1. Why is being an advocate so important to you?
Advocacy is important to me because it involves focusing on our priorities. And “our” priorities mean ones important to us as a group and as individuals. Even more importantly it is about dialogue. It is about hearing and being heard. And in our democratic diverse society, success usually means compromise.
2. What health-care related issue(s) have you advocated for over the past year?
As chair of MMA’s Ethics and Legal Committee, I helped lead our effort to approve MMA’s new policy against restrictive covenants in physician employment agreements. This is in our members’ and our patients’ best interests. I have also advocated personally this year against Physician-Assisted Suicide (PAS) becoming legal in our state. Although the MMA holds a neutral position on this issue, as an American Medical Association elected delegate from MN, I advocate for the AMA position which holds that PAS is “fundamentally incompatible with the physician’s role as healer, would be difficult or impossible to control, and would pose serious societal risks”.
3. What advice would you offer to others who are interested in advocacy?
My advice to our members: Get involved in areas of passion. Dialogue in a respectful manner listening to understand other viewpoints and explaining why the position you hold may be better. Be willing to compromise; those with different views from our own usually have underlying reasons that are also important and need to be understood. And recognize all of us have biases!