New TMA President Urges Physicians to Practice Civility
By Joey Berlin

HOD 2018_Curran600x400

Douglas W. Curran, MD, became the 153rd president of the Texas Medical Association at TexMed 2018 on Saturday, urging fellow physicians to do their part to bring back civility to a world full of negativity.

Dr. Curran, an Athens family physician, also pushed doctors to make their own case for patient-focused health care. 

Weaving in personal stories with his own view of the direction medicine must take, Dr. Curran introduced 10 rules for physicians to follow in their quest to revive respectful discourse. 

“It seems like there’s no graciousness anymore, there’s no kindness. … Where has our civility gone to?” he asked.  

His list of “rules of respect” included:

  • Set the example of how to differ without demonizing;
  • Encourage spirited conversations without drawing blood;
  • Don’t interrupt or dominate;
  • Be courteous in word and deed to everyone;
  • Listen and be willing to change; and
  • Show up when you say you will, and do what you say you will.

In a complicated and daunting health care landscape with access-to-care limitations and insurers who “just want to manage your money,” Dr. Curran said it’s imperative to “turn to our association.” He urged members to build relationships with legislators, insurers, and others with a say in health care to help them understand that “it’s all about our patients.” 

“You have to decide how much you will do, and how much you won’t do, and you have to decide how much you can stomach,” he said.  

Dr. Curran closed with a story about a longtime patient who died of a stroke. After the patient’s death, Dr. Curran got a letter from the patient’s daughter, thanking him because “when he left your office, he always felt better.”

“Let’s go make our people feel better, and let’s take great care of them,” he concluded. “Thank you for this opportunity. I won’t let you down.”


Last Updated On

May 22, 2018

Related Content


Joey Berlin

Associate Editor

(512) 370-1393

Joey Berlin is associate editor of Texas Medicine. His previous work includes stints as a reporter and editor for various newspapers and publishing companies, and he’s covered everything from hard news to sports to workers’ compensation. Joey grew up in the Kansas City area and attended the University of Kansas. He lives in Austin.

More stories by Joey Berlin