Dr. James Bray
       Dr. Ghassan Salman
       Dr. Tony Aventa
       Dr. DeVry Anderson
       Dr. Heidi Abraham
       Dr. Elisabeth Potter
       Dr. William Rice
       Dr. Lindsay Young
       Dr. Alex Alvarez
       Dr. Deepa Varshney
       Dr. Taylor Jobe
       Dr. Claire Hebner
       Dr. Jeff McNeil
       Dr. Andy Joshi
       Dr. Georgeanne Freeman

May 2024

Georgeanne Freeman, DO

Family Medicine

“Through the years what gets me up in the morning to go to work as a doctor has changed. These days I most enjoy connecting with patients who want to learn the latest science around aging well. Films and books about blue zones and living to 120 have sparked interest in how to live longer--COMFORTABLY. I'm 58 years old myself and super excited to learn how to age WELL,” Dr. Georgeanne Freeman explains.

Freeman has always been a free spirit and believes in making the most of life and opportunities. Her advice to new physicians or those struggling with notions of how medicine must be practiced is to reevaluate and consider options. “If you like working in traditional medicine, go for it. If you don't that's ok! There's nothing wrong with you. Be brave and explore alternative ways to provide excellent care for patients. It's ok to create your own way, be outside the box if the box doesn't serve you. You'll be a better doctor and have more fun,” she says smiling.

Her views should not convey that she is not a serious physician. The best professional advice she ever received was from her father, who was a surgeon. “He always used to tell me to do the right thing—it has always been the right advice and has always been applicable.”

Dr. Freeman has been a member of TCMS since 2011 and she values many of the benefits. Over the years she has served on numerous committees including Medical Legislation, Public Relations, Public Health, and Women in Medicine. “I enjoy TCMS professional as well as social events. Just last week at a TCMS Public Health meeting, I was updated on public health concerns, plus I was able to discuss a problem I'd been facing in my solo practice. It was useful and enjoyable to discuss the issue with colleagues who are knowledgeable and happy to share their insights.”

When she is not practicing medicine or participating in TCMS activities, Dr. Freeman may be found swimming in Barton Springs or traveling the world.

April 2024

Andy Joshi, MD

Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Pain Management
Pain Care Physicians

What Andy Joshi likes most about being a physician are the constant innovations and advancements in the field. “There are plenty of opportunities to learn and grow with emerging technologies.” Learning is a passion of his and has been all of his life. “I have always been interested in the function of things, how they work, whether mechanically, electronically, physiologically or anatomically,” he says.

Joshi grew up in a small town outside of Shreveport, Louisiana. Both of his parents are physicians. His mother is an internal medicine physician, and his father is an otolaryngologist. Naturally, his family helped influence his decision to become a physician.

Back to his love of learning, it makes sense that Dr. Joshi’s career would begin early. He finished his undergraduate studies in two years and entered medical school at Louisiana State University at the age of 19. “I was 23 when I graduated from medical school,” he says.

Dr. Joshi has been an active member of TCMS since 1996. He is a member of the TCMS delegation to the TMA and has volunteered his time providing physicals to underprivileged students through the TCMS Public Relations Committee. “Organized medicine gives every physician the ability to address concerns in a way which we cannot individually,” Joshi asserts.

As for his interests outside of medicine, Dr. Joshi enjoys ballroom swing dancing. “If I were not a physician, I would probably be a ballroom dance instructor. There are lots of patterns and functional movements and a lot of communication exchanged between the partners. There is both art and science in ballroom dancing.”

March 2024

Jeff McNeil, MD

Don’t confuse success with fulfillment—meaning merely being successful and acquiring material things does not necessarily lead to a fulfilling career or life. Good advice, right? Cardiothoracic surgeon, Dr. Jeff McNeil thinks so—he says this is the best professional advice he has ever received. Practicing what he preaches, Dr. McNeil travels with his family—experiencing other cultures and sites as well as spending as much time outdoors exploring as his schedule allows. In addition, he is passionate about medical mission work. His time in Nigeria with VOOM Foundation has allowed him to aid in the development of a cardiac surgery program as well as provide surgical procedures for the local people.

