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San Antonio physician will lead Texas' largest medical specialty organization

Better health care through family practice and greater support for medical students who want to become family physicians — those are just two goals a San Antonio family physician set as he became president-elect of the Texas Academy of Family Physicians (TAFP).

F. David Schneider, M.D., will take the post as president in July 2003. Dr. Schneider is an associate professor and former director of the family practice residency program in the department of family and community medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA).

Dr. Schneider said it is important to keep family physicians at the center of good health care. "In Texas, we have many counties that wouldn't have a single doctor present if it weren't for the family physician. But many of these doctors are having a hard time keeping their doors open financially," Dr. Schneider said. "One of my goals is to advocate for family physicians in terms of medical resources. The easier we can make medicine to practice, the better the access to physicians for our patients." This includes tackling the current malpractice crisis. Malpractice premiums for the practicing physician have skyrocketed over the past couple of years, for some going up to more than $100,000 annually, making it financially impossible for some doctors to afford to practice.

Dr. Schneider also wants to remedy a nationwide decline in the number of students who enter family practice. "Medical students graduate with an average debt of approximately $100,000. The reimbursement for family practice is comparatively low," Dr. Schneider said. "We need to look at ways of alleviating some of this debt to make family medicine more attractive for students to practice."

The TAFP is the largest medical specialty organization in the state of Texas. It works to improve the health of patients and families through family practice.

Contact: Amanda Gallagher or Aileen Salinas