It's Academic

May 2016 

2016 TMA Academic Excellence Awards Honor Physician Leaders 

Geriatrician Lynne M. Kirk, MD, of Dallas, received the Platinum Award, the top honor in the TMA Award for Excellence in Academic Medicine program, during TexMed 2016 in Dallas.  

The multilevel award program, created in 2012 by TMA's Subcommittee for Academic Physicians, recognizes academic physicians who are consummate teachers, role models, and medical professionals. A physician selection committee chooses the platinum winner from a pool of physician applicants in the gold-level recognition category. Physicians can self-submit applications or nominate others for bronze-, silver-, and gold-level recognition, based on their years in an academic position. 

Throughout her more than 35-year career, the board-certified internist has received multiple teaching awards and served in a host of leadership positions at the national level and locally. She has been board certified in geriatrics since 1990.  

Dr. Kirk is currently the Toni and Timothy P. Hartman Distinguished Teaching Professor in internal medicine and is actively involved in clinical care at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. She is an associate program director of the Internal Medicine Residency program and serves as an attending on the inpatient wards. A former resident described Dr. Kirk as a "role model for professionalism, lifelong learning, and compassion."  

She recently had a significant role in the development and implementation of a major curriculum reform at UT Southwestern and has served as a master for one of its six academic colleges (learning communities). She has a particular interest in geriatric medicine and since 2009 has been involved in grant-funded research on methods for improving physician training in geriatrics. This recently expanded to include interprofessional training.  

Within organized medicine, Dr. Kirk has been a member of TMA for 36 years. She served as president of the American College of Physicians in 2006–07. She is a member of the American Medical Association's Council on Medical Education and director for the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.  

Dr. Kirk received her medical degree from the University of Nebraska in Omaha. She completed residency at University Hospital in Boston where she also served as chief resident. Since 1986, she has been a member of the Leadership Dallas Alumni Association and has volunteered at the North Dallas Shared Ministries' free clinic.  

Dr. Kirk was among 14 physicians recognized by TMA at its annual meeting through the academic award program. A total of 58 academic physicians have been recognized through the program during the past four years.  


Lynne M Kirk MD Platinum Excellence in Academic Med 

Rodney Young, MD, immediate past chair of the TMA Council on Medical Education, presents Lynne M. Kirk, MD, with the Platinum Award, the top honor in the TMA Award for Excellence in Academic Medicine program, during TexMed 2016 in Dallas.
Photo by Jim Lincoln



2016 Recipients Excellence in Academic Medicine 

Recipients of the 2016 TMA Award for Excellence in Academic Medicine are Noel Martin “Marty” Giesecke, MD, left; Richard W. McCallum, MD; Robert Ware Haley, MD; Stephen E. Whitney, MD; Lynne M. Kirk, MD, 2016 TMA Academic Excellence Platinum Award Winner; Rodney B. Young, MD, immediate past chair of TMA's Council on Medical Education; A. Marilyn Leitch, MD; Bradley F. Marple, MD; Lindsay K. Botsford, MD; Neha Mittal, MD; and Kaparaboyna Ashok Kumar, MD. Not pictured: Christian Cable, MD; Carla M. Davis, MD; Lisa R. Nash, DO; and Dana Sprute, MD.

Photo by Jim Lincoln

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New Research Confirms Looming Physician Shortage

Under every combination of scenarios modeled, the United States will face a shortage of physicians over the next decade, according to a physician workforce report released by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). The projections show a shortage ranging from 61,700 to 94,700, with a significant shortage among many surgical specialties.

The study, conducted by the Life Science division of the global information company IHS Inc., is an update to a 2015 report prepared on behalf of AAMC and reflects feedback from the health care research community, as well as the most recent workforce data.

"These updated projections confirm that the physician shortage is real, it's significant, and the nation must begin to train more doctors now if patients are going to be able to receive the care they need when they need it in the near future," said AAMC President and Chief Executive Officer Darrell G. Kirch, MD.

