Texas Student Doctor Newsletter: Spring 2014

Spring 2014

 News from the TMA Medical Student Section

Don't Miss the MSS Business Meeting at TexMed 2014

Join us for the next Medical Student Section meeting at TexMed 2014 in Fort Worth on Friday, May 2, at 1 pm. The meeting will include discussion on pertinent resolutions, Executive Council elections, Leadership Honor Society recognition, and more. Conference attendance is free for all TMA members. 

Elections for the MSS Executive Council will be held during the meeting. Open positions are:  

  • Chair,
  • Vice chair,
  • Reporter,
  • American Medical Association delegate co-leaders (two positions), and
  • TMA delegate co-leaders (two positions). 

To apply for the 2014-15 term, submit a letter of intent and CV to your section coordinator by April 15.

And be sure you don't miss an opportunity to mingle with your peers at the student mixer, Friday, May 2, from 9 pm to 2 am at Whiskey& Rye at the Omni hotel. 

Top of page

 New Debt Management Help for Medical Students, Residents

The Association of American Medical Colleges published a new guide on managing medical education-related debt titled Education Debt Manager for Graduating Medical School Students. The guide is part of the Financial Information, Resources, Services, and Tools (FIRST) program to help students and residents navigate the complexities of financial aid, student debt, and money management.

According to the guide, 85 percent of the 2013 graduating class of U.S. medical students reported they were leaving medical school with student loan debt, with an average debt load of $172,000. 

FIRST’s guide provides step-by-step, easy-to-understand strategies for managing student loan debt and repayment. The resource features detailed information on types of loans, how and when to pay them off, tax credits for loans, financial literacy, budgeting, and credit scores.

Top of page
Apply Now to Serve on TMA Boards, Councils, Committees

Medical student representatives and alternate representatives serve one-year terms on TMA boards, councils, and committees (BCCs). Apply now for the 2014-15 BCC term by submitting an application to your section coordinator by April 15.  

Top of page

 Be Recognized for Your Leadership in Medicine

The TMA-MSS Leadership Honor Society recognizes fourth-year medical students who have actively participated in Texas organized medicine. Accepted honor society members will be acknowledged at TexMed during the MSS Business Meeting, where they will receive honor cords provided by TMA. Students will wear the honor cords at their medical school graduations.

Submit an application to your section coordinator by April 15 for recognition.   

Top of page

 TexMed 2014 Registration Is Open

Register today for TMA’s free annual conference, and join thousands of Texas physicians and fellow medical students, as TexMed 2014 descends on Fort Worth May 2-3 for a weekend of networking, policymaking, and all-around fun. 

TexMed is TMA’s largest event of the year. Stop by the Ask the Expert booth in the Grand Pavilion to network and chat with specialists from an array of disciplines. Explore cutting-edge topics and earn continuing medical education (CME) credit May 2 and 3 at the TMA Learning Labs in the conference Expo Hall. Be sure to catch this year’s keynote speaker, Zubin Damania, MD — perhaps better known for his alter ego and street persona, ZDoggMD.

Practicing medicine today involves a dizzying array of regulations, standards, electronic health records, and payment plans that interfere with physicians’ ability to develop a positive, productive medical culture. In his TexMed General Session presentation, Redefining the Culture of Medicine, Dr. Damania will delve into the ethical challenges of delivering excellent care in our dysfunctional health care system and will propose ways to revitalize it. 

In his new Las Vegas clinic, Turntable Health, Dr. Damania seeks to break down the barriers, bringing together physicians and frontline health care professionals to mend the system and put autonomy back into health care.

Be sure to connect with Dr. Damania before attending TexMed 2014. And check out ZDoggMD’s personal invitation for you to join him at the conference.

For a full schedule of events, exhibitors, lodging information, and fun things to do in and around Fort Worth, visit the TexMed 2014 webpage, and be sure to register today to reserve your spot. 

Top of page

 Mark Your Calendar for AMA-MSS Meeting June 5-7

Pack your bags for Chicago, the site of the American Medical Association Medical Student Section Annual Meeting June 5-7. The meeting, held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, offers MSS members a chance to be involved in creating policy, networking, community service, leadership training, and educational and social events.

