Saturday, May 3, 2014

TMA Elects Abilene Physician President

The Texas Medical Association (TMA) has elected Austin I. King, MD, of Abilene as its 149th president. TMA’s House of Delegates, the association’s policymaking body, elected Dr. King today during TMA’s annual conference in Fort Worth.

“I am honored to lead and advocate on behalf of the more than 47,000 physicians of TMA,” said Dr. King. “I look forward to working with our members to find ways to improve Texas’ health care.”

The Abilene otolaryngologist — an ear, nose, and throat specialist ― described priorities for his year as TMA president.

“Physicians and patients both are challenged by a dysfunctional health system, which tends to drive us apart,” he said. “It is only by working together that patients and their physicians can improve the system and make it work.”

As America’s health care system evolves, Dr. King said he believes TMA must continue to preserve the autonomy of physicians and the integrity of the patient-physician relationship. “We often cannot control change,” he said, “but we can control how we respond. I believe patients and physicians must come together to reclaim health care. Only together can we face the challenge of improving health care for future generations.”

Dr. King expressed concern that physician organizations have been increasingly marginalized in health care policy decisions. As TMA represents physicians who ultimately are responsible for all medical care, Dr. King believes it is critical physicians participate in all medical care and health care delivery discussions.

That type of involvement is routine for Dr. King, who has dedicated more than 30 years to improving the health of Texans. He is board-certified in otolaryngology and has practiced medicine for 35 years. He cares for otolaryngology, head, and neck surgery patients in his private practice in Abilene. He operates a clinical voice research lab in Abilene, and helped to build one of the first ambulatory surgical centers in Texas.

Dr. King is a member of the TMA Board of Trustees and has served as its secretary. He has chaired TMA’s Council on Legislation; served on the Executive Committee of TEXPAC, the TMA Political Action Committee; and served as a trustee of the TMA Foundation (TMAF), the association’s philanthropic arm. Currently, Dr. King is a member of TMAF’s Leadership Society, having donated his time and resources to charitable endeavors the foundation funds.

He is a past president of the Taylor-Jones-Haskell-Callahan County Medical Society and has represented the society as a delegate to TMA’s House of Delegates. He is a diplomate of the American Board of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, and participates in several national and state organizations dedicated to otolaryngology, head, and neck surgery, and facial plastic and reconstructive surgery.

In his community, Dr. King has served as vice president and long-time board member of the Presbyterian Medical Care Mission, an organization that provides health and wellness services to thousands of people lacking access to basic care. Dr. King also is a Paul Harris Rotary Fellow, an Eagle Scout, a past member of the Abilene Chamber Military Affairs Committee, and was named Honorary Hospital Commander for Dyess Air Force Base.

Dr. King received his medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine, where he also completed residencies in general surgery and otolaryngology. Between completing medical school and his residencies, he completed an externship at the Royal Institute of Laryngology and Otology in London, England. Dr. King began his studies at Trinity University in San Antonio where he received a bachelor’s degree in biology.

He is married to Rep. Susan King (R-Abilene), a surgical nurse. They have been married for 36 years, and have three children and three grandchildren.

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