This month, TWHC sat down with Tom Banning, CEO of the Texas Academy of Family Physicians, to discuss their work and why being a member of TWHC is important. 

TWHC: Can you tell us about your organization’s mission and work?

TB: The Texas Academy of Family Physicians represents over 8,000 practicing family physicians, residents, and medical students throughout Texas. Our organization exists to help family doctors care for their communities and their patients.

TWHC: Why was it important for TAFP to become a member of TWHC?

TB: Focused advocacy. During a typical legislative year, TAFP may deal with a dozen major issues and hundreds of various bills, in addition to the state budget. Because of all this, our political resources tend to get stretched thin. You’re solely focused on promoting access to preventative healthcare for all Texas women. That focus, coupled with extraordinary staff expertise, provides a strategic benefit and really empowers TWHC to be the leading voice on issues affecting women’s health.

TWHC: From your perspective, what are the primary benefits of membership?

TB: The primary benefit of membership is being able to support a diverse, non-partisan coalition, and leverage TWHC’s expertise and superior reputation to advocate for women’s health. TWHC is making a huge difference for Texas women, whether that’s through educating our elected officials on the importance of women’s health, advocating for increased state funding, or ensuring our various state programs are running effectively and efficiently and serving those in need.

TWHC: Considering the challenges and opportunities facing women seeking healthcare in Texas, why do you think this work is more important than ever?

TB: The trust and reputation that TWHC has at the Texas Capitol is unparalleled. You all are a trusted organization educating legislators and the public on the pros and cons of legislative ideas.

Additionally, there will always be competing interests for state funding. When funding is tight, you need a trusted resource to explain cause-and-effect – what happens if funding is cut, how much more effective the program could be with additional funding, etc. Those challenges and opportunities are not going away any time soon.