AUSTIN — The Texas Medical Association Foundation (TMAF) presented its 2019 John P. McGovern Champion of Health Awards to a Dallas nonprofit organization that promotes gardening, nutrition, and giving, and to an El Paso medical-student-run clinic that provides health care to underserved patients.
Elizabeth Dry, founding director of Dallas’ Promise of Peace Gardens, received the top award at TMA Winter Conference in Austin on Saturday for its Soup It Forward program. The Paul L. Foster School of Medicine Student Run Clinic at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) El Paso received TMAF’s secondary award. The awards recognize exceptional projects that tackle public health threats and spread TMAF’s mission to help physicians create a healthier quality of life for people across the state.
TMAF Champion of Health Top Award: Promise of Peace Gardens’ Soup It Forward
Soup It Forward has helped more than 150 underserved families across Dallas. The organization enables them to harvest and take home a sack of nutritious vegetables from a community garden each month to make soup for themselves — and to share with someone else. Promise of Peace Gardens provides food for more than 600 people annually, and teaches cooking classes for participants. The program’s goal is to encourage neighbors of all backgrounds to make healthy choices by growing their own food and giving back to the community. Soup It Forward also aims to help children who are on free or reduced school meal plans succeed academically, socially, and emotionally. Soup It Forward plans to branch out to other cities and towns across the country.
“To be recognized by and awarded the Champion of Health Award by the Texas Medical Association Foundation is truly a remarkable honor that adds value and action to our vision of a healthier Texas,” said Ms. Dry. “Let this be the beginning to get Soup It Forward programs across the state!”
“The staff behind Soup It Forward have gone above and beyond helping those less fortunate develop better eating habits,” said Leslie H. Secrest, MD, president of TMAF, TMA’s philanthropic arm. “The program also helps those with better circumstances give hope and develop a deeper empathy toward the people they serve.
“We are very pleased to reward the efforts Elizabeth Dry and Promise of Peace Gardens are making throughout the Dallas area.”
As TMAF’s top John P. McGovern Champion of Health Award winner, Soup It Forward receives $5,000 for program enhancement and a specially commissioned bronze statue.
Secondary Award: Paul L. Foster School of Medicine Medical Student Run Clinic, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso
The TTUHSC Paul L. Foster School of Medicine Medical Student Run Clinic received the TMAF Champion of Health secondary award for providing health care to El Paso County’s uninsured population. The clinic primarily serves residents of the Sparks community, a rural and underserved area of about 7,000 low-income Hispanic families. The medical students visit the Sparks Community Center twice a month to provide care for patients of all ages. The students, led by physician volunteers, conduct blood pressure, glucose, and lipids checks; screen patients for obesity; conduct Pap tests for cervical cancer, and perform mammograms for breast cancer. The health teams also provide health education in English and Spanish. The clinic’s students have big goals — to expand their reach, delivering health care to communities across west Texas. They want to improve health and increase awareness of diseases and conditions that affect residents along the U.S.-Mexico border.
“Funding from the McGovern Award will directly support this endeavor by kick-starting a [mobile] pack-away clinic which will give students the opportunity to expand their outreach to additional sites in need of medical care,” said Richard Lange, MD, president of TTUHSC El Paso.
“With these efforts, the medical students at TTUHSC are changing people’s lives across West Texas,” said TMAF’s Dr. Secrest. “The TMA Foundation is excited to see the clinic reach more regions in the state in need of its services.”
As the TMAF Champion of Health Award secondary honoree, the Medical Student Run Clinic receives $2,500.
TMAF named the awards after the late John P. McGovern, MD, a philanthropist, scholar, and noted allergist who founded the John P. McGovern Foundation in Houston. Dr. McGovern established a permanent endowment at TMAF, which supports this award.
TMA is the largest state medical society in the nation, representing nearly 53,000 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. The TMA Foundation raises funds to support the population health, science, and quality-of-care priority initiatives of TMA and the Family of Medicine.