By Sean Friefeld, OMS-II, Nova Southeastern University Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine, National Director, Omega Beta Iota: National Osteopathic Political Action Honor Society
It wasn’t until I knew that I wanted to become a physician that I also became interested in advocacy, realizing that protecting and treating patients happens on more levels than one. My newfound interest in student government took me down an eye-opening path that led me to Omega Beta Iota (OBI), the National Political Action Honor Society. OBI was instrumental in solidifying my passion to advocate for patients because it showed me how easy getting involved could be and how strong an impact simple actions could make on individual lives.
You may think it’s necessary to write a piece of legislation or meet directly with lawmakers on Capitol Hill in order to make changes, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Anyone can write to their legislators letting them know how they have been impacted by policies they want to change. Anyone can start a conversation that can help lead to new legislation. Most importantly, almost anyone can vote.
Why should you advocate? The reason it is so important to advocate is because the policies that get debated, passed into law, and implemented in our society will impact all of us and it is our choice and our right to have a say in that process. We can vote people into office who hold our patients’ best interests at heart and vote out those who stand to make health care unnecessarily challenging for the people in our country. The bottom line is your thoughts matter and you can play a direct role in what happens around you by getting involved.
Whether you are a member of a National Political Action Honor Society like OBI, or a health professions student who’s never advocated before, joining the ED to MED campaign is a great way to make your voice heard. By adding your voice to our national platform, we can all have a stronger impact. Join us today!
The views and opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and do not imply endorsement by AACOM.