2020 Member Spotlight

The Texas Pediatric Member Spotlight exists to focus attention on the recent awards, promotions, degree completions, and appointments of TPS members.

Caring During COVID-19
Are you or your colleagues helping your community during the pandemic in a unique and innovative way? Share your story with us.  Send a blurb or news article to: membership@txpeds.org.

December 2020
Smiles Abound at Helmet Giveaway- Written by Tammy Wishard, Texas Medical Association
A small helmet giveaway in Houston brought immense joy to 15 children, their families, and the event host. The dr-alley-fitting-helmet_hogg-clinic.0920.jpgTMA Hard Hats for Little Heads giveaway at Hogg Clinic was one of nine at Memorial Hermann’s in-school health clinics throughout the Houston area during August and September.

Before the Hogg Clinic event in September, several of the children had been stuck at home since the state shutdown in March, said nurse practitioner and clinic manager Colleen Kimball. The clinic, which serves children aged 3-18 years, knew families were struggling and provided food and supply baskets to some of them in the early months of the pandemic.

When the opportunity to give helmets presented itself, the staff decided to call and see if the children in these families needed helmets.

“As we called the families, we found out none of the children had wheels of any kind,” said Ms. Kimball. “We couldn’t see the value of giving helmet to kids who had no reason for them. Those helmets needed wheels to go with them!”

All it took was an announcement in a church bulletin and on the Nextdoor app for the wheels to start rolling in. Within a month, the clinic had 32 bikes and 12 scooters, Ms. Kimball said. Recycled Cycles of Texas, a nonprofit organization that gives refurbished bikes to kids, surprised the clinic with 17 of those bikes.

Steven Alley, MD, pediatrician at the clinic, was able to get helmets through the Texas Pediatric Society, which collaborates with TMA on the Hard Hats program. TPS provides up to 25 helmets for its members, and TMA matches with 25 helmets.

Dr. Alley fitted the helmets on the children at the event, with families scheduled in 15-minute time slots. “They stood still, as if they were being awarded a medal of honor, with a proud look on their face, while I made the adjustments,” he said.

“Having their name placed on the helmet was the icing on the cake,” Dr. Alley continued. “Their pride of owning a helmet was infectious.”

Once the kids were fitted for their helmets, they were fitted for wheels. Ms. Kimball said some of the kids had never ridden a bike, and clinic staff and parents decided to teach them. “There was a tear-jerker moment where several kids were riding in circles on the basketball court just laughing,” she said.

“Events like this really make me feel like we are restoring some good back in the world, especially in times such as these,” said Ms. Kimball.

Any TMA physician, or TMA Alliance or medical student chapter can purchase helmets for a giveaway. When you do so, TMA boosts your giving power with a match of helmets (equal match up to 50). Helmets cost $7.85 each (including shipping). TMA also has free educational materials in English and Spanish to support your event.

Dr. Alley said the event was worthwhile. “We educated the children, and shaped the way they see bike safety.”

To find out how you can host an event, email Tammy Wishard, TMA outreach coordinator, at call her at 512-370-1470.

Hard Hats for Little Heads is supported in 2020 with a grant from the TMA Foundation.

October 2020
Dr. BakerTPS life member, Carol J. Baker, MD, FAAP, was awarded the Section on Infectious Diseases Award for Lifetime Contributions in Infectious Diseases Education at the AAP National Conference and Exhibition on October 4, 2020.  Dr. Baker is an adjunct professor of pediatrics at the University of Texas Health Science Center, McGovern Medical School. Dr. Baker was associate editor of the AAP Red Book (1998-2012) and member of the AAP Committee on Infectious Diseases (1999-2005).


September 2020
TPS congratulates Drs. Gary Floyd and M. Brett Cooper on their outstanding leadership. Dr. Gary Floyd was elected to serve as an at Large Representative on the TMA Board of Trustees. Dr. M. Brett Cooper was elected to serve as the Young Physician Section Representative on the TMA Board of Trustees. We are excited to have two of our members representing pediatrics on the TMA Board! 

August 2020
TPS welcomed the 2020-21 Co-Chairs! Their term started August 1 - July 31. Several co-chairs attended the Committee Co-Chair Orientation to learn about best practices, leadership structure, and the roles and responsibilities of committee co-chairs. Say hi to the new co-chairs!