Participate in the AMA-MSS Open Forum (login required). The forum allows for online collaboration on AMA resolution and policy creation and is a good way for first-time attendees to get involved. The MSS also has a handy reference guide to resolution writing.

The AMA-MSS reference committee is completely online. That means only one legislative session at the Annual Meeting instead of two. If you want to influence policy prior to final debate, you’ll have to participate online by May 16.

Make note of the following AMA deadlines: 

  • Draft resolutions due Thursday, April 3;
  • Resolutions due Thursday, April 17;
  • Virtual Reference Committee (VRC) opens Friday, April 25;
  • VRC closes Friday, May 16; and
  • Reference Committee report released Friday, May 30. 

Check out the agenda for more information.  

Top of page

John P. McGovern Champion of Health Award Winners Honored

2014 Champion of Health Award

On Feb. 1 at TMA’s Winter Conference in Austin, TMA Foundation (TMAF) President G. Sealy Massingill, MD, of Fort Worth (right) presented the top TMAF 2014 John P. McGovern Champion of Health Award to HOMES Clinic, a medical student-run clinic for Houston’s homeless. Accepting the award (left to right) are Associate Director of Projects Numan Khan, medical student at Baylor College of Medicine; David Buck, MD, a Houston family physician who founded the clinic in 1999 with medical students; and Associate Director of Projects Kristin Tang, medical student at The University of Texas (UT) Medical School at Houston. The top winner receives a bronze commemorative statue as well as a $5,000 grant for the winning program.

For more information about the TMAF Champion of Health Award and TMAF, visit www.tmaf.org.

Top of page

President Obama's Budget Has Implications for GME Training

President Obama’s 2015 budget, released March 4, could both help and hinder the training of physicians. It includes a plan to add $5.23 billion over 10 years to train 13,000 medical residents through a new competitive graduate medical education (GME) program that incentivizes high-quality physician training. The administration has requested a total of $77.1 billion to fund the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in 2015.

The National Health Service Corps would receive more than $3.9 billion over the next six years to place 15,000 health professionals — an increase of 6,100 over current levels — in medically underserved areas throughout the nation.

The budget also aims to improve and expand access to mental health services by allocating $50 million to train 5,000 new mental health professionals to serve students and young adults.

At the same time, there are serious concerns about a proposal to cut nearly $15 million from Medicare indirect medical education payments for residency training costs at teaching hospitals. Funding proposals for the National Institutes of Health would also fall below the inflationary rate for biomedical research. 

Top of page

 Foster Medical School Names TMA Academic Subcommittee Rep

Kathryn V. Horn, MD, joined the TMA Subcommittee for Academic Physicians in January as the representative from the Foster Medical School at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in El Paso. Dr. Horn, a family physician, serves as associate dean for student affairs at Foster. 

She received her medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and completed her family medicine residency training at the Texas Tech regional academic health center in El Paso. 

The subcommittee includes representatives from each of the state’s 11 health-related institutions. This group focuses on:   


  • Representing the unique concerns and interests of academic physicians; 
  • Informing the TMA Council on Medical Education, TMA members, and policymakers on policy issues of importance to physicians in academic medicine; and 
  • Exploring and implementing activities, programs, and services to allow TMA to better serve the needs and interests of academic physicians.   

 Top of page


Cigarroa to Step Donw as UT System Chancellor

University of Texas System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa, MD, a member of a distinguished South Texas physician family, will resign his post to return to the clinical practice of medicine. Dr. Cigarroa will become head of pediatric transplant surgery at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio once his successor is named. 

Dr. Cigarroa is a longtime TMA member. “My father continues to practice medicine daily at age 89, and three of my brothers are physicians,” the Texas Tribune quoted him as saying in an email to UT administrators. “It is time to honor what my parents did for me by returning to my father’s and my first love, the practice of medicine.”

