May 22, 2019
TMA Health Hero Winner Joseph H. Segapeli, MD, cooking at a community event.
Joseph H. Segapeli, MD, an El Paso pediatrician, was named a Health Hero Saturday by the Texas Medical Association (TMA) for his commitment to improving the health of his community. Dr. Segapeli was honored with the third annual award last week during TexMed, TMA’s annual conference, in Dallas.
The award recognizes TMA members who have led and participated in all three of TMA’s flagship outreach programs: Be Wise — ImmunizeSM, a program to educate about vaccinations and improve vaccination rates in Texas; Hard Hats for Little Heads, a bike helmet giveaway program; and Walk With a Doc Texas (WWAD), part of a national grassroots movement devoted to encouraging healthy physical activity. TMA’s Council on Health Promotion presents the award as part of its oversight of TMA’s outreach programs, along with the TMA Foundation (TMAF), which funds them.
“I am excited and pleased to be recognized for what I love to do,” said Dr. Segapeli. “I really enjoy seeing our patients outside of the office in a more casual setting.”
TMA recognized El Paso Pediatric Associates, along with Dr. Segapeli. Together, they have sponsored a monthly WWAD event since January 2018, as well as annual Hard Hats and Be Wise events. All the physicians at the clinic’s Saddle Bronc location in east El Paso – Drs. Segapeli, Rana N. Kronfol, and Scott K. Coleman – have participated in the events.
While the clinic treats children, the events address the health and wellness of the entire family, said Roger Hovis, operations manager at the medical practice. Many of the clinic’s patients are lower-income, either insured by Medicaid or their parents don’t have insurance, he said. The annual flu shot clinics are open to siblings and parents so they can get vaccinated against flu, too. The whole family is invited to the walks, and during the Hard Hats giveaways parents are educated along with the kids about the importance of wearing helmets while riding bikes or participating in other sports on wheels.
“Our events help raise the conversation about bike safety and the importance of flu vaccinations for the whole family,” said Mr. Hovis. The bonus, he said, is simply being outside together while walking and having a good time, rather than just seeing patients when they are sick.
Dr. Segapeli echoed that. “It’s great to spend time with our patients and their families, having fun together, and sharing information about health,” he said. “We’re here to treat our young patients’ illnesses, but it’s good to have conversations about prevention when everyone is healthy and happy.”
Dr. Segapeli, a TMA member for 31 years, has been with El Paso Pediatric Associates since 1987. He completed medical school at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and completed his pediatric residency at William Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso. Before coming to El Paso, Dr. Segapeli was a pediatrician with the U.S. Army.
Dr. Segapeli actively volunteers at Special Olympics events in El Paso throughout the year, and has supported Desert Valley 4-H for many years.
The TMA Foundation, TMA’s philanthropic arm, is committed to connecting the charitable concerns of physicians with the people of Texas. The three TMAF-funded outreach initiatives Dr. Segapeli hosts enable physicians to give back to their community and help support TMA’s mission to “improve the health of all Texans.”
Dr. Segapeli joins seven other physicians who have received the distinction of TMA Health Hero in 2017 and 2018.
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.
TMA Contacts: Brent Annear (512) 370-1381; cell: (512) 656-7320; email: brent.annear[at]texmed[dot]org
Marcus Cooper (512) 370-1382; cell: (512) 650-5336; email: marcus.cooper[at]texmed[dot]org
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