TMA Honors Houston Physician, Medical Student

October 4, 2020

Texas physicians and medical students honored a Houston physician and a medical student for helping develop the people who practice medicine, and for helping the community. Family physician Khoa V. Pham, MD, received the Texas Medical Association Resident and Fellow Section J.T. “Lamar” McNew, MD, Award, for his service to physicians-in-training, or medical residents. Natalie Topolski, a medical student at McGovern Medical School at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), received the TMA Medical Student Section Student of the Year Award. The awards were announced during TMA’s House of Delegates meeting, held virtually earlier this month. 

Dr. Pham McNew AwardDr. Pham is an associate professor at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM), where he directs the physicians who have graduated from medical school and entered their final clinical training in family medicine. The physician of 25 years oversees the new doctors’ work at an outpatient clinic. Dr. Pham teaches chronic care management to the residents. BCM Associate Professor Arindam Sarkar, MD, nominated Dr. Pham for the McNew award, calling him “an excellent mentor and teacher” to BCM students and residents. “He’s a real advocate for residents in getting hands-on training,” Dr. Sarkar said.

“I believe in our duty to provide the best care to patients for the present and future,” Dr. Pham said, “and I am committed to pass on our knowledge and experience to the next generation of doctors. I am proud and humbled by the recognition.”

The McNew award, named for a retired Bryan family physician who served in the Brazos Valley region for many years, honors a TMA physician who has provided outstanding mentoring and service to residents and fellows.

Dr. Pham earned his medical degree at the University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. He is a member of TMA and the Harris County Medical Society.

Pictured: Khoa V. Pham, MD, receives the J.R. "Lamar" McNew, MD Award, presented by resident physician Arindam Sarker, MD, who nominated Dr. Pham.  



Topolski MSS Award Ms. Topolski, a third-year medical student at UTHealth, is a recognized leader among her fellow students. She is credited with leading the effort to pass three Harris County Medical Society-sponsored resolutions through the TMA House of Delegates policymaking body in 2019. That set a record for the most resolutions passed in one session by McGovern Medical School’s TMA/American Medical Association (AMA) Medical Student Chapter. TMA House of Delegates Speaker Arlo Weltge, MD, said he supported Ms. Topolski’s nomination because of her leadership capabilities. “Natasha has a well-established track record of accomplishments in the TMA/AMA and bright ideas for the future,” Dr. Weltge said. “She is more than deserving of recognition of the TMA Student of the Year Award.”

“Receiving this award is so meaningful to me as the TMA community has truly become my family,” Ms. Topolski said. “I am so glad that I have been able to give back and hope to continue to do so throughout my career.” She is active in TMA, Harris County Medical Society, and AMA, and she also is a member of the UTHealth AMA/TMA Executive Board.

Since 1998, TMA’s Medical Student Section has recognized an outstanding student member who excels in furthering the section’s goals and policies to improve Texas’ health care system. The section aims to engage students in organized medicine by encouraging their involvement in local county medical societies, TMA, and AMA.

Pictured: Natalie Topolski, winner of the TMA Medical Student Section Student of the Year Award 

 TMA is the largest state medical society in the nation, representing more than 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.


Contact:   Brent Annear (512) 370-1381; cell: (512) 656-7320

 Marcus Cooper (512) 370-1382; cell: (512) 650-5336

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Last Updated On

October 05, 2020

Originally Published On

October 05, 2020