Dallas Physician Becomes TMA President

April 30, 2016 

Dr. Read 184x184DALLAS - The Texas Medical Association (TMA) today installed Dallas surgeon Don R. Read, MD, as its 151st president. He took office in a ceremony before TMA’s House of Delegates policymaking body at TexMed, TMA’s annual conference, in Dallas. He will lead America’s largest state medical society for one year. 

“I am excited about becoming the president of TMA, which is strong because it is a grassroots organization that represents the vast majority of the physicians in Texas,” said Dr. Read. “Becoming TMA president is the highest honor of my life. I am proud to serve as the president of the best medical society in the country.”

Though he has decades of experience caring for patients, a different role gave him new perspective about being a patient advocate: The time he spent as a patient fighting for his life. He contracted neuro-invasive West Nile virus in 2005, with encephalitis, meningitis, and polio-like paralysis. “I wasn’t sure I was going to survive. When you’re that sick, you realize how dependent you are on the people taking care of you. And you find out how much you need a patient advocate,” said Dr. Read. “I gained a new appreciation of the need for advocacy from the individual patient’s standpoint.”

Dr. Read created a West Nile Support Group in Dallas in 2006 — one of the few in the country — which boasts 200 members and meets regularly to discuss managing West Nile symptoms, as well as those from other mosquito-borne illnesses, like the Zika virus. He also volunteers his time helping and supporting patients diagnosed with West Nile.

By helping patients, Dr. Read is following his dream. “I knew I wanted to be a doctor from an early age. The other kids wanted to be firemen or policemen. Nobody in the family was a doctor, and I had no idea why I wanted to be one,” he said.

Leadership in medicine has beckoned Dr. Read throughout his 41-year medical career. “I have been recruited to run for every leadership position I have held, beginning with chief of the general surgery section at Medical City Dallas Hospital,” he said, where he also served as president of the hospital’s medical staff. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the Dallas County Medical Society (DCMS) as well as the society’s president, led the DCMS Physicians’ Wellness Committee, and served on several other medical society committees over the years. While DCMS president, he and the medical society launched Project Access Dallas, a program that provided free health care to uninsured people in the community.

Then TMA came calling. Dr. Read served on the TMA Patient-Physician Advocacy Committee (which he later chaired), and as chair and member of the TMA Board of Trustees, TMA’s governing body.

His plans for the year in office are ambitious, including energizing Texas physicians to be active in advocacy, protecting medical liability reform, fighting for better Medicaid payment for Texas physicians, supporting private physicians in their practices, and helping protect physicians who have become hospital employees.

The surgeon is concerned about threats to physicians’ ability to own their independent medical practice. “Our greatest challenge as an association is to be able to provide all the services our physicians need as they increasingly practice medicine as employees rather than practice owners,” he said. A physician’s practice ownership often preserves his or her autonomy to make unfettered care decisions with his or her patients.

Working in several medical practice models helped him form his opinion. He started his medical career in solo practice in Dallas in 1978 before partnering with two other physicians to form a group practice. The three-physician group grew to a group of 14, making it one of the largest colorectal surgery practices in the country.

That perspective helps him as he serves on the board of TMA PracticeEdge, the association’s physician services organization — designed to help physicians remain independent if they so choose.

For his dedication and commitment to his community and organized medicine, colleagues awarded Dr. Read DCMS’s 2010 Charles Max Cole, MD, Leadership Award. He also has been named a Distinguished Alumnus of Austin College at Sherman and among the Best Doctors in America®, and for 13 years, D Magazine called him one of the Best Doctors in Dallas. He also has been a Texas Monthly Super Doctor twice.

Dr. Read received his bachelor’s degree from Austin College and his medical degree from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. While earning his medical degree he did a clerkship with the Presbyterian mission hospitals in Zaire. Following his internship at Northwestern University’s Passavant Hospital in Chicago, he entered the United States Navy and served as a physician with the First Marine Division in Vietnam, for which he was awarded the Bronze Star. He returned to Chicago for training in general surgery and colon and rectal surgery at Northwestern University and at Cook County Hospital. After completing his training, he became director of surgical education at Cook County Hospital, and assistant professor of surgery at the University of Illinois.

He is board certified in colon and rectal surgery and general surgery, and practices at Texas Colon & Rectal Surgeons in Dallas. Dr. Read is past president of the Texas Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons and is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons, the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons, and the Texas Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons.

Dr. Read and his wife, Roberta, a nurse, have been married for 46 years. (They met on his first hospital day as an intern.) They have two daughters, both of whom are professional musicians. Sarah Read Gehrenbeck is music director and organist at a church in Whitewater, Wis., and she and her husband have two sons, Henry and Theo. The Reads’ younger daughter, Alison Read, is a professional harpist in Dallas who performs with several symphonies. Dr. Read sings in the choir at Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church, and he has been a member of the Downtown Dallas Rotary Club for more than 30 years.

TMA is the largest state medical society in the nation, representing more than 49,000 physician and medical student members. It is located in Austin and has 110 component county medical societies around the state. TMA’s key objective since 1853 is to improve the health of all Texans.

-- 30 --

Contact:  Brent Annear (512) 370-1381; Cell: (512) 656-7320; e-mail: brent.annear[at]texmed[dot]org

                 Marcus Cooper (512) 370-1382 Cell: (512) 650-5336; e-mail: marcus.cooper[at]texmed[dot]org

Check out MeAndMyDoctor.com for interesting and timely news on health care issues and policy.

Last Updated On

May 11, 2016