The report aggregates the shortages in four broad categories: primary care, medical specialties, surgical specialties, and other specialties. By 2025, the study estimates a shortfall of between 14,900 and 35,600 primary care physicians. Non-primary care specialties are expected to experience a shortfall of between 37,400 and 60,300 physicians.

These findings are largely consistent with the 2015 report. In particular, the supply of surgical specialists is expected to decline, just as demand for physicians is growing. The study also finds the numbers of new primary care physicians and other medical specialists are not keeping pace with the health care demands of a growing and aging population.

As one example of how patient demand will surpass physician supply, Dr. Kirch cited that in 2014, 45 states had fewer psychiatrists relative to their populations than they had in 2009, despite more than 43 million adults in the United States reporting a mental illness. "As a psychiatrist, I have seen firsthand what it means for patients not to be able to receive the care they need,” he said. “These projected shortages are very troubling and only reinforce the importance of ensuring that all patients have access to health care for their physical and mental well-being."

The report also predicts shortages of general and vascular surgeons will be a serious problem, particularly for older patients. 

For the first time, the 2016 report includes a special analysis of the needs of underserved populations. These data show that if underserved patients had barriers to utilization removed, the United States would need up to 96,000 doctors today to meet patient needs.

To help alleviate the shortage, AAMC supports a multipronged solution, which includes innovations in care delivery, better use of technology, and increased federal support for an additional 3,000 new residency positions a year over the next five years. 

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TMA Council on Medical Education Welcomes New Chair, Member 

TMA’s Council on Medical Education welcomes Steven R. Hays, MD, to a two-year chair position on the council. He has served on the council since 2013. Dr. Hays is a nephrologist at Dallas Nephrology Associates, Baylor Health Care System. He received his medical degree from the University of Illinois, followed by a residency in internal medicine and a nephrology fellowship at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. He has a long history of leadership within organized medicine, including positions with the Texas Chapter of the American College of Physicians.  

The council also welcomes Dana Sprute, MD, to a position on the council. Dr. Sprute, a family physician in Austin, serves as director of the family medicine residency program at The University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School. She completed her medical education at The University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio and residency in family medicine in Austin. Dr. Sprute serves in leadership roles with the Community Care Collaborative Delivery System Design in Austin. She recently completed a six-year term on the TMA Council on Science and Public Health.  

Both appointments took effect on April 30.  

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 Dr. Read Takes the Lead as TMA President

Dallas colon and rectal surgeon Don R. Read, MD, became the 151st TMA president at TexMed 2016 in Dallas on April 30.  

"I am excited about becoming the president of TMA, which is strong because it is a grassroots organization that represents the vast majority of the physicians in Texas," Dr. Read said. "Becoming TMA president is the highest honor of my life. I am proud to serve as the president of the best medical society in the country." 

Though he has decades of experience caring for patients, a different role gave him new perspective about being a patient advocate: the time he spent as a patient fighting for his life. He contracted neuro-invasive West Nile virus in 2005, with encephalitis, meningitis, and polio-like paralysis.  

"I wasn't sure I was going to survive. When you're that sick, you realize how dependent you are on the people taking care of you. And you find out how much you need a patient advocate," he said. "I gained a new appreciation of the need for advocacy from the individual patient's standpoint."  

Dr. Read created a West Nile support group in Dallas in 2006 -- one of the few in the country -- which boasts 200 members and meets regularly to discuss managing West Nile symptoms, as well as those from other mosquito-borne illnesses, like the Zika virus. He also volunteers his time helping and supporting patients diagnosed with West Nile. By helping patients, Dr. Read is following his dream.  

"I knew I wanted to be a doctor from an early age. The other kids wanted to be firemen or policemen. Nobody in the family was a doctor, and I had no idea why I wanted to be one," he said.  

