How You Can Help: Projects Funded and in Need of Funding

Current Programs and Needs

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TMAF is currently supporting the following programs. To learn more about how you can help support these programs, please see the contact information at the end of this section.

BeWise-Immunize sm  

Vaccination is one of the safest and most cost-effective means of protecting young children from illness and disease.  According to the 2006 National Immunization Survey (NIS), Texas ranked 24th in the nation for immunizations, a great improvement from being 41st in 2004.  However:

  • Approximately 76.8 percent of Texas children three and under were fully immunized (a drop from 78.1 percent).  

Despite the unquestionable benefits of vaccines, one in four children are left at serious risk of contracting and spreading potentially life-threatening diseases because he or she is not fully up to date on his or her vaccinations. All of these diseases have had lasting effects on some of the children who contracted them ranging from blindness and deformity to death. Even chickenpox, often treated like a benign children's illness, can lead to brain damage and death. 

The risk faced by children who are not properly vaccinated is great and potentially fatal.  Six children, all infants, have passed away in Texas within the first nine months of 2005 after contracting pertussis.

During the first two years of the program, 64,000 immunizations were administered at more than 167 health fairs and clinics around the state. 

Funding Opportunity: TMA Foundation will seek to raise $109,490 for the 2007 operation of Be Wise - Immunize from interested corporations, foundations, and individuals. To help make this program possible, contact  Lisa Stark Walsh at (800) 880-1300, ext. 1666, or (512) 370-1666.

Hard Hats for Little Heads  

 Protection against head injury is particularly important because of the potential for long-term disability.  Head injury is associated with a significantly increased likelihood of using hospital intensive care units, higher rates of injury complications, and higher rates of functional impairments in communication, cognition and behavior.  In Texas, the average lifelong cost for a person who has a brain injury is $4.5 million. 

  • Texas was among four states that accounted for 40 percent of all bicycle deaths in the U.S. during 2000.
  • Head injury accounts for greater than 60 percent of bicycle related deaths, more than two-thirds of bicycle-related hospital admissions, and about one-third of bicycling injuries treated in emergency rooms. 
  • In May 2002, the National Safe Kids coalition reported that nearly half of children ages 14 and under (47 percent) who were hospitalized for bike-related injuries were diagnosed with traumatic brain injury.
  • Riding without a bicycle helmet significantly increases the risk of sustaining a head injury in the event of a crash. Non-helmeted riders are 14 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than helmeted riders.
  • From 1993 to 1995, the US Consumer Product and Safety Commission noted a 184 percent increase in the number of injuries involving in-line skaters (a rise from 37,000 to 105,000).
  • Head injury occurs in 18 percent of all in-line skating injuries and can result in significant, permanent disability.
  • Emergency room-treated injuries related to lightweight scooters increased sixteen-fold from May to September 2000.  85 percent of the injuries are to children under 15 years of age. 

In 2005 more than 8,500 bicycle helmets distributed in Texas communities through county medical society and local physician Hard Hats events.

FUNDING OPPORTUNITY: This program needs nearly $50,000 to operate. The 2006 program is made possible through a generous gift from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas and physicians and their families.  For more information on conducting a Hard Hats program in your area, contact Tammy Wishard at (512) 331-6336 or e-mail .  Contact Lisa Stark Walsh  at (800) 880-1300, ext. 1666, or (512) 370-1666 to help support this highly successful, physician-driven initiative. 

TMA's Ernest and Sarah Butler Awards for Excellence in Science Teaching  

 The Texas Medical Association's Ernest and Sarah Butler Awards for Excellence in Science Teaching honor teachers who share their energy and enthusiasm for science through creative and innovative methods.  TMA created the award in 1990 to reward excellent science teaching in hopes it would encourage young students to become physicians.

In 2009 TMA will once again reward three more outstanding teachers  Nominations are open through Oct 10, 2008.  All nominees will be contacted by TMA and asked to complete an application packet by Dec 12, 2008.  An awards presentation will be held in May 2009.

FUNDING OPPORTUNITY:   The program requires between $35,00 and $40,000 to operate each year.  Thanks to basis funding from Dr. and Mrs. Butler, TMAF is working to raise an additional $20,000 each year to fully support the program. For more information on this program, contact Barbara James at TMA at (800) 880-1300, ext. 1400 or (512) 370-1400. To help fund this program, call Lisa Stark Walsh at (800) 880-1300, ext. 1666, or (512) 370-1666.

