Jenny Shepherd Says “I Do” to TMAA Presidency
By Alisa Pierce

Shepherd Installation 2024Jenny Shepherd began her presidency of the Texas Medical Association Alliance (TMAA) by extending a “personal invitation to be [TMAA’s] plus one to the party of medicine” in a speech to TMA’s House of Delegates on May 4 at TexMed. 

The tireless supporter of medicine shared that message after years of advocacy across various roles within the alliance, where she has worked with legislators, community members, and physicians to strengthen health care, raise funds for bodies within organized medicine, and better her community.  

Those endeavors earned her the June Bratcher Award for Political Action in 2023, making her the first person to win the Texas Medical Association Political Action Committee (TEXPAC) accolade twice. 

And now, Ms. Shepherd’s efforts have led her to become TMAA’s newest president.  

“There is no better place to be than in the Family of Medicine, and today there is no better place to be than standing here amongst so many of my friends, doing the hard work of Texas medicine,” she told the crowd to resounding applause. 

That “hard work” includes successful events started by the alliance, such as First Tuesdays at the Capitol and the Party of Medicine, where TMAA members and physicians advocate on behalf of medicine to legislators and encourage TEXPAC membership, respectively.  

Ms. Shepherd said those alliance accomplishments, among others, have changed the “entire landscape of how we serve our members and how we serve medicine.” 

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. 

Ms. Shepherd joined the organization in 2015 shortly after marrying her husband, San Antonio anesthesiologist John Shepherd, MD, a decision she noted during her speech that was against her mother’s wishes.  

As a hospital floor nurse, Ms. Shepherd’s mother was concerned her daughter would be burdened by the “unique demands” required of physician spouses. However, Ms. Shepherd didn’t back down from the challenge, and instead placed the worries of both her husband and medicine onto her shoulders. 

“So, to my mother, who said don’t marry a doctor: You were right, and you were wrong,” Ms. Shepherd said with tears in her eyes. “Dr. John Shepherd … being married to medicine hasn’t always been easy, but being married to you has. One ‘I do’ made all the difference.” 

TMAA’s immediate past president, Elizabeth Vanexan, who served both as a mentor and friend to Ms. Shepherd, presented the new leader with a presidential pin as she spoke to the importance of TMAA.  

“We are a powerhouse of volunteers who give back and make a healthy impact,” Ms. Vanexan said. 

During her presidency, Ms. Vanexan worked to strengthen TMA and alliance outreach programs – like Hard Hats for Little Heads and Texas BookShare – and to raise funds for local nursing and medical student scholarships to “support the future of medicine.” 

Those efforts amounted to more than $300,000 worth of donations across community scholarships, Ms. Vanexan shared during her speech. 

Before leaving the stage, she hugged Ms. Shepherd tightly, and tearfully congratulated her friend on her new role. 

“The alliance is making a difference with the help of TMA,” Ms. Vanexan said. “My hope is we continue to go far together, and I am confident, with Jenny Shepherd as the next president, the alliance will take even bigger steps to move forward and support medicine.” 

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


Last Updated On

May 13, 2024

Originally Published On

May 13, 2024

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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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