Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Physicians, State Legislators Promote Good Health

“As a family physician, I’m a big advocate for bicycle helmets and child safety,” said Sen. Robert Deuell, MD, Greenville. The physician legislator put his belief into action by sponsoring a Texas Medical Association Hard Hats for Little Heads bike helmet giveaway in his local community along with the Hunt County Youth Alliance.

Physicians and legislators are teaming up to improve the health and safety of their community through TMA’s outreach programs. Rep. J.D. Sheffield, DO (R-Gatesville), has sponsored three helmet giveaways — two in Stephenville and one in Glen Rose — putting more than 400 helmets on the heads of little Texans. And he plans to sponsor more.

“These events provide an excellent opportunity to give back to the communities we represent, build partnerships with local doctors, and help children play more safely,” said Rep. Sheffield.

TMA physicians, their families, and medical students have given away more than 150,000 bicycle helmet to Texas children. “We want to encourage kids to get some exercise and do it safely,” said Ernest Buck, MD, a Corpus Christi pediatrician, and TMA’s Council on Health Promotion chair. “And, hopefully along the way, we’ve prevented head injuries and saved some lives.”

These efforts also help raise awareness of public health issues, as was a case for a recent flu vaccination event in Denton.  

Glenna Harris, MD, a Denton pediatrician, vaccinated several state legislators on Oct. 1 — the state’s first Influenza Awareness Day. Rep. Tan Parker (R-Flower Mound) passed legislation during the 2013 legislative session commemorating Oct. 1 to promote flu education and awareness.

“When physicians and legislators come together, everyone benefits,” said Dr. Harris, who is vice president of the Denton Independent School District Board of Trustees. “The more elected officials understand our community’s needs, better and more thoughtful legislation will result,” she said.

TMA’s Be Wise — Immunize has given more than 255,000 vaccinations to Texas children, adolescents, and adults since 2004. Volunteers also send the message that vaccinations are important, safe, and effective.

If you would like a free helmet giveaway event or vaccination clinic in your area, email tmaoutreachcoordinator@texmed.org.

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