“We Are Your Support System”: TMA Alliance Installs Elizabeth Vanexan as President
By Alisa Pierce

Elizabeth Vanexan began her presidency of the Texas Medical Association Alliance (TMAA) by reminding TMA members and their loved ones that the Family of Medicine “is always connected” during a speech to TMA’s House of Delegates on May 20 at TexMed. 

Recalling the motto of William & Mary, the Virginia college her son attends, Ms. Vanexan told the crowd that despite challenges physicians and their families may face, “we are one family.”

“Those who come here belong here. You are now part of our family forever,” she said. “That is what the alliance means to me. One group, one circle, one family, always connected.” 

Ms. Vanexan thanked that Family of Medicine for unlimited support as the health of her beloved parents declined. As her husband, neuroradiologist Kenneth Vanexan, MD, had to keep long hours at the office, Ms. Vanexan juggled child and parental care, often alone. 

“My boys were too young to drive, and I often had to function as a single parent because of Ken’s crazy work schedule,” she said. 

Thankfully, TMAA members came to her rescue by transporting her children to and from school and sports activities, cooking meals for her family, and providing a much-needed listening ear. TMAA support allowed Ms. Vanexan to care for her parents in Birmingham, Ala., knowing that the alliance was taking care of her family back home. 

“My medical family saved me,” she said. 

Founded in 1918 by physician wives, TMAA is a diverse volunteer force of approximately 2,500 physician spouses, physicians, residents, and medical students from across the state who work on behalf of medicine through community service and legislative advocacy. 

But the group is much more than that, says Ms. Vanexan. After the death of her parents, Ms. Vanexan shifted to care for her children, while the alliance shifted to care for her. 

“The alliance was there every step of the way,” she said. 

And now, Ms. Vanexan aims to take care of TMA members and the alliance as TMAA’s newest president. Raw with emotion, she thanked TMAA and swore to continue its legacy of supporting its members and the Family of Medicine. 

“We are a community united by a common cause,” she said. “No matter where you are in your medical journey, we are your support system. We will not fail you.” 

TMAA immediate past president and Ms. Vanexan’s mentor, Libby White, presented the new leader with a presidential pin. Ms. White had encouraged TMA members and their families to continue “welcoming back” one another during her own speech to TMA’s House of Delegates the previous day. 

Surveying the crowd, Ms. White recalled how the COVID-19 pandemic forced the Family of Medicine apart during her presidency. 

“As I look back and reflect on this past year, I am amazed at what our county alliances have accomplished and what an inspiration they have been at ‘welcoming back’ their members,” she said. 

By embracing intimate, grassroots efforts like one-on-one meetings with alliance members and small backyard gatherings, Ms. White reconnected the alliance, its members, and Texas communities after COVID-19 separated them. 

Waco otolaryngologist and TMA Speaker of the House Bradford W. Holland, MD, thanked Ms. White and the alliance for their contributions, calling the organization “the backbone of TMA’s success.” 

“Libby, on behalf of TMA, thank you for the dedicated service you provided the past year as the 105th president of the Texas Medical Association Alliance,” he said. “We are privileged to have the alliance as our most dedicated advocate. Thank you for your inspiration, collaboration, and participation.” 

Before leaving the stage, Ms. Vanexan invoked the words of Sister Sledge’s song “We Are Family” and called on TMA members to join the alliance’s grassroots advocacy and support system. 

“Medicine requires sacrifices, and we, your partners and spouses, walk beside you,” she said. “I encourage you and your spouse to be a part of the Texas alliance community. We’re your biggest cheerleaders and most dedicated ambassadors.” 

Learn more about your county medical society alliance and join online.  

Last Updated On

May 26, 2023

Originally Published On

May 24, 2023

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Alisa Pierce

Reporter, Division of Communications and Marketing

(512) 370-1469
Alisa Pierce

Alisa Pierce is a reporter for Texas Medicine. After graduating from Texas State University, she worked in local news, covering state politics, public health, and education. Alongside her news writing, Alisa covered up-and-coming artists in Central Texas and abroad as a music journalist. As a Texas native, she enjoys capturing the landscape on her film camera while hiking her way across the Lonestar State.

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