Friday, May 2, 2014

Fort Worth Leaders Honored by TMA Foundation

Leaders Honored for Healthy Now, Healthy Future Initiatives

The Texas Medical Association Foundation honored two Fort Worth health advocates with its prestigious Health Leader Award today. Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price and Project Access Tarrant County (PATC) received their awards during the TMA Foundation’s 21st annual gala at the Omni Fort Worth.

“These outstanding Fort Worth health leaders show us what can be accomplished when medicine, business, and community come together — the health of Texans can measurably improve,” said G. Sealy Massingill, MD, Fort Worth OB-Gyn and TMA Foundation president.

Individual Health Leader Award Winner: Mayor Price will receive the Individual Health Leader Award for promoting active lifestyles and creating a citywide environment that encourages healthy choices. She has implemented many health promotion programs that improve the health of the community. She was instrumental in developing and implementing FitWorth, Walk! Fort Worth, and the Blue Zone urban project.

  • FitWorth is a citywide initiative promoting active lifestyles and healthy habits in both kids and adults.
  • The Walk! Fort Worth Pedestrian Transportation Plan is under development and aims to make walking around Fort Worth safer and more convenient.
  • The Blue Zone urban project is a citywide wellness program with the goal of helping residents improve their health and live longer. Using the Blue Zone Project model, the Greater Los Angeles Area reduced obesity by 14 percent and smoking by 30 percent, and increased exercise and healthy eating by 10 and 9 percent, respectively.

Under Mayor Price’s direction, Fort Worth has become a prominent bicycling community with miles of new bike lanes and trails. She also promotes health and safety prevention by supporting the work of the Tarrant County Medical Society Alliance, who brought TMA’s Hard Hats for Little Heads program to Fort Worth Independent School District and who annually  vaccinate an average of 5,600residents through the Immunization Collaboration of Tarrant County.

“Being a healthy and productive city starts at the top,” said Mayor Price. “I’m proud to be the mayor of a city that is passionate about promoting active lifestyles. Healthy citizens mean a thriving city and a strong workforce.”

Program Health Leader Award Winner: PATC will receive the Program Health Leader Award for providing free health care to uninsured Tarrant County patients. Project Access was created by Tarrant County Medical Society (TCMS) in 2010 to ensure low-income individuals who lack insurance and do not qualify for public assistance have access to care.

Project Access patients see specialty physicians and receive all other needed health care services (hospital inpatient and outpatient services, lab work, imaging, rehabilitation, medications, etc.) at no cost.

Patients turn to PATC for their medical needs instead of using area emergency rooms. To date, Project Access has qualified more than 350 individuals for participation in the program. Currently, it has 160 active patients with an additional 60 patients waiting to be matched to volunteer physicians. These services have resulted in more than $3.5 million in donated health care from physician volunteers, hospitals, and ancillary providers. Other founding partners include Catholic Charities; Diocese of Fort Worth, Inc.; Sid W. Richardson Foundation; and the Amon G. Carter Foundation.

Joe Todd, MD, a Fort Worth orthopedic surgeon who helped get the program up and running, says, “Project Access is about giving back to the community we live in. We have a lot of people who need care in Tarrant County, and this is an effective way to pool resources and deliver affordable health care to folks who really need it."

Past TMAF Health Leaders Award Winners

  • H-E-B and its president, Scott McClelland, who are known for their strong commitment to improve Texan’s health and well-being through community outreach. 
  • Joel Dunnington, MD, Houston, known for his lifetime work to stop the devastating health effects of tobacco use.
  • Gracie Cavnar, the founder and pro-bono CEO of Recipe for Success Foundation (RFS), which takes a hands-on approach to nutrition education aimed at tackling childhood obesity and helping families make healthy eating choices.

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