Leadership in medicine has beckoned Dr. Read throughout his 41-year medical career. "I have been recruited to run for every leadership position I have held, beginning with chief of the general surgery section at Medical City Dallas Hospital," he said, where he also served as president of the hospital's medical staff. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the Dallas County Medical Society (DCMS), as well as the society's president, led the DCMS Physicians' Wellness Committee, and served on several other medical society committees over the years.  

While DCMS president, he and the medical society launched Project Access Dallas, a program that provided free health care to uninsured people in the community. Then TMA came calling. Dr. Read served on the TMA Patient-Physician Advocacy Committee (which he later chaired) and as chair and member of the TMA Board of Trustees.  

His plans for the year in office are ambitious, including energizing Texas physicians to be active in advocacy, protecting medical liability reform, fighting for better Medicaid payment for Texas physicians, supporting private physicians in their practices, and helping protect physicians who have become hospital employees. 

Dr. Read started his medical career in solo practice in Dallas in 1978 before partnering with two other physicians to form a group practice. The three-physician group grew to a group of 14, making it one of the largest colorectal surgery practices in the country. That perspective helps him as he serves on the board of TMA PracticeEdge, the association's physician services organization, designed to help physicians remain independent if they so choose.  

Dr. Read received his bachelor's degree from Austin College and his medical degree from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. While earning his medical degree, he did a clerkship with the Presbyterian mission hospitals in Zaire. Following his internship at Northwestern University's Passavant Hospital in Chicago, he entered the U.S. Navy and served as a physician with the First Marine Division in Vietnam, for which he was awarded the Bronze Star.  

He returned to Chicago for training in general surgery and colon and rectal surgery at Northwestern University and at Cook County Hospital. After completing his training, he became director of surgical education at Cook County Hospital and assistant professor of surgery at the University of Illinois.  

Dr. Read and his wife, Roberta, a nurse, have been married for 46 years. They have two daughters, both of whom are professional musicians. Sarah Read Gehrenbeck is music director and organist at a church in Whitewater, Wisc., and she and her husband have two sons, Henry and Theo. The Reads' younger daughter, Alison Read, is a professional harpist in Dallas who performs with several symphonies.  

Dr. Read sings in the choir at Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church, and he has been a member of the Downtown Dallas Rotary Club for more than 30 years.  

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Dr. Cardenas Chosen TMA President-Elect

Members of the TMA House of Delegates chose Edinburg gastroenterologist Carlos Cardenas, MD, to be the new TMA president-elect. Dr. Cardenas, chair of the board of the Rio Grande Valley’s Doctors Hospital at Renaissance, is the TMA liaison to the Coalition of State Medical Societies and is a former chair of the TMA Board of Trustees and former president of the Hidalgo-Starr County Medical Society. He will take office as president at TexMed 2017 in Houston next May. 

In other election results, the House of Delegates:    

  • Reelected to the TMA Board of Trustees Doug Curran, MD, of Athens; Diana Fite, MD, of Houston; and David Fleeger, MD, of Austin;
  • Reelected Susan Strate, MD, of Wichita Falls as speaker of the house, and Arlo Weltge, MD, of Houston as vice speaker. Dr. Weltge, who practices in emergency medicine, is on the faculty at UTHealth Houston;
  • Selected Frisco emergency medicine physician Carrie de Moor, MD, as the young physician member of the Board of Trustees; and
  • Elected two new alternate delegates to the Texas Delegation to the American Medical Association: Longview obstetrician-gynecologist Jerry McLaughlin, MD, and Houston internist Elizabeth Torres, MD.   

Board members chose Dr. Curran to stay on as board chair, and David Henkes, MD, of San Antonio to continue as vice chair. Dr. Fleeger is the new board secretary, and 

Drs. Linda Villarreal of Edinburg and Gary Floyd of Fort Worth are the at-large members of the executive committee. Laura Faye Gephart, MD, returns as the resident and fellow member of the board, and Kayla Riggs, a third-year student at the McGovern Medical School at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, is the new student member of the board.  