Gov. Rick Perry released a statement saying: “Francisco Cigarroa has been a strong proponent for the university system throughout his tenure, and his efforts will pay dividends for our state for many years to come. It says a lot about him that his departure is tied to his love of his important work saving lives as a pediatric transplant surgeon. I thank him for his service to the people of Texas and wish him well in the future.”

UT officials say they expect it will take them up to six months to hire a new chancellor.

Top of page

Dr. Johnston Named Inaugural Dean of UT Austin Med School

The Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin named S. Claiborne “Clay” Johnston, MD, its inaugural dean. He says he will lead the school in developing new approaches for teaching, patient care, and research that build on a vision to transform medical education and health care delivery.

Dr. Johnston was associate vice chancellor of research at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), and is a practicing neurologist specializing in prevention and treatment of stroke. He began March 1 at Dell Medical School, which plans to welcome its first class of students in fall 2016.

“There is no greater opportunity for improving health care than by building a medical school from the ground up at a top institution like UT and in an entrepreneurial city like Austin,” Dr. Johnston said. “With a deeply committed community, it’s remarkable Austin hasn’t had a medical school until now. The opening of Dell Medical School gives the city the chance to approach medical education differently and more effectively than ever before.”

In 2012, the UT System Board of Regents committed $25 million a year and an additional $5 million for the first eight years to establish and operate the medical school at UT Austin. The Seton Healthcare Family committed $295 million to build a teaching hospital that will partner with the school.

The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation pledged $50 million to establish the school. And it became a reality when Travis County voters decided in 2012 to increase the tax rate for Central Health, the countywide hospital district, and commit $35 million each year to support the medical school.

Dr. Johnston earned a bachelor’s degree in physics at Amherst College and a medical degree from Harvard University. He earned a PhD in epidemiology at the University of California, Berkeley, and completed residency and fellowship training in neurology and stroke at UCSF.

In his 17 years on the UCSF faculty, he served as director of stroke services and professor of neurology and epidemiology. He also directed UCSF’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute, where he helped accelerate research to improve health care and secured partnerships with biotech companies, foundations, and private funders. 

He founded the Center for Healthcare Value to create new models to support innovation in health care delivery and launched several new educational programs. Dr. Johnston has published extensively on stroke prevention and treatment and has won multiple national honors for his work.

At UT Austin, he will become a professor of neurology and maintain an active clinical practice.  

Top of page

 Dr. Fernandez Named Rio Grande Valley Medical School Dean

Francisco Fernandez, MD, professor and chair of psychiatry and neurosciences at the University of South Florida College of Medicine in Tampa, will serve as the founding dean of the School of Medicine at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV).

Dr. Fernandez’s appointment marks his return to Texas, where he served as a faculty member at MD Anderson Cancer Center and Baylor College of Medicine from 1984 to 1997, with an appointment to the faculty of the UT Health Science Center at Houston, as well. 

“I am excited and humbled by this tremendous opportunity to build the UT Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine into a world-class educational center. The chance to build a medical school from the ground up in a region as richly diverse and wonderful as South Texas is a dream come true,” Dr. Fernandez said. “To be part of an initiative like this that will have so much impact is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I’m eager to get started and become part of the Valley community.”

He is first vice president of the American College of Psychiatrists and received the American Psychiatric Association Simon Bolívar award in 2007 for his work in Hispanic communities. He served as chair of psychiatry at Loyola University of Chicago and the University of South Florida. He also directed the University of South Florida Institute for Research in psychiatry and neurosciences. 

“We are proud to welcome Dr. Francisco Fernandez back to The University of Texas family in the historic role of founding dean of the Rio Grande Valley’s own medical school," said UT Chancellor Dr. Cigarroa. “We are grateful to the committee members who conducted an extensive national search for this eminently well-qualified psychiatrist, neuroscientist, and leader, and we look forward to the extremely important role he will play in the medical school’s formative years.”

Dr. Fernandez will help the school’s undergraduate medical education and residency programs attain accreditation by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education and the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, respectively.

The new university plans to enroll its inaugural class in the fall of 2016.  

Top of page

Back Issues of Texas Student Doctor 

Return to Publications Main Page


Last Updated On

May 17, 2016