. It's your chance to lobby state legislators in person on issues that are important to patients and physicians. The day's events will be tailored especially for students and residents.

You are welcome to participate in every First Tuesday, but April 2 has a specific focus on issues of great importance to physicians in academic medicine.

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New CME Course Examines Drug Overdoses  

Prescriptive drug abuse is at epidemic levels in the United States, and opioids are the drug patients use most often in unintentional deadly overdoses. How can physicians help stop these preventable deaths?

The Texas Pain Society, in collaboration with TMA's Physician Oncology Education Program, shares effective strategies in a new home-study course, Pain Medicine: Accidental Lethal Overdoses. Physicians can learn the principles of chronic opioid therapy, including appraising a patient's risk for substance abuse, avoiding dangerous drug combinations, and assessing therapeutic benefit.

This 13-page course costs $35 and offers continuing medical education credit, including 1.5 hours of ethics. You can download the course file through the TMA Education Center at, or receive a hard copy in the mail by emailing Laura Wells at TMA or calling her at (800) 880-1300, ext. 1673, or (512) 370-1673.

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Join or Renew TMA Today: We Could Use Your Help!  

You serve as a necessary and important member/representative of the medical profession. That’s why your membership in TMA is imperative. Only with grassroots support can we make sure Texas remains a premier state in the education of future physicians, research, and quality patient care.

TMA has been a longtime advocate for academic faculty and medical schools, monitoring legislation, determining the potential impact to patients, and actively lobbying for your interests.

Join or renew today at and see what a difference TMA membership can make. Within your department and/or academic institution, funds may be available to cover the cost of your membership. Please check with your department administrator or chair to see if applicable.

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New-to-Texas Physicians Can Start Here  

Are you a physician who is new to Texas? Have you recruited a physician for your school, your practice, or your community from out of state?

TMA's New to Texas Resource Page can help new or returning Texans get their practices up and running. The page provides links doctors need to be licensed in Texas, plus contact information for relevant state and federal agencies and links to resources such as practice consulting for set-ups, health insurance plan contacts, and employee salary data.

Last is a link to the Ask TMA page on the TMA website. TMA members can email the TMA Knowledge Center or call (800) 880-7955 for fast answers to questions about membership, TMA member benefits and services, practice management or legal information, and more.

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This Month in Texas Medicine  

The December issue of Texas Medicine tells you why TMA is concerned about new state anti-fraud rules that presume a physician is guilty. You'll also learn about TMA's plan to push an anti-red tape bill in the next legislative session and what the government expects of you in its electronic health record rules. Finally, you'll find out what the "Choosing Wisely" program is all about.

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 on the TMA website.

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

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