Dr. McNeil is a cardiothoracic surgeon with Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgeons here in Austin and has been since 2016. Prior to that, he served in the US Air Force for 20 years in a medical capacity. During his military career, Dr. McNeil deployed twice to the 332nd Air Force Theatre Hospital at Balad Air Base, Iraq and was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal with one Oak Cluster for his service and outstanding achievements. He served as Chief of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the San Antonio Military Medical Center (SAMMC) from 2014-2016.

“There are a lot of things I like about being a cardiothoracic surgeon,” he explains. “I get to use my training and experience to save lives and improve quality of life. All my patients are facing very serious medical situations, and I have the opportunity to make a significant difference.”

TCMS factors into McNeil’s career satisfaction as well. “The main reason I am a member of TCMS is that I enjoy being a part of the physician community in Travis County—the organization provides social, philanthropic and leadership opportunities that allow me to interact with physicians that otherwise I would not know.”

In closing, when asked what all new physicians should know, Dr. McNeil replied, “Don’t ever stop developing your skills. Much of what you learned as a medical student and resident will become obsolete or changed within the first 10 years of practicing. The best practice of medicine requires continuous learning.”

January 2024

Claire Hebner, MD

Recently named 2023 Humanitarian of the Year at the TCMS Awards Dinner, Dr. Claire Hebner is a passionate physician with a love for children. The joy she feels for her practice is inspiring.

“There is nothing more complicated, fascinating, and awe-inspiring than the human body and the human mind. Watching a person develop and grow, celebrating and protecting health, AND hanging out with kids--infants who learn in front of your eyes; three year olds who have ridiculous, hilarious and incredibly wise things to tell you; school-aged children who engage with you about sports, new skills, schools and feelings; and teenagers who share challenges, successes, and hopes for the future--is so much fun. And when things get serious, it is an incredible privilege to walk with patients and families in their most vulnerable moments.”

Dr. Hebner opened Lirios Pediatrics: Free Care for Kids in 2022. It is the only free and charitable clinic in Texas serving uninsured children. Since its opening, the clinic continues to grow thanks to grants and donations. “We are a medical home for these children, and in addition to well child checks and care for urgent and chronic health conditions, our care includes prescription medications, labs, and X-rays. We also have an in-house counselor who sees our patients for mental health needs. All of this is free.”

As a long-time member of TCMS, Dr. Hebner values the TCMS/TMA medical advocacy and the wellness programs available to members. “I believe in the TCMS mission of physician advocacy. The addition of the Physician Wellness Program in the last several years has been especially impactful for our community.”

To find out more about Lirios Pediatrics, visit www.liriospediatrics.org.

December 2023

Taylor Jobe, MD

Orthopedic Surgeon
Hand and Upper Extremity Specialist
Ascension Medical Group

“Hand surgery is such a rewarding specialty. The results are often life changing,” says Dr. Taylor Jobe. One instance stands out in his mind. “I helped a young musician regain full dexterity in his hands after a serious injury. Seeing him return to his passion and pursue his dreams was incredibly fulfilling.”

Jobe knew early on that he was destined for medicine. “My training began as a high school student in Austin when I first developed a love for medicine while observing my dad in the operating room. Playing wide receiver at Texas Tech exposed me to the world of orthopedics. Not only did I sustain injuries myself, but I also had the opportunity to observe other players rehabilitate from surgery. I went on to medical school at Texas Tech and eventually found a residency in Orthopedics at the University of New Mexico.”

The Land of Enchantment provided him with a wide range of orthopedic training experiences—including trauma, pediatrics, sports medicine, oncology, reconstruction, and spine. “Ultimately, I found my true passion, the complex area of Hand & Upper Extremity and Microsurgery,” he explains. “This led me to the University of Virginia, where I completed a fellowship under the remarkable mentorship of UVA Orthopedic and Plastic Hand surgeons.”

During his free time, Dr. Jobe can often be found exercising. He enjoys sports, running, and gym workouts. “I find joy in staying fit,” he says. “I believe it makes me a better husband and father, which is my number one goal.”

