1. Report on Board of Directors Meeting on April 5, 2018
I am happy to report that 3 members of the group joined our Board of Directors at the recent Board meeting on April 5. Erica Salinas, a young, bright engineer, who is also an advocate for access to health care for all, Joel Dunlap, pediatric and adult radiologist, long time friend, colleague and strong supporter of progressive, liberal causes, and Jim Dix, neuroradiologist extraordinaire, also long time friend and generous supporter of the group and our mission. I’m really happy that Joel and Jim finally joined the Board, and to see Erica representing the new generation of advocates for access to health care and social justice. Please join me in welcoming them.
On behalf of the the group, I’d like to thank group members Pat Tenner, Anu Gotimukula,Tom Gowan, Leo Lopez III, and Walt Zink who served in our Board for one term, and to Jo Ruiz-Healy one of our original founders, many thanks for all your work and support of our mission since we embarked in this Quixotic journey. The changes in our Board will be posted in our website soon. Minutes of the Board meeting and financial statement available upon request
At the Board of Directors meeting, a proposal for the creation of an Advisory Board was discussed, voted on and adopted. Initial members of the Advisory board are our friends and advisers Juan Flores and Evelyn Delgado. Juan is an expert on Health Care policy and Hispanic socioeconomic and health issues. He recently published an outstanding report on the Latino Policy Symposium held in October 2017 and sponsored by UTSA. I’m enclosing a copy. It’s worth reading. Evelyn Delgado is the President and Executive Director of Healthy Futures of Texas and a strong supporter of the group’s mission and goals. She was a charter members of the Texas Task Force on Maternal Mortality and Morbidity and joined our conversation at our dinner meeting in December 7, 2017, the last day it snowed in San Antonio! Thank you Evelyn and Juan for your continued support and advise.
2. Lisa Ramirez to attend membership dinner meeting on May 3, 2018 at the India Palace at 7 pm:
I am delighted to report that our guest speaker will be Lisa Ramirez. Lisa is the Program Director of the Texas Targeted Opioid Response Substance Use Disorder Unit, at the Behavioral Health Services Section. I had the fortune of meeting Lisa at the recent San Antonio Substance Use Symposium 2018. Lisa will join our conversation about the role of opioid and substance use disorders in maternal and infant mortality and morbidity, and the resources and programs that the State is supporting to address this public health crisis. As you may remember, Lisa Cleveland gave us an excellent introduction to the issue of opioid and substance use disorders in pregnant women and the programs in our community to help these vulnerable moms and their babies at our January dinner meeting.
3. Legislative agenda:
Rudy Urby, our Vice-President has been in touch with Anne Dunkelberg at the CPPP in Austin to see how can we best align our advocacy efforts to advance our legislative agendas on behalf of the uninsured and high risk mothers and babies. A trip to Austin of our leadership to visit this and other progressive organizations in Austin is in the plans.
4. Post Partum depression study:
As you may be aware, post partum depression (PPD) is a frequent and often unrecognized cause of maternal morbidity and mortality. At the invitation from Chris Yanas, I recently attended an introductory Sage Referral Dinner meeting sponsored by Sage, a well known pharmaceutical company and by Donna and Paul Kreuzer who lost a daughter to PPD. Sage is looking for patients for a phase III clinical trial of an oral compound (Sage-217) which has been shown in vitro to be a positive allosteric modulator of synaptic and extrasynapthic GABAA receptors. Mice and early human clinical trials have shown an excellent response rate and minimal to no side effects. This looks like a real promising treatment for women with severe PPD. Please let me know, or contact Craig Hilburn at Sage Therapeutics at 214-498-7157 if you have or know of a patient who may be eligible for the trial.
5. Faith-Based Public Health Action Committee activities:
The activities of the Public Health Action Committee, a faith-based initiative between the faith community represented by Rev. Ann E. Helmke and the City of San Antonio DHS continue. This committee is chaired by Dr. Rajam Ramamurthy and its goal to address the maternal mortality and morbidity issues by working with the faith community in SA. At the recent meeting on March 22 which I attended, target areas such as Districts 10, 7 and 2 were discussed as communities where meetings with the Faith Based organizations could be planned. At this meeting, Liz Lutz and Luis Solis presented the Community Pathways HUB pilot they have been working on starting in SA. The presentation was well received since the community pathways seem to be the way to reach the health and socioeconomic needs of the community. As you may remember, Liz and Luis presented this program at our March dinner meeting.
6. Bexar Health Coalition:
Representatives of our group continue to attend Chris Yanas monthly lunch meetings at Methodist Healthcare Ministries. Thanks to Chris and Ted Fox efforts, maternal mortality and morbidity is now a standing item in each months agenda. Speaking about Ted, His TED talk on “Texas’ 3rd World Health Outcomes aired on March 14, 2018. He’s also applying to be the lay member of the next Texas Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force. Way to go Ted!
7. Other News:
Please join me in congratulating our student member Nicole Michael who has been admitted to the UIW medical school DO program, and in recognizing Matthew Alwyin and Joseph Chang also student members for their achievements and advocacy for access to health care for all.
At the Opioid Symposium I had the opportunity to say hi to Judge Wolf Nelson who remembered us as the group of doctors who supported his initiative to expand Medicaid in our State through the Texas Pathway, 4 years ago. Some of you may remember the press conference he sponsored at the court house where we participated. He was happy to see that we’re still in the battlefield and called us “doctors with social conscience”. It was a great moment.
Finally, our friend Pete Gallego who is running for Texas Senate district 19 will be joining our conversation at the dinner meeting, invited by Rudy.
I hope to see you at the dinner meeting on Thursday, next week. As always, friends and significant others are welcome. Please RSVP by Monday, next week.