July 2020
TPS Member Dr. Michael Hole Addresses Economic and Food Insecurity by Launching Local and National Organizations

In November, Dr. Michael Hole of Austin started Good Apple, a doctor-prescribed grocery delivery company fighting food insecurity, alongside his students at Dell Medical School. For every box delivered to a customer, his team delivers another to a family in need. Initially, the company focused on serving families with young children, and they have over 700 active subscribers in Central Texas. When COVID-19 struck, Dr. Hole and his team leveraged philanthropy, public-private partnerships, and Good Apple's existing infrastructure to launch "Stay Home, Stay Healthy", which delivers healthy food to older adults and people with weak immune systems, while providing delivery-driver jobs to people who lost wages amid the pandemic. To date, the team has delivered over 530,000 pounds of food to over 17,000 people. Dr. Hole is excited to share Good Apple's replicable model with pediatricians across Texas aiming to fight food insecurity. Learn more at www.goodapplefoods.com.

In March, Dr. Hole started Main Street Relief, a national nonprofit helping small businesses respond to and recover from economic crises, like the recent pandemic-related recession. During free, one-on-one support sessions, trained volunteers help entrepreneurs, business owners and freelancers with financial management, sales, marketing, technology and operations. Dr. Hole and his team of over 100 public servants are eager to help private practice pediatricians in Texas keep their businesses afloat in these challenging times. You can learn more at www.mainstreetrelief.com. Please contact him at michael.hole@austin.utexas.edu for questions and interests in collaboration.


Houston pediatrician Teresa Duryea, MD, was planning her first Texas Medical Association Hard Hats for Little Heads helmet giveaway during her clinic’s annual health fair in April, but COVID-19 put those plans on hold. TPS members like TPS Board Member Louis Appel, MD continue to Promote Safe Exercise With In-Office Hard Hats Giveaways.

June 2020
TPS member Kaashif Ahmad, MD, has been newly appointed to the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Newborn Screening Advisory Committee beginning September 1, 2020. The Newborn Screening Advisory Committee advises the DSHS on strategic planning, policy, rules and services related to newborn screening and additional newborn screening tests. The DSHS commissioner appoints members of the committee. Thank you to all of our TPS members who are on the Newborn Screening Advisory Committee. An updated list with the most recently appointed members has not been posted on the DSHS website yet, so let us know if you have also been selected to start a new term on the committee. TPS member, Alice Gong, MD chairs the committee and the group does a lot of important work for Texas babies and mothers. Current committee members are listed here.

May 2020
On May 2, 2020 the TMA board of Trustees elected pediatrician Gary W. Floyd, MD, of Keller, as board chair. The COVID-19 pandemic prompted the action of the Texas Medical Association’s (TMA’s) “Disaster Board of Trustees” to fill in for its policy-making body to elect several top leaders. Dr. Floyd will serve with the TMA President, Diana L. Fite, MD, on the Executive Committee of the TMA Board of Trustees. Dr. Floyd currently serves on the AAP board as the District VII Chair, representing Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Texas. He is a long-time and dedicated member, former TPS President, and AAP District VII Vice Chair. TPS is extremely proud of Dr. Floyd’s national and state achievements on behalf of pediatrics.

The Texas Medical Association Alliance (TMAA) has elected Martha Vijjeswarapu as President. Her one-year term began Friday, May 1. TMAA is the community service and advocacy arm of the Texas Medical Association (TMA), comprising physicians and their spouses and partners. Martha is a very engaged TPS member. She is the current Chair of the TPS Foundation Board of Directors and has served as the TPS Pediatric Office Manager Section moderator for the TPS Annual Meeting. TPS and the TPS Foundation appreciate Martha’s dedication to helping the children of Texas.
TPS is excited for

Kimberly Avila-Edwards, MD as she will succeed TPS member Maria Monge, MD, as chair of the TMA Committee on Child and Adolescent Health. Dr. Avila-Edwards is the Director of Government Relations and Advocacy at Dell Children's Medical Center and a practicing pediatrician. She has chaired multiple TPS committees, is a past TPS President, and is serving as the District VII representative to the AAP Chapter Forum Management Committee.

January 2020
The TPS congratulates Gary W. Floyd, MD, FAAP, for his recent AAP appointment. Dr. Floyd  is now serving as AAP District VII Chair, representing Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Texas. Dr. Floyd is a former TPS President and AAP District VII Vice Chair.  “I really love advocating for kids and talking in the legislature,” Dr. Floyd said. “If we don't speak up for children, who will? We need to do a better job of securing their future.” Read more on Dr. Floyd's passion for children here.  

 Member Spotlights for Past Years