CALL FOR MUSICAL PHYSICIANS: Join Fort Worth’s First Medical Orchestra

by Allison Howard

This article was originally published in the July/August 2022 issue of the Tarrant County Physician. You can read find the full magazine here.

Physicians, dust off your instruments—Fort Worth’s first medical orchestra is looking for healthcare workers who have a dual passion for music and medicine.

The group, which is being organized by retired physical therapist and flautist Susan Fain, is expected to begin rehearsing this fall.  While the details are still being ironed out, Susan says that everything is falling into place.

“We are collaborating and negotiating for a space, conductors, and music,” she says.  “And it looks really good.”

Susan, who holds doctoral degrees in both physical therapy and flute performance, was first inspired about 10 years ago when she heard the Doctors Orchestral Society of New York. She soon discovered there were over 30 such orchestras throughout the U.S., and she saw it as the perfect opportunity to marry her passions.

“In medicine you’re helping people, and in music, you really are helping people,” she says. “You’re helping yourself, learning to create, and all of that discipline is across both professions.”

She believes this could be a step toward work-life balance for those who love sharing music with others but have set their instruments aside due to lack of opportunity. Now, she is ready to create that opportunity, and she is thrilled to do so in a city that is rife with a passion for the arts.

Susan, whose career was divided between practicing physical therapy, pursuing music, and raising her five children, has played flute in both civic and professional orchestras. And her experience organizing events and groups is extensive, ranging from planning classical concerts to putting together a small orchestra (where she served as the conductor!). Now, retired from physical therapy and ready to devote herself fully to her love of music, she is thrilled to start this next endeavor.  

“I want to be like Esther – ‘You might have been born for such a time as this,’” Susan says. “To bring the two halves of my life together and make them both count.”

It seems she isn’t the only one that feels that way. As the word spreads there has been a lot of interest; so far, 10 instrumentalists have committed to the orchestra, and more have expressed a desire to get involved. 

Ultimately, Susan’s goal is to form a full orchestra that will perform a handful of concerts each year to raise support for local charities. She believes it will enrich the community and be a chance to cut through much of the noise created by the constant challenges in the practice of medicine.

“Performing is like creating an oasis for the audience,” she says. “This is a moment where you can forget the outside world, and all the things going on in society that we struggle with, and we can sit for a moment and just stop and reflect on truth and beauty. That, to me, is what it’s all about.”

For more information about the Fort Worth Medical Orchestra, contact Susan Fain at sdfain1@gmail.com or 405-830-2107. 

Fort Worth OB/GYN: More parents seeking birth control for young patients

TCMS President Dr. Shanna Combs spoke with Andrea Lucia of CBSDFW about the rising rates of birth control requests in light of the recent Supreme Court ruling. Here is an excerpt:

Politics is not something Doctor Shanna Combs brings up with patients.

Increasingly, though, it is something they bring up with her.

“It was a little disconcerting at first in September when I started having parents be like, ‘So… Senate Bill 8,'” she said chuckling.

Dr. Combs is an OBGYN who specializes in treating children and adolescents. She’s long prescribed birth control to help manage their periods.

“It can make them lighter. It can make them less painful and, you know, basically make life livable if you have really bad periods,” she said.

You can find the full interview here.

TCU Medical Student Receives Award for Advocacy Work with AMA

By Prescotte Stokes III

Published by TCU School of Medicine on May 17, 2022. You can find the original here.

 TCU School of Medicine student Anand Singh received the New Member Outstanding Involvement Award in AMA-MSS Region 3 by the American Medical Association – Medical Student Section.

In his role as the Co-Advocacy Chair of AMA-MSS Region 3 that includes medical schools in Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas, the first-year medical student has helped organize nationwide campaigns for the organization.

“I was extremely honored to receive this award alongside other incredible leaders in AMA-MSS Region 3,” Singh said. “Receiving this award inspires me to continue growing my involvement in the AMA-MSS and be an advocate for medical students, physicians, and patients.”

