Category Archives: Advocacy

STFM Member Bikes Across the Country, Recording Small Town Health Care Access Stories

Paul Gordon, MD, MPH recently started his two-month bicycle tour from the Washington, DC to Seattle,  stopping along the way to learn what people think of the Affordable Care Act.  On his journey, called the Bike Listening Tour, Dr Gordon will visit small towns across the nation and record interviews with locals about their thoughts on the Affordable Care Act.

Watch the video below to hear from Dr Gordon about his trip.

To learn more about the Bike Listening Tour and to follow Dr Gordon during his trip, read his blog at https://bikelisteningtour.wordpress.com.

Med School Gap Year: One Student’s Journey Advocating for Health Care

Stanford Tran

Stanford Tran

While my medical school classmates were deep in their sub-I’s, I took a year off and spent my days being chased off parking lots by grocery store managers. I often wondered what I was doing and how did I manage to drift so far from medicine.

I found myself in this unenviable position by trying to change the health care landscape. Health care in America is fragmented, expensive, and often ineffective. This has been self-evident for 20 years, yet the problem is getting worse. We have a health care system shaped largely by government policies and government dollars, and, conversely, we have a federal budget that is shaped largely by health care spending. Since I wanted to be an agent of health care reform, I thought the obvious way to do that was to run for a seat in the House of Representatives.

Sure, it is unconventional to run for federal office as a first-time candidate, to have no money or donors, and to have lived in the district for less than 3 years, but these are, in medical lingo, soft contraindications. The mechanics of running for public office is pretty much the same no matter which office—you spend your days begging for votes or for money, which in turn helps you beg for votes. You get the distinct feeling of being a panhandler, replete with being chased off from grocery stores. The only difference is that as a candidate, you are better dressed. People innately realize this because while many are politically opinionated, few ever imagine slumping to the level of a political candidate.

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Leading the Way

Jen Hartmark-Hill, MD

Jen Hartmark-Hill, MD

One of my top priorities for staying involved in health care advocacy is to promote a better future for my students.

As a medical educator, I often ponder the uncomfortable paradox of training medical students to become “ideal” physicians, only to send them out into a far less than ideal health care system upon graduation. Preparing and educating future physicians to lead health care transformation is essential, but we who serve as educators and role models cannot stop there.

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