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Blog » Beyond the Palm Trees: Advocating for the Underserved: A Video Interview

Beyond the Palm Trees: Advocating for the Underserved: A Video Interview

June 5, 2020

By Christine DeCarlo, AACOM Advocacy and Public Affairs Manager

Harris Ahmed, DO, MPH, graduate of the Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine and recent AACOM Osteopathic Health Policy Intern, spoke with ED to MED about the moment that made him realize he wanted to become a physician, and how his experiences in advocacy and public policy inspired him to become a lifelong advocate on behalf of patients and the health care profession.

How to Effectively Communicate with Policymakers

As a seasoned advocate who has met and spoken with lawmakers and government officials at the local, state, and national levels, Harris shares his advice with other health professions students who are interested in getting involved in advocacy. Learn both the intangible and more practical recommendations Harris has for making your policy asks resonate more strongly.

Why Public Service Loan Forgiveness Is Worth Fighting For

Saving the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program is a current policy priority of the ED to MED campaign. Harris’ passion for saving PSLF stems from seeing the lack of access to basic health care many communities face, from rural Guatemala to New Mexico. Learn how PSLF can help mitigate physician shortages in our underserved communities and why it’s a program worth saving.

The Importance of Improving Rural Health and the Health of Underserved Communities

When you think of Southern California, you may think of palm trees and movie stars, but within the region, medically underserved communities exist. Harris saw firsthand how delayed access to physician care within his own medically underserved community in Southern California contributed to diagnoses complications and increased costs for patients and the health care system. Watch as Harris explains why ensuring all communities have access to quality health care is critical to mitigating health inequities.

As Harris begins his journey into residency, ED to MED is excited to see the future contributions he will make to both the medical and advocacy spheres. If Harris’ story inspired you to get involved in advocating for PSLF, health care access, or addressing the physician shortage, join our campaign today, and connect with us on Twitter and Facebook.