Centennial President's Message

May 12, 2021

One hundred years… what an incredible milestone. Older than the American Academy of Pediatrics, TPS has had a century of excellence, promoting the health and welfare of children, their families and the pediatricians who care for them. 

As part of thinking about what a century of excellence means, I decided to reach out to our past presidents, who provide a treasure trove of knowledge and enthusiasm of what it means to be a pediatrician in Texas and the unique role that TPS plays.  It was wonderful to hear from pediatricians from near and far. Several themes emerged that characterize what TPS has meant and help provide the foundation for the next century. 

The first theme is that of leadership and advocacy, which is at the heart of why so many choose to be involved. Children have no vote, and although they can increasingly have their own voice, we are able to amplify that voice through the work the TPS does. Rick Lampe, MD, noted the important role of TPS in introducing residents to successful advocacy for children. Tammy Camp, MD, wrote about serving as the voice for children in Texas, and Joyce Mauk, MD, wrote about the focus on the most important public health and medical issues of the day. Jim Hoyle, MD, wrote about amplifying his voice as part of a much larger base of child advocates. Janet Squires, MD, described TPS as an accessible and logistically easy way to become involved in state politics and legislative activities… becoming part of a cohesive group focused on the improved health of all Texas children. Jason Terk, MD, described the important role TPS played in legislative advocacy under challenging circumstance and in dealing with issues such as unaccompanied minors at the border. Gary Floyd, MD, spoke about the role of the TPS family in fighting for kids’ programs and for our practices. Over and over again, those who responded focused on advocacy as being a central tenet of what makes TPS such a worthwhile organization. 

The second theme revolved around some of the people who have made TPS great and who continue to do so this day. Of all those people, the roles of Dr. Charles W. Daeschner and Mary Greene-Noble are cited repeatedly.  Although I was fortunate to work with Mary Greene, I never had the privilege of learning under Dr. Daeschner. Drs. Brown, Lampe, Hoyle, Floyd and Surendra Varma, MD all focus on the importance in bringing so many pediatricians into organized medicine and carrying TPS on their shoulders for so long. Of course, I would be remiss if I did not also mention the respect and admiration for Tricia Hall, who has led us so ably over the past seven years, and the rest of the TPS staff, without whom none of what we accomplish would be able to happen. 

The third theme involves just how much talent, knowledge, passion, ability, compassion, and commitment is brought by those pediatricians who are involved in TPS, and who make the job of being President that much easier to be successful in. Dr. Brown said this best and noted how this talent came to roost in the increased preparation and disaster planning for kids affected by the many hurricanes that have hit the Texas coast. Dr. Floyd notes that this is evidenced by great physicians taking care of their patients and their profession. Dr. Lampe notes that the hours and hours of time devoted to TPS committee work serves both children and pediatric learners so well, and Dr. Mauk notes that when she became involved in committee work, she knew she had found her professional home. 

The final major theme from these messages revolves around friendship, camaraderie, mentorship, and family. This theme was mentioned by just about everyone I reached out to. Mike Foulds, MD, recalls with great fondness the many friendships and shared goals as he looks back on his years with TPS. Dr. Hoyle notes the many relationships he had with fellow pediatrician leaders that he would never have had if he hadn’t stepped outside his own practice and clinic. Dr. Squires remembers annual meetings as fun and much enjoyed time to sharpen knowledge and enjoy the company of great friends and wonderful networking. She also notes how much harder it was to get involved when she moved to another state. Dennis Conrad, MD, spoke about the important role of his peers. Drs. Varma and Brown are thankful for the mentorship of so many others. Dr. Floyd summed it up best when he wrote that TPS provides more than just colleagues - it provides a family of people who come together to do the very best for our kids in Texas… the camaraderie experienced through TPS is irreplaceable. 

The past year and a half has presented unique challenges and has been a trying time for many.  It was wonderful to reach out to the past leadership of TPS to learn more about why despite these challenges, TPS continues to thrive in its mission to improve the health and well-being of children.  As we celebrate a century of excellence and confront the challenges that face us today, let us remember that advocacy, the legacy of those who have led in the past, the talent, knowledge, compassion, and commitment that we currently have, and the friendships with each other and family that TPS has become are the pillars on which we can continue to strive for success. I hope that we can gather in person again soon so we can celebrate these themes together. Until then, I’ll raise a glass to TPS and its many past, present, and future leaders, and look forward to beginning the next century of excellence together. 

Seth D. Kaplan, MD, FAAP