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CMS Extends Texas' 1115 Medicaid Waiver by 15 Months

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission announced it has reached an agreement with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on a 15-month extension of the state's 1115 Medicaid waiver. The waiver funds uncompensated care and the Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment Program. 

For more information about the Medicaid Transformation Waiver, read "1115 Medicaid Waiver Up for Renewal" in the October 2015 issue of Texas Medicine.  

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 TMA to House: Reduce Costs, Cut Red Tape, Boost Pay for Medicaid

TMA joined with seven state specialty societies in a letter urging House budget writers to take strong action to improve Medicaid. The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services held two days of hearings last week examining the Medicaid program. Medicine’s joint proposal outlined three broad principles:   

  1. Reduce Medicaid costs through better management of postpartum/interconception care and a more aggressive approach to reducing obesity and tobacco use;
  2. Attract more physicians to the program by directing the Health and Human Services Commission to slash Medicaid's tangle of bureaucratic red tape; and
  3. Boost physicians' Medicaid payments to a close-to-reasonable level.  

In the 2015 legislative session, the Appropriations Committee recommended Medicare payment parity for primary care Medicaid services. The Senate shot down that proposal.  

“We are calling upon you again to champion competitive Medicaid payments to ensure our most vulnerable Texans have access to services they need to stay healthy and productive,” TMA's letter said.

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 THECB Releases Requests for Applications for GME, Primary Care Grants

Applications for the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board's (THECB's) 2016 Graduate Medical Education Planning and Partnership Grant Program are due June 1. The notice of intent deadline for THECB'S 2016 Primary Care Innovation Grant Program is May 16, and applications are due May 31. 

Hospitals, medical schools, and community-based health centers in the state have the opportunity to apply for state planning and partnership grants for graduate medical education (GME) programs. The program encourages new partnerships between applicants and existing GME programs. A total of $3.5 million is available for up to 14 grants at a maximum of $250,000 each. Grants will be issued on a competitive basis.  

The Texas Legislature created the GME Planning and Partnership Grant Program in 2013. In 2015, lawmakers broadened eligibility criteria to include medical schools, hospitals that have previously provided GME, and community-based health centers. Before that, grants were limited to hospitals that had not previously offered GME.  

The 2016 Primary Care Innovation Grant Program provides grants to medical schools for administering innovative programs that will increase the number of Texas medical school graduates who choose primary care careers in the state. Program grant money totals $2.037 million for grant periods from approximately Aug. 1, 2016, to Aug. 31, 2018. This is the second grant cycle for this program, created by the Texas Legislature in 2013.

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AMA Looks at Impact of Single GME Accreditation on Residency Matches

An April 5 AMA Wire article examines the transition to a single graduate medical education (GME) accreditation system, expected to be complete by 2020. The single system will open the door to training for allopathic and osteopathic medical school graduates in residency and fellowship programs accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). The article features insight on what medical students need to know when navigating the new system. 

For more information, visit the FAQ pages of the ACGME website and the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine website.

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This Month in Texas Medicine

The May issue of Texas Medicine features a cover story on balance billing, a matter TMA is studying in preparation for the 2017 legislative session. TMA research shows narrow networks and other health plan practices — not physician billing — are the driving forces behind unexpected, out-of-network balance bills. In the issue, you’ll also find a Match Day photo essay; a U.S. Pharmacopeia proposal that physicians say will mess with an allergy treatment system that's worked for more than a century; problems physicians are running into with meeting a meaningful use objective that requires public health reporting; and a profile of the Texas Department of State Health Services' new commissioner, John Hellerstedt, MD. 

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It's Academic is for physicians in academic settings. For more information about TMA’s efforts on behalf of medical education and academic physicians, visit the TMA Council on Medical Education’s Subcommittee for Academic Physicians page and Advocacy page on the TMA website.

Please share with your colleagues who are not TMA members and ask them to join.

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