Singh has been a part of the MSS Region 3 Resolution Review Committee, the Logistics and Resources committee for the AMA-MSS N-21 Conference and the Committee on Legislation and Advocacy (COLA) since 2021. He was also one of the authors on four different resolutions presented at the AMA N-21 Conference held in November 2021.

“Through the Texas Medical Association (TMA)-MSS, I was part of the Ad-Hoc Committee to review resolutions for TexMed 2022 and I was primary author for one resolution and helped draft two other resolutions,” Singh said.

Singh is the current AMA delegate for the TCU School of Medicine. During National Advocacy week in October 2021, he helped organize a “Call Your Rep” event as well as social events to increase AMA engagement at the medical school. He also attends monthly Tarrant County Medical Society meetings to provide updates about the medical school, the AMA-MSS and TMA-MSS chapters he’s involved in.

“It really gives me the opportunity to connect and build relationships with local physicians in Fort Worth and all across North Texas,” said Singh. “I believe that there is power in a collective voice and organized medicine provides medical students and physicians the opportunity to advocate for change on a local, regional, and national level. This motivates me to work harder and give back by mentoring other students to find their voice through the AMA-MSS on healthcare advocacy topics they are passionate about.”

TCU Medical Student Launches Barbershop Talk Therapy in Fort Worth

Antonio Igbokidi, a second-year medical student at TCU School of Medicine, brings Black men together to discuss mental health at a Fort Worth barbershop.

By Prescotte Stokes III

Originally published by TCU School of Medicine on May 10, 2022.

Creating a space for African American men to come together and have open dialogue about mental health is something that Antonio Igbokidi, a second-year medical student at TCU School of Medicine, had been trying to organize since he arrived in Fort Worth in July 2020.

However, he didn’t want to use a random space for this kind of communal gathering. He wanted it to be a place where Black men could let their guard down and speak freely. Igbokidi turned to a place that has been one of the cornerstones of the African American community since the early 19th century, a barbershop.

“When I think about my childhood and my dad he spoke a lot more at the barbershop than he did at home,” Igbokidi said.

Igbokidi held his first Barbershop Talk Therapy session at Lake Como House of Fades Barbershop in Fort Worth in April. The event was done in collaboration with the Fort Worth ISD Family Action Center.

Igbokidi, who serves as the as the National Diversity Research Committee Co-Chairperson for the Student National Medical Association (SNMA), wanted the men involved to come out of the session feeling a sense of camaraderie.

“It’s all about figuring out ways to get men of color to have raw, vulnerable and organic conversations about mental health,” Igbokidi said. “Figuring out how to destigmatize and demystify mental health.”

Igbokidi was joined by members of the TCU School of Medicine SNMA Chapter as well as Brian Dixon, M.D., assistant professor at TCU School of Medicine.

Dr. Dixon is a psychiatrist with his own private practice in Fort Worth. He helped guide the discussion among the two dozen of men that came to the barbershop.

“It’s always fun to be in the classroom but to see one of my students actually out in the community doing some amazing work connecting people is amazing,” Dr. Dixon said.

For two hours, Igbokidi and Dr. Dixon, led the discussion where the participants talked freely about issues among Black men, young and old, in their community. The group shared their thoughts on crime, love, relationships, fatherhood, jobs and more.

“As a psychiatrist I’ve heard a lot in my day,” Dr. Dixon said. “But today was really poignant because it came from Black men and people who look like me. I’m really glad that they were felt safe enough to be in this space and share and that they trusted me with that honesty.”

Igbokidi also collaborated with the Black Heart Association to offer free screening for cardiovascular disease for anyone attending the session. Michael and Tara Robinson, co-founders of the Black Heart Association, were happy to be a part of something to help ease the hearts and minds of Black men.

“Everything flows through the heart whether it be mental or emotional,” Michael said. “As African American men we’re raised in a culture where we’re taught to be strong. Even as young boys there’s not a space for us to have safe conversations and be vulnerable.”

