“I think it’s about time this section is here and I have high hopes for what this section can accomplish.”
That was the message Texas Medical Association President David C. Fleeger, MD, delivered to the Texas Medical Association’s new Women in Medicine Section as it conducted its first organizational meeting Saturday during Fall Conference.
Those high hopes were matched by the physicians who took part in the milestone meeting, where operating procedures were established, interim officers were elected, and some of the section’s priorities going forward were discussed.
TMA’s House of Delegates approved the section in May as a way to strengthen female physicians’ engagement and representation in organized medicine. The section will help develop official TMA policy, programming, and services to ensure that women are well-served within the association.
“We have resources and power as a section now,” said Wichita Falls pathologist Susan Strate, MD, who served four terms as speaker of the TMA House of Delegates. “Remember the power of the House of Delegates. The resolutions they pass often go to the AMA (American Medical Association) and end up being AMA policy. They go to the state legislature and become state policy. That’s the power of having a section.”
During the meeting, Houston anesthesiologist Elizabeth Rebello (pictured) was elected interim chair, and Plano internist Neha Dhudhsia, MD, was elected interim secretary. In addition, Dallas OB/Gyn Deborah Fuller, MD, was elected TMA delegate, Houston ophthalmologist Ruhi Singh Soni, MD, was elected alternate TMA delegate. Arlington family physician Josephine Fowler, MD, was elected AMA Women Physician Section associate, and Plano psychiatrist Sejal Mehta, MD, was elected alternate associate.
After officers were elected, members dug into the issues and priorities they would like the section to address in the future, including the need for leadership development programs, policy on parental leave, gender disparity in compensation and benefits, physician wellness, and public health priorities.
Membership in the section is automatic for all female TMA members, but Dr. Rebello encouraged men to be active participants as well.
More information about the section can be found on TMA’s website or by emailing Melanie Harrison, program manager of TMA’s Membership and Leadership Development, or by calling her at 512-370-1443.