State Rep. J.D. Sheffield, DO, honored for distinguished service
By Alex Branch
Dr. Sheffield (R-Gatesville) was honored during the White Coat Ceremony on Aug. 24 for his long-standing commitment to the advancement of osteopathic medicine. Award recipients must display the highest character and integrity, and be a caring individual who lives by the decree that service to others is the highest life calling.
“Dr. Sheffield lives those beliefs each and every day,” said UNTHSC President Michael R. Williams, DO, MD.
Dr. Sheffield, who graduated from the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1989, told students that he made the decision to run for political office after about 20 years of medical practice. He had become increasingly frustrated with controls put on his practice by pharmaceutical companies, corporate medicine and insurers.
“It occurred to me that the best chance I had to change the rules concerning patient care was to be in a place where the rules are made — in the Legislature,” Dr. Sheffield said. “It is deeply fulfilling to help pass legislation that may benefit many people.”
Dr. Sheffield implored students to become and remain engaged in the political process during their careers as health care providers. That goes beyond just voting in every election, he said.
“In Austin, there are many voices in health care — hospitals, medical insurers and many more,” Dr. Sheffield said. “But who speaks for patients? We do, their doctors.”
Dr. Sheffield has been practicing in and around Gatesville for over 25 years.He is the only rural physician in the Texas Legislature and has been reelected to his fourth term. He served on the House Apportions Subcommittee Article II in charge of budget writing for Texas health care and he has served as the Vice Chair of the Public Health Committee.He represents Comanche, Coryell, Erath, Hamilton, McCulloch, Mills, San Saba, and Somervell counties in District 59.