As the chief medical officer and president of OccMD Group P.A. in Dallas, Melissa D. Tonn, MD, oversees a variety of medical services, including occupational-injury management for organizations that have elected to provide an alternative benefit program for work injuries/illnesses. In addition to her role at OccMD, Melissa D. Tonn, MD, is a member of the District 2 Review Committee of the Texas Medical Board and the past vice chair of the Texas Woman’s University (TWU) Board of Regents.
The Frontiers Program: Foster Care Alumni at TWU operates with the goal of increasing the graduation rate among students who have spent time in the foster-care system. Throughout the United States, graduation rates for these students at higher-education institutions hover between 1 and 9 percent. Today, the graduation rate at TWU ranks higher than those at comparable institutions around the country, thanks largely in part to the varied services maintained by the Frontiers Program.
Services include in-depth financial support and guidance and are available to current and prospective students. To learn more about Frontiers Program opportunities, visit www.twu.edu.
A graduate of the University of Texas Health Science Center, Melissa D. Tonn, MD, serves Dallas’ OccMD Group P.A. as the president and chief medical officer. Melissa D. Tonn, MD, has served on several boards, including the Texas Woman’s University Board of Regents, completing her 7 year tenure as the vice chair.
Texas Woman’s University (TWU) provides a number of services designed to financially support students who have been part of the foster-care system. The Education Training Voucher program is particularly impactful in this regard. Through the initiative, administered by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, individuals can receive grants in a wide range of important areas, from tuition and academic fees to assistance with child care. The program also helps students with transportation needs and significant expenses related to coursework, such as computers.
Additional kinds of financial support available through TWU include assistance in completing Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) forms, scholarships opportunities through the Pioneer Scholarship System, and emergency aid for adults who have aged out of foster care.
In addition to her role as chief medical officer of OccMD Group PA in Dallas, Dr. Melissa Tonn is a faculty member at Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin, where she teaches courses in occupational health. Actively involved in medical education over the years, Dr. Melissa Tonn is a longtime supporter of Texas Woman’s University (TWU), where she previously served as vice chair of the board of regents.
In October 2018, TWU announced the appointment of Kimberly Russell, EdD, as its new vice president for university advancement. She will step into the role on December 1, bringing with her more than 20 years of leadership experience in both the public and private sectors. She comes to the position after a three-year appointment as the chancellor at the Eunice campus of Louisiana State University (LSU).
At LSU, Ms. Russell oversaw enrollment growth of nearly 30 percent at her campus and the expansion of in-demand health care offerings. In her comments, TWU president and chancellor Carine M. Feyten spoke of the vital role that university advancement plays in the overall health of the institution.
Ms. Russell is also a former director of foundation and corporate relations at LeTourneau University in Longview, Texas, where he was responsible for securing $5 million in grant funding on behalf of several charitable foundations.
Board-certified occupational medicine practitioner Melissa Tonn has been in practice for more than 32 years. Based in Dallas, Melissa Tonn supports Texas Women’s University (TWU).
TWU is the country’s largest women’s university, enrolling about 15,000 students. Dedicated to empowering all women with education, TWU offers programs to assist students who have fallen into financial distress. One of them is the Tonn Emergency Aid for adults who’ve aged out of foster care.
This emergency aid provides crucial funding to students who have outgrown foster care and are facing financial emergencies that threaten to disrupt their education. These emergencies include homelessness, food insufficiency, medical expenses, or cut off essential utilities.
Only eligible students will be considered for this aid. These are students who have aged out of foster care, have enrolled or are about to enroll in the coming semester, are registered for a minimum of nine credits that coming semester, are in good academic standing, and have documentary evidence of the emergency they are facing. They can apply by filling out an application form and submitting it to the university’s financial aid office. A response will be given in three days by the relevant committee.
Dr. Melissa Tonn, an MD trained in occupational medicine and pain management, currently leads OccMD Group P.A. as the firm’s president and chief medical officer. She additionally holds an adjunct position at the University of Texas School of Public Health, and has also made many noteworthy community contributions. Dr. Melissa Tonn and her practice associates have spent several years supporting the anti-human trafficking nonprofit New Friends, New Life by “adopting” one or more families in need at the holiday season.
Experts point out that Christmas and other joyful holidays can be highly stressful and fraught with conflicting emotions for anyone who has been the victim of trauma. Sufferers of post-traumatic stress disorder may feel alienated from the happy experiences of others, or may become depressed.
But there are practices that family, friends, and caring individuals can use to lessen these negative feelings for someone who has been victimized. A few of these are described below.
Make sure to provide a place for the person to retreat to if additional private space is needed. To avoid embarrassment in front of others, it can also be helpful to agree on a signal that the person can use to indicate that they need help in making a graceful exit from an uncomfortable situation.
The person should understand that they have the right to refuse to discuss anything they don’t want to discuss. If they do want to talk about something that is bothering or upsetting them, listen non-judgmentally and acknowledge their experiences. Providing a sense of agency is key.
A board-certified physician in occupational medicine, Dr. Melissa Tonn holds an academic appoinment in the department of population health at the University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School. Dr. Melissa Tonn also serves as the chief medical officer of OccM.D. Group P.A. in Dallas, where she provides management solutions for employers who have opted out of workers’ compensation. Below are four steps employers can take to reduce occupational and workplace injuries.
