Fort Worth allergist Susan Rudd Bailey, MD, became the 175th president of the American Medical Association (AMA) Sunday but not in a crowded ballroom with people dressed in formal attire as is usually the process.
Instead, her fellow physicians watched her deliver her installation speech online from a Fort Worth studio.
She was unanimously selected last year to be the AMA president, an honor her Fort Worth colleagues say is the natural culmination of an exceptional physician’s career.
“Dr. Sue Bailey is one of the most impressive physicians I have ever known, and I’ve known her for many years,” Texas Medical Association (TMA) President Diana L. Fite, MD, of Houston said in a news release.
“She is highly intelligent, she is empathetic, she is down to earth when talking to patients and physicians alike. I cannot imagine a better person to be the president of our highest-level organization, the AMA,” Fite said.
The usual gala to welcome the new president fell victim to COVID-19 with its social distancing requirements and physicians far too busy to gather in Chicago for a five-day convention.
Bailey’s organized medicine resume includes stints as presidents of TMA and the Tarrant County Medical Society as well as speaker of the TMA and AMA House of Delegates.
She says she feels prepared to take office amidst the worldwide COVID-19 health emergency.
“Being president of the TMA when the Affordable Care Act was passed is good training for being president of the AMA during the coronavirus pandemic,” she said.
Gary Floyd, MD, chair of the TMA Board of Trustees and a Fort Worth pediatrician, agrees.
“Sue is always willing to listen, develop consensus, and solve problems,” Floyd said. “She’s a remarkable leader and encourager of others. I’m privileged to call her ‘friend.’ ”
Robert Rogers, MD, who has been Bailey’s partner in Fort Worth Allergy & Asthma Associates for more than 30 years, said the country needs a medical leader now with Bailey’s training and background.
“Virtually everything that’s going on with this virus one way or another has to do with evaluating the immune response to it,” he said. “We’re incredibly fortunate that she has decades of experience translating that into a language nonmedical people can understand.”
Bailey is the sixth Texas physician to serve as AMA president and the first woman physician to be both TMA president and AMA president. She is the sixth woman physician – and the third in a row – to lead the AMA.
“Sue is a true Texan: a hard, dedicated worker with a true heart,” said David Henkes, MD, of San Antonio, chair of the Texas Delegation to the AMA.
Bailey is a native of Houston and received her medical degree with honors as part of the charter class at the Texas A&M University College of Medicine. She completed her residency and fellowship training at the Mayo Graduate School of Medicine.
Bailey has been in private practice in Fort Worth since 1988. She is a mother and grandmother, and is married to Fort Worth attorney, Doug Bailey.
TMA is the largest state medical society in the nation, representing more than 53,000 physician and medical student members. It is located in Austin and has 110 component county medical societies around the state. TMA’s key objective since 1853 is to improve the health of all Texans.
Bailey has been honored as a Healthcare Hero and a Great Woman of Texas by the Fort Worth Business Press.
– FWBP Staff