The men were able to get their glucose levels, cholesterol, blood pressure and risk of heart disease checked. The Black Heart Association has a mobile heart center where they go to barbershops, and other places, around Tarrant and Dallas Counties and offer free screenings for heart disease.

“We know that mental health plays a part in heart disease so this event was like the perfect marriage between what we do and what Toni is doing,” Tara said.

Igbokidi plans to continue the mental health sessions with his next stop being in the historic Stop 6 neighborhood in Fort Worth.

“I’ll have these same conversations whether or not they are larger or smaller,” Igbokidi said. “Just being able to have these conversations is going to bring healing. It’s going to bring understanding and it’s going to allow the communities to become stronger.”

HRSA Reopens Reporting Time for Period 1 Provider Relief Fund Recipients

Due largely to AMA and specialty society advocacy, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has decided to reopen the reporting time for recipients of Period 1 Provider Relief Funds.

Those physicians who received more than $10,000 in provider relief funds and failed to submit their period 1 report should act immediately. Between Monday, April 11 and Friday, April 22, 2022, at 11:59 pm ET, physicians who have not submitted their Period 1 report may submit a late Reporting Period 1 report request. Physician practices should receive information about how to submit a request directly from HRSA via email.

If a physician did not submit a Period 1 report and does not hear from HRSA, they may initiate communication by calling (866) 569-3522. During this reopening period, the physician must choose an extenuating circumstance(s) that prevented compliance with the original reporting deadline. While attesting to an extenuating circumstance is required, no supporting document or proof is required.

If HRSA approves the extenuated circumstances form, the physician will receive a notification to proceed with completing the Reporting Period 1 report shortly thereafter. They will have 10 days from the notification receipt date to submit the late Period 1 report in the PRF Reporting Portal. 

Texas Launches $23 Million Substance Use Disorder Prevention Campaign

By Joey Berlin

Federal data estimate that during 2020, more than 11 million Texans were living with substance use disorder. A new $23 million public awareness campaign from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) is aiming to keep that number from growing.

The campaign, which HHSC announced in a March 8 release, will focus on “reducing stigma, building community connection and resilience, and changing social norms to prevent substance use.”

HHSC awarded contracts totaling $23.2 million to two entities as part of the campaign:

  • $16.7 million to FleishmanHillard, a public relations and marketing agency, which will focus the campaign on Texas youth, young adults, and families who are most at risk, as well as community leaders who can reach them; and
  • $6.5 million to the Center for Health Communication at The University of Texas at Austin to develop an interactive digital tool to improve the referral process for existing substance use disorder treatment, prevention, and recovery services, and to conduct research to support messaging for the prevention campaign.

HHSC says the campaign aims to reach about 2.5 million Texans. The funds are coming from nearly $253 million HHSC received in federal substance abuse prevention and treatment funds during 2021, including from the American Rescue Plan Act.

This article was originally published by the Texas Medical Association on March 15, 2022.

TCU Medical Student and TMA/TCMS Member Anand Singh Elected to AMA Student Board

By Prescotte Stokes III

Read the original article here.

The American Medical Association-Medical Student Section (AMA-MSS) Region 3 executive board recently elected Anand Singh, a first-year medical student at TCU School of Medicine to serve as the Co-Advocacy Chair.

The AMA-MSS Region 3 includes medical schools in Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas.

“My job is to learn about what different health care policies are being passed in these different states,” Singh said. “And spread that news and raise awareness among medical students because as we all know these policies impact everyone from students to physicians and patients.”

Singh will oversee the Region 3 advocacy committee and lead advocacy initiatives to engage region chapters.

He will also work with the Advocacy Subcommittee of the Committee on Legislation and Advocacy (COLA) to help our region engage with events like National Advocacy Week (NAW) and the Medical Student Advocacy Conference (MAC). He will also support the Membership Chair and Secretary in reaching out to local chapters to highlight advocacy endeavors and provide advocacy updates in AMA-MSS Region 3 monthly newsletters.

