1. Why is being an advocate so important to you?
At one point, I realized that I was looking at my “day job” as a form of advocacy. I then then realized that folks from many other occupations work beyond their paying job to make the world a better place. In addition, I have realized that physicians carry a lot of respect, and our effort can often raise the voices of those that do not have the luxury of this power. That mindset has helped inspire me to listen to others smarter than me, activate others with more connections, and live every day with the goal of making lives better for others.
2. What healthcare related issue(s) have you advocated for over the past year?
For the past few years, I have been working to improve access to healthcare for people who have faced stigma and bias in the past, and to improve access to healthcare for people who do not have the luxury to focus on their health. Most recently, this has been advocating to increase access to curative hepatitis c medications, improving healthcare access to people who use drugs, and decreasing the harms that the War on Drugs have had on individuals, families, and communities.
3. What advice would you offer to others who are interested in advocacy?
Ask questions when things don’t make sense. Connect with others who may have the resources to make change. Realize it’s ok to be out of your comfort zone. Understand that often, the people most in need of healthcare do not have the resources or the luxury to make it to a scheduled appointment, afford their medications, pay a phone bill, or have stable housing.