Rebecca Yao, MD, MPH - Photo.pngSeptember 2023 Advocacy Champion

Rebecca Yao, MD, MPH

Internal Medicine Resident
Mayo Clinic


1.      Why is being an advocate so important to you?
In the medical profession, I find that there’s often a sentiment suggesting physicians should steer clear of advocacy to maintain pure objectivity in patient care. Yet, nearly every piece of policy, directly or indirectly, intersects with or impacts health outcomes in some way. It's crucial, then, for those of us on the frontlines of healthcare to lend our voices and bridge the gap between policy decisions and their real-world health implications.


2.      What health-care related issue(s) have you advocated for over the past year?
One of my primary areas of focus has been healthcare affordability. Over the past year, one of the issues I've advocated for is the MinnesotaCare public option, with a keen emphasis on its extension of access to our undocumented patient community.

3.      What advice would you offer to others who are interested in advocacy?
Prior to getting involved with state-level advocacy, I felt intimidated by a self-perceived high barrier of entry. On the contrary, advocacy does not demand grand actions or a large platform, and is almost always more often about the smaller, consistent efforts – and there is certainly no template or criteria for what is and is not advocacy. As physicians, we are all inherently advocates for our patients, and can further our influence by being open to engaging in discussions on health policy issues, educating our patients about said care gaps, and fostering awareness in our immediate circles. When we embrace that role, we amplify our commitment to comprehensive patient care.