“Policy writing is very niche and not every physician has to do that but the way this connects with the medical school is how they teach us to be an advocate for your patients,” Singh said. “And growing that idea on a larger scale its advocating for your population. Not only talking to physicians you’re talking to legislative members, congress members and kind of impact a larger audience that’s a really great opportunity as future physicians.”

The Medical Student Section (MSS) aims to be a voice for medical students’ across the AMA to help improve medical education and advocating for the future of medicine.

Join Forum TOMORROW Addressing the Impact of Political Polarization on Healthcare

Tomorrow, Feb. 19, 2022, the Tarrant County Academy of Medicine Ethics Consortium, in partnership with the Tarrant County Medical Society, will host their annual Healthcare in a Civil Society symposium.  This year’s program, “Polarization and the Erosion of Public Trust in Healthcare,” is an interactive event that takes an in-depth look at the impact of political polarization on healthcare.

“Our nation is beset by radical polarization,” says Stuart Pickell, MD, TCMS president-elect and chair of the consortium. “Historically, healthcare policy has been one topic on which we have been able to find common ground. What happened to transform it from something broadly bipartisan to incredibly divisive? This event will explore how we got to this point and begin to chart a path forward.”

The goal is to engage leaders of all perspectives in a civil conversation centered on the healthcare issues that are important to the Tarrant County community without the rhetoric that often undermines these conversations. This hybrid in-person/Zoom event will be held at the UNT Health Science Center from 8:30am to 1:00pm and provides continuing education credit for multiple healthcare disciplines.

While this symposium highlights discourse between community leaders, anyone who is interested in this critical topic is welcomed and encouraged to join the conversation. Those who are interested in participating can register here.

The event includes a breakout session allowing participants to explore the issues more deeply in small groups. A number of topics will be addressed, including:

  • How the media can influence public opinion and promote polarization
  • The impact of polarization on the public trust and public health
  • How polarization creates conflict (e.g., in how people refer to science as an absolute) and how to manage it
  • How people in health care professions can mitigate the effects of polarization within their spheres of influence when talking with patients

The event will be moderated by former congressman and current Sid Richardson Foundation President Pete Geren, who will be joined by panelists Bob Lanier, MD; Erin Carlson, DrPH, MPH; Tracey Rockett, PhD; and TCMS Secretary-Treasurer Triwanna Fisher-Wickoff, MD. The keynote speaker will be public affairs consultant and presidential historian Kasey S. Pipes, and the event will also feature Dr. Pickell and UNT System Chancellor Michael Williams, DO, MD, MBA.

The Tarrant County Medical Society is a professional organization that has been dedicated to the improvement of the art and science of medicine for the residents of Tarrant County since 1903. TCMS serves over 4,000 physicians, residents, medical students, and Alliance members, and is a component society of the Texas Medical Association.

Tarrant County Academy of Medicine was incorporated as a 501(c) (3) organization in 1953 to work in conjunction with the Tarrant County Medical Society. TCAM was created to enhance medical education, support community wellness, and preserve Tarrant County’s rich medical history.

CDC Approves Moderna Adult COVID-19 Vaccine

Moderna’s adult COVID-19 vaccine has now earned full approval following recommendation’s from both the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) immunization panel.

On Feb. 4, after CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices unanimously voted to recommend Moderna’s two-shot series, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, quickly endorsed that recommendation.

“If you have been waiting for approval before getting vaccinated, now is the time to join the nearly 212 million Americans who have already completed their primary series,” Dr. Walensky said in an agency statement. “CDC continues to recommend that people remain up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines, including getting a booster shot when eligible.”

The adult version of the Moderna vaccine is for people aged 18 and older. Pfizer’s two-shot vaccine, which was granted full approval in August 2021, is for use in people 16 and older.

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