David Richard Wallace, M.D. (1825-1911)

In his 1931 book overviewing the first 50 years of Waco Medicine, Dr. William Wilkes stated, “Dr. Wallace was undoubtedly the greatest man the Waco Medical Association has ever known.” David Wallace was born in North Carolina, the grandson of a soldier in the Revolutionary War. He got through high school by agreeing to teach the school himself, then went on to Wake Forest College, graduating as valedictorian. He added a master’s degree from Wake Forest before going to medical school at the University of New York, then an additional degree from Philadelphia Medical College.

He then moved to Independence, Texas in 1855, and taught Latin and Greek four hours a day at Baylor University while also having a full medical practice. In 1861, his friend Rufus Burleson moved Baylor to Waco, and Dr. Wallace joined the Confederate Army as surgeon until war’s end in 1865, when he moved to Waco to practice. He partnered with Dr. Sears, and was one of the ten founders of the Waco Medical Association in 1866, apparently writing most of their constitution and bylaws. He was corresponding secretary and writer of ideas for the Association every year until elected president in 1872. He was one of the 28 original members of the Texas State Medical Association in 1869, and its third president in 1871. In 1874, Texas Governor Coke appointed him to superintendent of the state insane asylum, then he was reappointed by Governor Hubbard, and thereafter confined his practice to nervous and mental disorders.

In 1875 Baylor gave him the degree of Doctor of Laws. In 1878 he delivered the annual address at the young A&M College. In 1880, he delivered the annual address of Wake Forest College. He was commissioned in 1883 to supervise the construction of the new East Texas Insane Asylum, then was appointed superintendent by Governor Ireland until 1891, when he returned to a part-time consulting practice in Waco for the next 20 years. Dr. Wallace was lifelong known and loved for his brilliance and excellent pen, speaking and writing clearly in ways that captivated and motivated physicians across the country.

Scott Blattman, M.D.

Scott grew up in San Antonio, went to Texas A&M for computer science, then Southwestern Medical School in Dallas (AOA) before coming to Waco for residency in 1991. After residency, he stayed on as faculty for a year, then joined a family medicine group August 1995 at Providence Plaza, moving it to Hillcrest 6 and Bosque January 1996. He currently practices at Providence Family Health Clinic-Woodway Medical Plaza.

Alan Tindell, Vice-President of Clinical Operations for Providence, says of Scott, “He has taught me that the patient is the center of the primary care world, that you treat every patient like they are a family member when considering care. In addition, he has assisted in reviewing and adopting our first EMR, then served on internal committees, National Committees and development committees as a consultant to vendors and Ascension Health/Providence.”

As a physician colleague, I have served on the Providence Health Alliance Board and other committees with Scott for several years and am constantly impressed by his pragmatic intelligence, his ability to see what is important, and understand how to build for the future today. Scott has been a primary thinker for shaping a new approach to physician compensation, has engineered new approaches to chronic disease management, and has tackled redesign of electronic medical records to meet the varying demands of patients and physicians and insurance companies and government. He is one of our best original thinkers in Waco today.

But he’s not all brains and compassion. He is an example of capturing effective work-life balance, dedicated to his family and their menagerie of cows, donkeys, pigs, sheep, llamas, chickens, guineas, turkeys, ducks, geese, parakeets, cockatiels, doves, Flemish Giant rabbits, mastiff dogs, hamsters, hedgehogs, ferrets and cats. He as well is a leader in his church and community.

How do you feel things are in Waco medicine today?

I see that medicine is changing, and that is fine – everything good will only stay good if it evolves. And we have an opportunity, if we embrace it, to be instruments of that change. But it is a hard thing to do, especially while trying to operate a busy practice in the same work day. It is demanding, frustrating, and for many of us, more than just a little bit risky. I do not see a time that we will ever say that the work has been done. I only see that we will constantly re-evaluate and re-dedicate ourselves each day to something better.

What are you working on for Waco’s future?

I am currently working with Providence administration and physicians to transform the way medicine is provided to populations, with a focus on value and quality, while trying to maintain the very personal and valuable relationship that exists between doctor and patient.

If there is one message you’d give to today’s physician, what would it be?

I enjoy my family most of all, and church, friends, our farm, and exercising – physically, intellectually, and spiritually. If I had something to wish for my colleagues and my patients, it would be for a balance of the many parts of their lives – family, God, work, community, and health.


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