By Christine DeCarlo, AACOM Advocacy and Public Affairs Manager
During this summer like no other, AACOM’s Office of Government Relations is even more inspired by the many ED to MED advocates who have shared their stories as guest authors for the ED to MED blog. Whether learning how to advocate for wellness in these trying times, understanding the importance of serving underserved patients, or preparing for the upcoming election, be sure to add these top blog posts to your summer reading list.
Judith Mun, Interim Vice President of Government Relations
Passion is contagious. Understanding the source of one’s passion can be even more inspiring. Watching Tyler King, DO, explain how his powerful Teach For America experience fueled his desire to address drivers of educational and health inequities such as poverty, systemic racism, and lack of access to resources helps demonstrate what we are really advocating for when we urge Congress to protect programs such as Public Service Loan Forgiveness and Grad PLUS. In his interview, Tyler does a great job conveying his passion for medicine, policy, and community health, and clearly communicates why protecting critical federal programs has far-reaching benefits for diverse patient populations.
Julie Crockett, Associate Director of Government Relations
During a time of so many uncertainties, it is easy to get overwhelmed by daily events and caught up in the “what-ifs.” You may feel like your to-do list is never-ending, all while you are working to navigate this new normal. Throughout this time, many of us may find that we do not have time to focus on our own mental health and well-being. As Sioned Kirkpatrick explains, “Being an advocate means being vulnerable, which is synonymous with being brave.” Read and be inspired by how Sioned encourages us to be fierce advocates for our own wellness, especially during a time when our frontline health care workers are risking their own lives for the sake of others.
Christine DeCarlo, Advocacy and Public Affairs Manager
Practicing medicine in a location as remote as Nome, Alaska is challenging even under normal circumstances. Considering the added difficulties COVID-19 has surely brought to this isolated community heightens the importance of advocating on behalf of rural patients like the ones served by Timothy Lemaire, DO, MPH. In his post, Timothy explains that without federal student aid, he would not have been able to become a family physician in the Alaskan wilderness. “The importance of advocating for ourselves and our patients cannot be overstated,” he says. “Without national government support, either in the form of loan forgiveness or funding for our clinics and educational institutions, we could not provide the care our communities need.” Let his post inspire you to take action today on behalf of patients everywhere.
Alexandra Tran, Policy and Regulatory Analyst
Although Southern California may have the reputation of being comprised of mostly palm trees and movie stars, it is important to understand that the region also contains medically underserved communities. Harris Ahmed, DO, MPH, spoke with ED to MED about his own medically underserved community in the region and why ensuring all communities have access to quality health care is critical to mitigating health inequities. Watch Harris’ video interview to learn about the moment that made him realize he wanted to become a physician, and how his upbringing inspired him to become a lifelong advocate for patients.
Joy De Guzman, Government Relations Associate
Advocacy can sometimes seem daunting, messy, and inaccessible. Stories like Annie Phung’s can help inspire others to get involved and show them that they can become advocates for students, patients, and the health care workforce too. In her blog post, Annie explains that “conversations about health policy should be focused on how to best provide patient care and ensure that physicians can continue to practice quality medicine.” Check out Annie’s story to see how a fun trip to DC inspired her to become a lifelong advocate and find out how you can get involved too.
Sheila Duffy, Government Relations Assistant
We are now less than 100 days out from the 2020 election! I was drawn to Judith Mun’s January blog post because I firmly believe that every vote matters. Nothing illustrates this more than what happened in 2017, when control of the Virginia House of Delegates came down to one ballot in one district. Don’t be the person that doesn’t exercise their right to vote. First, register to vote or check your status, especially if you have recently settled in a new area. Apply for an absentee ballot or know where to cast your vote on Election Day. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, look for virtual and innovative ways to contact the candidates to advocate for policies that matter to you and your communities. November 3 is coming—get involved!