History of TOMA

The nonprofit, Austin-based Texas Osteopathic Medical Association was formally organized by five osteopathic physicians on November 29, 1900, in Sherman, Texas, under the name, Texas Association for the Advancement of Osteopathy. At the organizational meeting David L. Clark, D.O., of Sherman was elected president with an initial state membership of approximately ten; a constitution was adopted; and, first officers were elected. The association was formed because of the Wilson Bill, then pending in the state legislature, which threatened the osteopathic profession, along with occult or unorthodox practitioners. Cecil Smith, a former senator from Sherman, was hired to lobby against the bill, and an amendment protecting the profession was adopted. The first Texas Medical Practice Act, passed in 1907, permitted the licensing of doctors of osteopathy. John F. Bailey, D.O., of Waco was appointed by Governor Thomas M. Campbell as the first osteopathic physician on the composite State Board of Medical Examiners. In 1901, during the group's second meeting in Fort Worth, the name was changed to Texas Osteopathic Association. The name was changed again in 1930 to Texas Association of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons, and the association was first incorporated in 1946 in Dallas County. Its purpose was to support the science of osteopathic medicine. On September 14, 1971, the name was changed to Texas Osteopathic Medical Association.

During the presidency of Joseph L. Love of Austin (1944-46) the profession made significant legislative gains. Another key figure in the association's growth was Phil R. Russell, D.O., of Fort Worth, who served as president in 1923-24 and in 1949 limited his practice in order to take over as executive secretary of the association. In the early 1950s, he built the first state headquarters at 512 Bailey in Fort Worth and was instrumental in achieving recognition for Texas osteopathic physicians by Blue Cross Insurance, which had previously refused to pay osteopathic hospitals or physicians. In 1925, when Governor Miriam A. Ferguson appointed Russell to serve on the Texas State Board of Health, he became the first osteopathic member. He was subsequently appointed to a six-year term on the State Board of Medical Examiners by Governor Ross S. Sterling and reappointed by Governor James Allred. President Franklin Roosevelt awarded him a Citation for his work on the medical advisory board of the United States Selective Service System during World War II. Under Tex Roberts, executive director from 1968 to 1987, the association made further gains for the profession. By 1980, osteopathic representation on the Board of Medical Examiners had dropped to one; after strong lobbying efforts, the Medical Practice Act of 1981 was passed, mandating three osteopathic physicians on the board and at least one on each of its committees. In 1987, Joel D. Holliday, D.O., became the first osteopathic physician ever to serve as president of the board. In 1981 and 1983 the association was also successful in getting a nondiscriminatory clause into the Medical Practice Act. During Roberts's tenure, a new headquarters was built at 226 Bailey Avenue in Fort Worth and the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine became a reality.

In 1987, upon the retirement of Mr. Roberts, Tom Hanstrom was hired as executive director. Under his direction, a TOMA owned medical malpractice company was incorporated to provide TOMA members with medical malpractice insurance. Upon Mr. Hanstrom's untimely death in 1991, Terry Boucher was hired as the executive director. In 1993, the association's office was moved from Fort Worth to Austin so that the profession could have a stronger presence in the political arena. Under Mr. Boucher, the association was successful in getting a nondiscriminatory hospital staff law passed; the Texas State Board of Medical Examiners began accepting the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners test for licensure in Texas; and, the association restored and moved into its new headquarters building in Austin at 1415 Lavaca Street. After a million-dollar renovation, the building has been designated as an Austin Historic Landmark.

Wives of osteopathic physicians were originally combined with women osteopathic physicians in an organization known as the Osteopathic Women's National Association; Mary Lou Logan, D.O., of Dallas was a prime mover in Texas. Separation of the groups began at the 1938 convention of the American Osteopathic Association held in Ohio, and in 1939, wives of osteopathic physicians in Dallas County formed the first auxiliary in Texas. In 1940, the Dallas County auxiliary president, Mrs. Robert Morgan, was asked to form a state auxiliary, which was founded that year with ten charter members and Mrs. Morgan served as the first president. From Texas, the idea of state auxiliaries later developed at the national level and the Auxiliary to the American Osteopathic Association was formed at a meeting in Dallas.

Growth of the osteopathic profession in Texas has risen from about ten in 1900 to approximately 150 in 1929. Due to the increase, eighteen divisional districts were formed to promote better communication. In 1998, the House of Delegates approved a nineteenth district in the Laredo area. The association publishes the Texas DO, formerly Texas Osteopathic Physicians Journal and an Annual Directory. It also holds an annual convention and an annual MidWinter/Legislative seminar. As of 1999, regular members numbered 1,782. The association exists to serve as an advocate for the needs of Texas osteopathic physicians, act as a referral service to the public, strives to improve public health, maintain high standards of osteopathic care, and ensure that the public has an alternative when selecting physicians.

BIBLOGRAPHY: Phil R. Russell and Judy Alter, The Quack Doctor (Fort Worth: Branch-Smith, 1974). Texas Osteopathic Physicians Journal, April 1969.

Written by Lydia Anderson Hedges and Terry R. Boucher