TMA Minority Scholarship Program

Four of the eight Texas medical schools saw increases, albeit small, in total minority enrollments in fall 2003 and the remaining four saw declines compared with 1996, the year before the 1996 Hopwood ruling barring public medical schools from offering minority-specific scholarships took effect. Although a 2003 U.S. Supreme Court ruling effectively lifted the ban, Texas medical schools have not reinstated previous race-specific scholarship programs, most likely due to the risk of lawsuits. At the state level, the total of 222 minority students enrolled in 2003 is 15 percent less than the 255 enrolled in 1996. The proportion of underrepresented minorities among the state's total entering class enrollments dropped from 20 to 16 percent during this time period. Our goal is to increase that proportion.

FUNDING OPPORTUNITY:   TMA Foundation is seeking a minimum of $20,000 for four $5,000 scholarships.  Gift opportunities include one named scholarship for one year in conjunction with a partner such as another individual, corporation, or foundation for $2,500; or one fully-funded named scholarship for one year for $5,000. General contributions to the fund are also being sought, and in the future, endowment opportunities for named scholarships over a set period of years or in perpetuity will be developed. To help fund this program, call Lisa Stark Walsh at (800) 880-1300, ext. 1666, or (512) 370-1666.

Physician Oncology Education Program  (POEP)   

  • Founded in 1987 by TMA with a grant from the Texas Cancer Council, the Physician Oncology Education Program (POEP) strives to provide Texas physicians, physicians-in-training, and those in training to become physicians (e.g., medical and undergraduate students) with the knowledge and the skills necessary to reduce cancer morbidity and mortality through collaboration among the public, private, and volunteer sectors of the state.
  • POEP has provided more than 77,000 hours of training to more than 200,000 physicians and other health care professionals.
  • POEP has reached more than 21,000 physicians and other health care professionals through 405 programs, lectures, and special presentations provided at no cost by the POEP's Speakers Bureau.
  • Through POEP more than 300,000 educational materials have been distributed to more than 180,000 physicians, health professionals, and institutions across the state.

FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES:  The Joseph T. Painter, MD Fund for Cancer Education were created in 1997 to augment the funding provided by the Texas Cancer Council.  Gifts to the Painter Fund can be directed through TMA Foundation.  The fund helps support special projects not provided for by the POEP's Texas Cancer Council grant.

Of special interest to individual, corporate, and foundation donors are the numerous naming opportunities, including medical student scholarships, and POEP lectureships, seminars, and symposia.  The costs range from $500 to fund one named scholarship for one year to $200,000 to endow a symposium in perpetuity.  Additional information can be provided by the POEP staff and TMA Foundation staff. To help fund this program, call Lisa Stark Walsh at (800) 880-1300, ext. 1666, or (512) 370-1666.

Sample of Past Programs Funded  

Live & Then Give   

  • Collaborative statewide effort kicked off in 1997, joining TMA, TMA Alliance and the Texas Transplant Society in a campaign to raise awareness of the need for organ donation and to urge individuals to become an organ donor.
  • TMAF provided $113,000 towards the project, including $15,000 designated for the effort from the Texas Transplant Society.
  • Distributed more than 25,000 patient brochures and more than 1 million organ donor cards and reached millions of Texans through radio public service announcements and print publicity.

Sample of Past Programs Funded  

Project WATCH (1999-2003)   

The foundation funded TMA's and TMAA's most recent statewide public health project, which sought to reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease and stroke by encouraging more physician-patient communication about the risk factors for the number one and number three killers in the state. Phase one kicked off in November 1999, and the program concluded in 2003.

The TMA Foundation provided more than $87,000 in support.

WATCH stands for the five risk factors--Weight, Activity, Tobacco, Cholesterol, and Hypertension. 

Shots Across Texas (1994-1995)  

Statewide public/private initiative in 1994-1995 that helped increase immunization rates in Texas from 40 to 71 percent. TMA and its alliance took leadership roles in the Shots Across Texas coalition. TMAF funded three educational kits: physician, coalition member, and coalition leader; and a three-month airing of television and radio public service announcements.

Cholera Education In Border Colonias (1993)  

Cholera prevention materials were distributed to thousands of residents through inserts in electric bills, television public service announcements and by TMA Alliance members and health department and engineering volunteers who walked through the colonias.

TMAF staff are available to answer your questions about the foundation or opportunities for giving. Call Lisa Stark Walsh at the TMAF offices at (800) 880-1300, ext. 1666, or (512) 370-1666, fax (512) 370-1642. Or you may e-mail her at You also may wish to visit the foundation booth at TMA conferences.

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