October 22, 2019
Residents of eight Texas counties will benefit from nearly $22,500 in Texas Medical Association Foundation (TMAF) grant funding to help them live better, healthier lives. TMAF recently awarded funds to four county medical societies and three county chapters of the TMA Alliance (a volunteer, community service and advocacy organization comprising physicians, spouses, and partners). They will spend the money to vaccinate underserved Texans, fight bullying, reduce opioid misuse, and provide health care to people in need.
The Anderson-Leon County Medical Society received a grant of $3,750 for flu shots for children. From left to right: TMA Foundation board member Deborah Pitts; and Grapeland Immunization Project representatives Tonya Solis, MD; and Melissa Cobb.
People in Bexar, Houston, Lamar, Lubbock, Nueces, Smith, Tarrant, and Wood counties will benefit from the funding. The money comes from TMAF’s Medical Community Grants program, which funds health improvement initiatives that increase people’s access to health care in local communities.
“The TMA Foundation is pleased to partner with these award recipients to positively impact the health of Texans in communities across the state,” said Susan Pike, MD, president of TMAF, TMA’s philanthropic arm. “We believe these projects will help local residents avoid preventable illnesses and improve overall health and well-being – and strengthen community collaboration.”
This year’s grant recipients:
- Flu shots for children. The Anderson-Leon County Medical Society received a grant of $3,750 to provide flu vaccinations to Grapeland (in Houston County) school students through its Grapeland Immunization Project. Volunteers will give flu shots to students who don’t have local access to health care, so they can stay healthy and avoid missing school because of illness during flu season.
- Anitibullying campaign. The Bexar County Medical Society Alliance received $2,500 in TMAF grant funding for a campaign to reduce bullying and build self-esteem among children with craniofacial deformities, birth defects of the face or head such as a cleft palate. The program will provide information to children and their families when they undergo treatment for this medical condition. Additional outreach to the patients’ peers will aim to reduce teasing and social exclusion, which can lead to depression and low self-esteem.
- Pneumonia vaccinations for lower-income residents. The Lubbock County Medical Society Alliance, as a member of the South Plains Immunization Network, was awarded $2,226 to provide pneumonia vaccinations to clients of the South Plains Food Bank. Volunteers will give qualifying clients the vaccine during the food bank’s annual flu drive. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends pneumococcal vaccination (the shot to protect against pneumonia) for people aged 65 years and older or those with chronic medical conditions.
- Opioid misuse awareness and support. The Nueces County Medical Society Alliance will use its $5,000 in funding to help battle opioid misuse in the county. The alliance aims to raise awareness of the dangers of opioid use and offer support to those who are addicted by hosting a symposium, creating a local task force for community collaboration, and educating high school students about the dangers of drug use.
- Vaccines on the road. The Smith County Medical Society received $4,000 to help the Northeast Texas Public Health District (NET Health) expand its services through Health on Wheels, a new mobile program to provide health care. With these funds, caregivers will give shots to children and adults in Wood County and rural Smith County.
- Health care for underserved patients. The Tarrant County Medical Society was awarded $2,500 to support its Project Access Tarrant County, a program that provides specialty and surgical medical services to low-income, uninsured county residents. Physician members of the county medical society volunteer their time to provide the medical care.
Each year, local medical societies or alliance chapters may apply for up to $7,500 in matching funds from the TMAF Medical Community Grants program. The TMA Foundation Board approved the grant funding during its meeting at TMA Fall Conference in September.
Since 1998, TMAF has granted nearly $700,000 to health improvement initiatives through the Medical Community Grants program.
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 is a 501(c)(3) organization that raises funds to support the population health, science, and quality-of-care priority initiatives of TMA and the Family of Medicine.
Contact: Brent Annear (512) 370-1381; cell: (512) 656-7320
Marcus Cooper (512) 370-1382; cell: (512) 650-5336
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