Keeping his career healthy is a priority for Dr. Jobe as well. “I’m a TCMS member because it provides an invaluable platform for networking, learning, and collaborating with fellow medical professionals. It helps me stay informed about the latest issues in our medical community.” Another important factor in his career is his support system--his family and practice team.  “I’m incredibly fortunate to be supported by my wife, and our three children. Our team would not be able to provide the care that it does without my NP Leah Andrews and my PA Lauren Aseron. In my incredible surgical staff has worked with me for nearly 10 years and makes every day in the operating room enjoyable, and smooth. With people like this surrounding me, it makes the job fun, and I want to do it forever.”

November 2023

Deepa Varshney, MD

Internal Medicine

Being a physician combines two of Dr. Varshney’s favorite activities. “I like that it combines problem solving with human interaction. And of course, what I enjoy most is that what I do helps improve my patient’s health and well-being.”

Human interaction defined is an exchange of communication--and listening is half of the formula. Varshney is a keen listener. “The best advice I ever received is to listen to a patient. They will always tell you the diagnosis if you just listen carefully to them.”

TCMS also provides Dr. Varshney with human interaction—which is one of the reasons she values membership. “TCMS helped me connect with other physicians in the community. I like the social aspect of it as well as the opportunity to learn from others’ experiences and career paths.”

In her free time, Varshney enjoys hiking, baking, and spending time with family.

Currently, Dr. Varshney Currently serves as a TCMS Alternate Delegate to the TMA and is a member of the Women in Medicine Committee. She has also served on the TCMS Public Relations Committee.

October 2023

Alex Alvarez, MD

Allergy and Asthma
Austin Regional Clinic

Being an allergist and immunologist allows Dr. Alvarez to address the source of the patient’s disease instead of just the symptoms—which is one of the reasons he enjoys his specialty so much. “I am able to employ targeted therapies which result in improved health and quality of life—outcomes we all desire,” he says with enthusiasm.

In addition to his passion for his profession, Alvarez is a dedicated advocate for medicine. Each legislative session finds him in his white coat marching to the Capitol during TMA’s First Tuesdays. During these meetings with lawmakers, he voices his concerns on legislation that would negatively impact physicians and patients. “I believe by being involved with legislation at the local and state level through TMA and TCMS, we can change medicine for the betterment of physicians and patients alike.”

Alvarez is also an advocate for TCMS membership. “Organized medicine has given me the opportunity to meet colleagues from diverse specialties and backgrounds, and to learn leadership skills—shout out to TMA Leadership College!” Currently, Dr. Alvarez is a member of the TCMS Delegation to TMA, he serves on the TCMS Medical Legislation committee, and he is a 2018 graduate of the TMA Leadership College.

When asked what all new physicians need to know, Alvarez is quick to respond. “One topic not covered in medical school is personal finance. Identify the life you want, then save for it. Invest your savings wisely and keep expenses under control.” A quote from author and financial columnist Morgan Housel sums it up. “Every bit of savings is like taking a point in the future that would have been owned by someone else and giving it back to yourself.”

September 2023

Lindsay Young, MD

ENT Specialists of Austin

Singing in coffee shops with her guitar, performing in community theater—Dr. Young began her adulthood with a musical career in mind. It wasn’t until she attended Southern Methodist University (SMU) that she decided to pursue medicine. She graduated from SMU summa cum laude with a BA in anthropology and a minor in pre-medical studies and music (with a concentration in voice). After college, she attended UT Southwestern Medical School where she selected otolaryngology as her specialty.

“Being an otolaryngologist is unique in that I can treat an entire family—my specialty allows me to see a wide range of patients in age and pathology and I really enjoy the variety.”

The best advice she ever received is to ‘take care of yourself, because no one else will.” Consequently, she loves exercise (see photo of a marathon finish) and lives a well-balanced life with many interests and lots of family time. “I love the performing arts, live music, travel and running around town cheering on my kids in their various activities.”

When asked about why she is a member of TCMS, Dr. Young says, “I like meeting physicians in other specialties,” says Dr. Young. “I also enjoy participating in the community of organized medicine.” Dr. Young is featured in the Why TCMS video and was an advocate for medicine at the Capitol during the recent Texas Legislative session. She also is a member of the TCMS Medical Legislation Committee.

