1. Why is being an advocate so important to you?
I am a believer in the Quadruple Aim and strive to improve the health of our patients using evidence-based, cost-effective methods in a manner that is understandable to patients, while also allowing physicians to find joy in the career they worked so hard to attain. There are many things that need to be done to fix our broken healthcare system and physicians need to be at the table to represent ourselves and the needs of our patients. If we aren’t there, decisions are made for us, often with negative unintended consequences.
2. What health-care related issue(s) have you advocated for over the past year?
I am an OB/Gyn and have been passionate about women’s health and reproductive freedom since I was in high school. The last year has obviously been challenging for my specialty and the patients we serve, and I have tried to help in every way possible. My career has also brought the immense satisfaction of working with the transgender community to provide the care that they need. I have focused a lot of my energy in the last year educating nurses and physicians around the country regarding the basic medical and behavioral health needs of this population, as well as explaining the surgical procedures that are performed and their pre and postop care. I am also an Alternate Delegate to the American Medical Association and served on the Reference Committee for Legislation at our most recent Interim Meeting. I try to make myself available to testify in St Paul when asked and over the years have participated in Day at the Capitol in Minnesota and lobbied in Washington DC on several occasions.
3. What advice would you offer to others who are interested in advocacy?
Get involved! Share your stories! It can be as simple as writing letters or e-mails to your elected officials or the editorial board of your local newspaper. Be involved with the physician decision-making body of your organization or hospital. You can join your specialty and/or local medical society, the Minnesota Medical Association, or the American Medical Association. As physicians we need to find ways to share the needs of our patients and advocate for our abilities to practice evidence-based care with compassion and the knowledge that we can make a difference in people’s lives.