The Texas Medical Association (TMA) on Saturday installed Richard W. “Rick” Snyder II, MD, a Dallas cardiologist, as its 158th president.
The Texas Medical Association (TMA) on Saturday installed Richard W. “Rick” Snyder II, MD, a Dallas cardiologist, as its 158th president. TMA’s departing president, Gary W. Floyd, MD, installed Dr. Snyder in a pinning ceremony held in the House of Delegates meeting during TexMed, the association’s annual conference. Dr. Snyder will serve in this role for one year.
“I feel humbled to follow in the footsteps of the giants of Texas organized medicine and awed by the responsibility of helping lead the largest and finest state medical association in the land,” Dr. Snyder said.
An ardent advocate of protecting the patient-physician relationship, Dr. Snyder believes physicians must be a voice for their patients outside hospitals and exam rooms as much as within them. He often can be found in lawmakers’ and regulators’ offices seeking improvement of policies that help patients and medical practice.
“The classic vision of a doctor as an advocate for our patients has to be much more than just words,” Dr. Snyder said. “We [physicians] need to make the halls of the capitol buildings in [Washington,] D.C., and Austin as familiar as those of our own hospitals.”
He urges other physicians and even medical students to advocate for patients. “[Advocacy] is not an innate part of our culture coming out of medical school. But it needs to be,” he said.
One of his main goals as president is to preserve the significance of a doctor’s role in health care. “We must continue to defend and affirm the uniqueness of what it means to be a physician and the importance of the physician identity, because all of our other efforts flow from this vision,” Dr. Snyder said.
He also wants TMA to provide solutions to the challenges doctors encounter in the care of patients. He believes these solutions must be “aggressively pursued not only legislatively but also in the regulatory and judicial branches of government on both the state and national levels.”
Dr. Snyder is proud of some of TMA’s recent legislative and legal wins. In 2021, TMA helped lawmakers pass the “gold card” law to reduce the burdensome prior-authorization process physicians must endure to help patients access timely treatment.
TMA also won two lawsuits against federal government agencies for adopting what the association calls unfair rules implementing the No Surprises Act law. Of TMA’s four lawsuits, the federal court decided in TMA’s favor on two, while two are pending.
“TMA’s leadership has helped not only Texas physicians and patients but also those of the whole nation. TMA has become the envy of many states and medical associations and given us all a very good reason to be extremely proud and to hold our heads very high,” Dr. Snyder said.
He has been involved in TMA throughout his 30-year career. In addition to his one-year service as president-elect, he has chaired and served on the TMA Board of Trustees, and participated in TMA’s House of Delegates and Council on Legislation. Dr. Snyder also is active in TEXPAC, TMA’s political action committee.
He said his activity as physician advocate produced many of his most rewarding professional experiences. While serving as the president of the Dallas County Medical Society in 2012, he led the physician community’s response to the West Nile virus outbreak. Dr. Snyder pulled together local infectious disease doctors, presented updates to media and lawmakers, and helped coordinate support for aerial spraying to kill infected mosquitoes and quell the outbreak. His leadership prompted Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins to appoint him to the Dallas County Health and Human Services Public Health Advisory Committee.
Witnessing the value of physician leadership motivates him on the cusp of his TMA presidency. “We [physicians] should not be apologetic for wanting to preserve physician viability in the health care system. On the contrary, we need to always be the tip of the spear, boldly empowering physicians and the patient-physician relationship.”
Since 1996, Dr. Snyder has practiced at Medical City Dallas, where he has chaired the Department of Medicine and served as medical staff president and board trustee. He also was a member of the board of directors of the Southwestern Medical Foundation. Dr. Snyder is president of HeartPlace, the oldest and largest independent cardiovascular group in Texas. In addition, he chairs the board of directors of ASPEN Physician Network, a network of 20 large independent specialty groups serving North Texas.
Dr. Snyder is board certified in cardiovascular disease, interventional cardiology, advanced heart failure care, and transplant cardiology.
The graduate of UT Southwestern Medical School completed his internal medicine and cardiology fellowship at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas. He received his undergraduate degree in preprofessional studies and French from the University of Notre Dame and Université Catholique de l’Ouest in Angers, France, graduating with honors. He attended Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas.
Dr. Snyder is married to Shelley Hall, MD, chief of advanced heart failure, cardiac transplant, and mechanical circulatory support at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas. The couple has five children: Robert Hicks, Eileen Cornell, Jessica Snyder, Alex Snyder, and Nicholas Snyder.
TMA is the largest state medical society in the nation, representing more than 57,000 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.