August 2023

William Rice, MD

Senior Vice President of Clinical Innovation
St. David's HealthCare

 A member of TCMS since 1979, Dr. William Rice started his medical career as an emergency medicine physician. This phase of his career jumpstarted an idea to develop a process that predicts chronic disease exacerbation. He holds a patent to this day for Repetitive Interactive Clinical Evaluations (RICE).

There is no doubt that Dr. Rice values TCMS membership—he’s been a member for 44 years. “Membership in the TCMS is monumentally important,” he emphasizes. “As we see legislatures come and go and progressively understand that the role of the physician is not only to provide excellent, science-based care for individual patients, but also to support institutions such as the TCMS (and the TMA) so they can speak to the public and to elected officials about the science of medicine, the protection of public health, and the leadership position physicians should play based on our unique training, experience and knowledge.”
What do you like most about being a doctor or your specialty/position?
For me, the best thing about being a doctor is that my role allows me to spend time thinking about – and building data tools that support – improvement across an array of important topics in both clinical medicine and the operation of our healthcare system, from cardiogenic shock to the prevention of hospital-acquired infections to optimizing staff scheduling and everything in between.  

What is the best professional advice you ever received?
A beloved professor said this at our medical school graduation: “Don’t forget to smell the roses.”

What is your favorite pastime?
Computational oncology, the study of models of cancer mechanisms.

Tell me about the patent you hold for the treatment of chronic diseases.
Having met Dr. Deming in the early 1990s at one of the last seminars he gave, I was inspired to think about and apply the ideas of statistical process control in clinical medicine. The patent was an effort to apply these principles to the optimization of chronic disease care.

In the late 1990s, when the idea of disease management was still emerging, I was an emergency medicine physician and always wondered why people came to the emergency department when they did. I realized that no artificial intelligence (AI) model could ever predict that a patient with heart failure would eat a bag of salty popcorn on a Monday night during a football game, for example, and that the salty popcorn would initiate a positive feedback loop that would cause progressive fluid retention over the next three days, resulting in progressive shortness of breath — and that he would end up in my emergency department on that third day. I realized that the sine qua non for optimizing chronic disease care was Repetitive Interactive Clinical Evaluations (RICE), which was the basis of the patent. The idea that an AI predictor can tell you who is at risk for chronic disease exacerbation is still useful today, but the key question is “when” (i.e. today, this month, this year, etc.).  The focus of the patent was the “when.”

July 2023

Dr. Elisabeth Potter

Breast Reconstruction and Plastic Surgery

A fervent advocate is how to describe TCMS member Dr. Elisabeth Potter. Patient access to care and animals in need are her hot buttons.

Dr. Potter is especially passionate about protecting modern breast reconstruction from insurance denials spurred by recent medical coding changes. The DIEP flap is a natural breast reconstruction surgery that Potter specializes in, and when access to this procedure was threatened, “I realized I had to get involved in advocacy and health policy. I couldn’t let others do it for me if I wasn’t willing to step up and do the work myself.” Potter was recently featured on CBS Morning News discussing this coding change and the impact it would have on breast cancer survivors. Click on the button below to see the news clip and read the article.

Organized medicine is part of Dr. Potter’s arsenal. TCMS/TMA have been strong allies in her fight to protect the DIEP flap. “We recently sent a letter to CMS signed by 34 patient advocacy organizations, 12 medical professional societies, 231 health care professionals (including hospitals, practices, and individual health care providers). Soon after, CIGNA announced a delay in implementing their reimbursement change for DIEP flaps.”

In her free time, Potter rescues animals—specifically dogs. “I have rescued numerous dogs over the past few years. You can find me doting on my pack of four whenever I have the chance!”

CBS Morning News Clip

June 2023

Dr. Heidi Abraham

Deputy Medical Director
Austin/Travis County EMS

“Do hard things. Stay dangerous” is how Heidi Abraham, MD signs her messages. And judging by her passion for emergency medicine, she’s one to listen to. As one of the first board-certified EMS physicians, Dr. Abraham explains, “I love being a pioneer! Today I am leading a team that is at the forefront of innovation for the entire EMS industry. EMS is now an essential part of the healthcare system, not simply the transport to healthcare.”