1. Implement an accident prevention and wellness program. An effective program establishes clear safety guidelines specific to your company’s environment and addresses safety protocols for all levels of employees. It also offers employees instructions on how to respond to and report potential hazards in the workplace.
2. Conduct safety training. Regular safety training helps to ingrain protocols and facilitates a culture of safety awareness. You can also use safety training to teach employees about body mechanics and techniques for reducing strain injuries.
3. Offer protective equipment. Ensure access to standardized protective equipment, especially for employees who work in labor-intensive or otherwise hazardous environments. Take the time to educate employees in the proper use of each piece of equipment, and strictly enforce rules that require its use.
4. Create a safe work environment. Slips, trips, and falls are the leading cause of workplace accidents and account for 15 percent of all workplace accidental deaths. You can significantly reduce their occurrence by maintaining a safe work environment. This includes keeping hallways clear of obstacles, providing adequate lighting in work areas, and attending to wet or slippery floors immediately.
A respected Dallas-area physician, Melissa D. Tonn, MD, practices occupational medicine. Serving as the president and chief medical officer of OccMD Group, Dr. Melissa Tonn earned her medical degree from the University of Texas Health Science Center (UT Health) at San Antonio.
Each year, the medical dean of UT Health recognizes the significant research, clinical, and mentoring achievements of faculty members. The award winners, nominated by fellow faculty members, receive a $5,000 prize at the annual faculty assembly.
The Distinguished Research Award is a new honor in 2018. The inaugural award went to Jean X. Jiang, PhD, the Ashbel Smith Professor of Biochemistry and Structural Biology, for her contributions to UT’s research mission over her 20-year career with the university. Dr. Jiang’s work currently focuses on the development of new immunological tools to target the hemichannel functions of gap junctions.
A clinical assistant professor at the University of Texas at Austin's Dell Medical School, Dr. Melissa Tonn also heads up OccMD Group P.A., which provides occupational injury-related services for employers who have opted out of Texas Workers' Compensation. As part of the occupational health field, Dr. Melissa Tonn is a Fellow in the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM).
Fellow status is the highest designation ACOEM provides for members, and is reserved for ACOEM members who have contributed to the field in substantial ways. This higher designation allows members to serve as council chairs or officers in the organization.
To be eligible for fellow status, a member must have maintained membership in the ACOEM for at least three years. Prospective fellows also must have a board certification in occupational medicine or another ABMS (American Board of Medical Specialties) medical specialty, and possess an unrestricted, active license to practice medicine.
In addition to the membership application itself, prospective fellows must present two recommendation letters. One of these recommendation letters must be from a current ACOEM fellow.
In addition to her work as the president and chief medical officer of OccMD Group P.A. in Dallas, Dr. Melissa Tonn serves as a clinical assistant professor of population health at the University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School. With the help of Dr. Melissa Tonn and many other team members, the Dell Medical School's Department of Population Health works to improve the overall health of Travis County's population.
The Department of Population Health's mission requires a multifaceted approach to health care and public health that addresses major issues in the community. In the field of occupational health, for instance, the department works with local employers to improve occupational health through disease prevention and management programs, ensuring a healthy and productive workforce. The department also uses a community engagement team of grassroots leaders and advocates who can reach out to the community as a whole to improve care.
Research also makes up a major component of the department's work. The school works with community health centers like Seton and Central Health to develop and test new models of care, improving patient services. Partners like these also participate in an analytics program that seeks to build a better health information structure for the county.
Dr. Melissa Tonn brings more than two decades of experience in occupational medicine to her role as a clinical assistant professor of population health at the Dell School of Medicine at The University of Texas at Austin. Additionally, Dr. Melissa Tonn serves as the chief medical officer and president of OccMD Group, P.A., in Dallas, which provides occupational injury medical management for employers who are not part of the workers’ compensation system. The following covers some of the most common injuries in the workplace.
1. Muscle strain. Muscle strain can occur easily in jobs that recruit muscles of the back and neck that are particularly prone to injury through heavy lifting. Basic training on proper lifting techniques can help workers avoid injury and considerably reduce the occurrence of muscle strain.
2. Lacerations. Cuts and lacerations can occur in various working environments, from warehouses to business offices. Inadequate safety measures and poor training are the most common causes.
3. Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI). RSI refers to pain and injuries in the muscles, tendons, and nerves that occur as a result of repetitive motions and overuse. It typically affects upper parts of the body, including the neck, hands, and forearms. The condition can become severe over time.
4. Overexertion. Ranked among the top workplace injuries, overexertion can occur from overindulging in any physical activity in the workplace.
5. Contusions. Slips, falls, trips, and falling objects can all cause contusions in the workplace. Objects can fall from shelves or opened cupboards, and wet floors can lead to slippery surfaces that put workers at risk for injury. Workers may also fall from ladders or trip on stairs.
An experienced physician, Melissa D. Tonn, MD, specializes in musculoskeletal disorders, workers’ compensation and disability cases, and chronic regional pain syndrome.