May 19, 2018
SAN ANTONIO — Today
the Texas Medical Association (TMA) installed a self-proclaimed “old country
doc” from Athens, Texas, as president of America’s largest state medical
society. Douglas W. Curran, MD, an east Texas family
physician, took the reins during TexMed, the association’s annual
conference in San Antonio.
“I feel very
humbled by this opportunity to serve the patients of Texas physicians as well
as protect and preserve the integrity of our profession,” said Dr. Curran. “The
opportunity to serve as president of this great organization will allow me to
speak from the heart about the profession I love and our commitment to improve
the health care of all Texans.”
Dr. Curran is
known for weaving
personal and professional stories into his messages about providing patient care — whether
discussing a hard-working neighbor who relies on Medicaid for coverage or
comparing doctors’ and veterinarians’ pay for a similar medical service.
“I’ve been blessed to be doing exactly what
I’m convinced I was meant for: I’ve cared for the people of my community,” he said.
“I’ve stood beside my colleagues in support
of medicine with the conviction that if we fight for our patients’ best
interests, we will succeed in crafting good policy for Texas.”
care and access to that care are at the top of his agenda during his year as
TMA’s 153rd president. Dr. Curran, who practices at Lakeland Associates and at UT
Health Athens, played a major role in creating a rural health clinic and an
obstetrical care clinic for patients who do not have the means to pay for care.
The need is great; in his home county, Henderson, one-quarter
of the population is uninsured. He hopes to
help those neighbors get better access to care, and he wants the same for people
Throughout his 39
years in medicine, Dr. Curran has advocated on behalf of Texas patients and
physicians. He pushed for the passage of Texas’ groundbreaking medical
liability reforms in 2003; fought for sweeping patient-rights protections including
holding managed care insurance companies accountable for their actions; supported
legislation to improve the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and
Medicaid; and fought to protect patients from unsafe care. He has testified
before legislative committees countless times, and visits regularly with Texas
and Washington lawmakers to push for a better health care system.
Dr. Curran vows
to take on the political and cultural polarization that he believes has throttled
our nation’s ability to solve the big problems. And he plans to start with the House
“We must unite as never before, and with
wisdom and courage, stand strong for the protection of our patients and the
sanctity of our profession, because we face crises of cost and access at the
local, state, and national levels that threaten to shake the very foundation of
health care, and of our association,” he said. “I am prepared to be that voice
that advocates, that leader for TMA.”
Dr. Curran has
been very active in his 38 years in TMA. He is the immediate past-chair of the TMA
Board of Trustees and a member of TMA’s Select Committee on Medicaid, CHIP, and
the Uninsured. He chaired TMA’s Select Committee on National Health System
Reform, served on the TMA PracticeEdge Board of Managers; was district vice chair
of TEXPAC, the association’s political action committee; and a member of the
board of the philanthropic TMA Foundation.
Dr. Curran also
has represented the Henderson County Medical Society in the TMA House of
Delegates, the association’s policymaking body, for more than 20 years. He is a
past president of the Texas Academy of Family Physicians (TAFP); has chaired two
of the group’s commissions, and served on the TAFP Board of Directors. Dr.
Curran also has served in the American Academy of Family Physicians and its Commission
for Governmental Advocacy.
physician has received many awards and accolades, including the Rural Health Champion Award from the Texas Rural
Health Association in 2017.
Dr. Curran and
his wife, Sandy, have been married for 49 years. “Sandy has empowered me in the
practice of my profession as well as made me so much better as a person,” he
said. “I would not be a physician today without Sandy.”
They have a
daughter, Cortney, and a son, Chris, and daughter-in-law, Britne. Dr. Curran
enjoys serving his church, visiting with friends and neighbors, and dancing to
a “good Texas swing band” when possible. The country doctor lives on a ranch just outside
of town and tends to 221 head of cattle.
Doing so connects him to the roots of his upbringing in Arkansas, where he
attended medical school at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. He
completed his residency at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical School Family
Medicine Residency Program at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth.
TMA is the largest state
medical society in the nation, representing more than 52,000 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.
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