Her role with Austin/Travis County EMS centers around telehealth and urgent care. “Essentially if a patient who calls 911 doesn’t actually need an ambulance and an ER department, I’m responsible for their care,” she explains. Thanks to her ability to match the care needed with the appropriate facility, the county has saved countless dollars and labor hours. “We’ve saved the EMS system hundreds of ambulance hours per month, saved hospitals several hundred ER bed hours, and we’ve saved our patients $4 million in FY23 alone,” she says proudly.

Another example of the effectiveness her team demonstrates has to do with the actions of the county’s mental health paramedics. “When one of our mental health paramedics is involved in a psychiatric emergency call, they are able to manage those calls 95% of the time without involving law enforcement.” There are more examples of Austin/Travis County successes—many of which she credits with listening to the medics in the field.

“Empower your subordinates,” is the best professional advice Dr. Abraham ever received. “Many of our best ideas come from the boots on the ground medics trying to solve the problems in front of them.” From their input, Austin/Travis County EMS has developed a revolutionary program that agencies across the country are seeking to model.

The sometimes-frantic pace of the EMS department is balanced by Abraham’s love of music and quilting. “I have been playing the harp since college. I also enjoy sewing quilts for the nieces and nephews—it’s great getting to use the other half of my brain!”

It’s obvious that Dr. Heidi Abraham’s role with Austin/Travis County is fast paced and rewarding. “There’s never a dull moment in this new specialty, and I get the chance to be involved with everything from patient care to education, to relationship building with healthcare partners throughout the community.”

May 2023

Dr. DeVry Anderson

Chief Medical Officer, St David's South Austin Medical Center
Designated Institutional Official for St David's Healthcare Graduate
Medical Educational Program

“Life is about relationships—the rest is just details,” stated one of Dr. DeVry Anderson’s mentors.Through the years he has realized just how true the statement is. He explains, “The details matter, but by strengthening existing relationships with our patients, our healthcare partners and with others who share the environments in which we work and live in—and by enlarging our network of new relationships—we can provide better healthcare to those in our community. We are also able to better understand, represent and love those within the communities we serve.”

As the chief medical officer for St. David’s South Austin Medical Center and the designated institutional official for St. David’s HealthCare’s residency training programs, Dr. Anderson is grateful for the leadership roles he holds because of the impact he can make on the different facets of healthcare—administrative, educational, and medical. “I am able to bridge some gaps between operational components of providing patient care and the overarching responsibility we all share to ensure our city’s public health needs are addressed,” he says. “In this role, I have the unique opportunity to not only serve our patients, but also to develop, represent and serve our doctors, healthcare staff and community members.”

But Dr. Anderson holds yet another important leadership position—he is the current president of the Austin Black Physician’s Association (ABPA). Since 2016 the ABPA has made it their goal to inspire and nurture the next generation of Black doctors with scholarships and mentorships. The organization establishes partnerships with supportive entities to help decrease the health disparities that affect Austin and the surrounding communities—and they do much more. “You can partner with us as a volunteer, as a mentor or as a member! Joining is easy, go to https://austinbpa.org/ and click the JOIN NOW button.”

When the luxury of free time presents itself, Dr. Anderson plays jazz piano, travels with his wife Keiko Anderson Esq., and enjoys hiking, camping, four wheeling and canyoneering.

April 2023

Dr. Tony Aventa

Internal Medicine
Capital Medical Clinic

After more than 20 years with his practice, Dr. Tony Aventa still treasures those moments with patients, “When you’re there at the right time, make just the right diagnosis, and see the relief and gratitude on your patient’s face.” And though he continues to have great satisfaction with his chosen career, Dr. Aventa takes on much more by choice. He is a strong believer in organized medicine and a physician’s responsibility to advocate for the profession and for patients. “I firmly believe that advocacy is the responsibility of each and every physician in Texas. Through organized medicine, our collective voices and actions become united and far stronger. We can move the needle towards protecting both our patients and medicine through legislative efforts—from minimizing prior authorization hassles to extending Medicaid coverage for new mothers and more.” 

Dr. Aventa has held numerous positions with TCMS—he is a past president as well as delegation chair. In addition, he is active within TMA—currently running for TMA Board of Trustees. “We have all heard if you want change—step up and participate. I have taken that advice to heart. At this point in my career, I am ready to help the Board continue TMA’s tradition of excellence.” Specifically, Aventa wants to represent the primary care and independent practices on the TMA Board. “I’m so appreciative to Dr. Gary Floyd and our current Board of Trustees for making the preservation of independent practice a priority.”

When he’s not working or thinking about the state of medicine, Dr. Aventa enjoys family time with his wife and two daughters. Travel, game/movie nights, pickleball and hiking are among his favorite leisure activities. “Someday I will work on finding a hobby, but for now relaxing outside of the office takes priority,” he says with a smile.

March 2023

Dr. Ghassan Salman

Internal Medicine,
Associate Chief Medical Officer
Baylor Scott & White Health

“Make the patient the center of your attention,” is the best professional advice Dr. Ghassan Salman every received. And he strives to live by that advice daily. Specializing in internal medicine, Dr. Salman received his medical degree from the American University of Beirut Faculty of Medicine in Lebanon. From there, he completed his residency in internal medicine at the University of Rochester/ Strong Memorial Hospital. A fellowship in primary care preventative medicine followed at the University of Kansas Medical Center.

When your life’s ambition is to help people, there is immense satisfaction in being a physician. “I work hard to decrease my patients’ burden of illness, and at the same time I treat their families in a kind and caring manner,” he explains. “I treat the families the way I want my family to be treated.” In addition to his practice, Salman serves as the Associate Chief Medical Officer for Baylor Scott & White Health. “I do spend a significant amount of time in healthcare administration—it’s important to support our physicians and advance practice professionals.” Since the value of supporting physicians is not lost on Dr. Salman, it is no surprise that he is an active member of TCMS. “A few years ago, I was sitting with a physician at a TCMS dinner event. He practiced in Austin in the 1970s. He was telling me how Austin physicians have always worked together collaboratively and productively no matter where they had privileges. I tend to believe we still do that and thanks to TCMS, we are able to stay connected.”

Free time often finds him with his family, his interests being travel, reading books on leadership, running (see above marathon photo with his wife), and playing chess.

February 2023

Dr. James Bray, Sports Medicine

How cool is it to be the UT team physician? Dr. James Bray would know—he has held this position since 2012. But his UT loyalties existed prior to this dream job. Bray attended UT as an undergraduate and attended medical school at UT Medical School in San Antonio, so his Longhorn ties are not new. He went on to complete a family medicine residency and a sports medicine fellowship at Moses Cone Hospital in North Carolina. Summing up his current position Bray says, “As a primary care sports medicine physician, I have the privilege of working with not only elite athletes as my patients, but also colleagues that are extraordinary health care professionals. My favorite part of my profession is having the opportunity to discuss cutting edge nutrition, sports science and medicine with some of the most knowledgeable clinicians in the country and being able to convey that to a truly exceptional patient population.”

Being focused on maximizing health and performance, there is no way Bray could avoid applying some of these practices to his own life. His self-professed hobby is measuring his own health activities. “I like to apply longevity data to my daily rituals. When I’m not working, I spend an inordinate amount of time on monitoring and measuring activities including but not limited to sleep, diet, exercise, meditation and deliberate heat and cold exposure. It doesn’t seem to work though; I still am getting older!”  

Dr. Bray joined TCMS after seeing the lengths the society went to during the pandemic. "The pandemic introduced me to the myriad of ways the TCMS supports physicians in our community. When masks were scarce and hard to find, TCMS helped acquire and distributed them. When there was so much speculation and uncertainty about COVID, the TCMS webinars provided facts and were a clear signal in all the noise, so I decided I needed to be a supporter of such a benevolent organization.”

The best professional advice he ever received was, “Always have a differential of three, always do what’s best for your patient, and to live beneath your means.”

Dr. Bray lives in Georgetown with his wife Kendall Britt, MD and their two children.