Advocacy Champions

June 2021 Advocacy ChampionJill Amsberry, DO

Jill Amsberry, DO

Pediatrician, CentraCare

1. Why is being an advocate so important to you?

I recognize that because of my upbringing, my race and my built-in support system through family and friends, I have had an abundance of opportunities never presented to a large portion of humanity.  Because of those opportunities, I was able to pursue my dream of becoming a physician.

I work for an organization that allows me to care and advocate for the entire spectrum of the population without the boundaries of socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity and religion.  Every day, in my clinic rooms, my patients teach me about themselves and our communities. It is now my responsibility to use my seat at the table to help advocate for the cause of those patients without a seat.  More importantly, I must work to get them their own seat so their voice can be heard.

2. What health-care related issue(s) have you advocated for over the past year?
Over the past year, I have continued to advocate for the well being of our state’s pediatric population...working to develop systems, such as our drive-through vaccine program, to make it easier for children to stay up-to-date on their immunizations.

In addition, I have had the great honor of serving on the MDH COVID Vaccine Allocation Advisory Group, helping to guide decision making for vaccine roll-out when the demand was high, but supply low.  This group advocated to keep those who have experienced disparate conditions throughout the pandemic, largely due to systemic societal inequities, at the forefront of those decisions.

Within our healthcare system, through the development of a mobile vaccine unit, we have taken vaccine administration and education outside the walls of the institution to the areas most in need.  This includes mosques, churches, schools, consulates or wherever our unconventional community leaders tell us there is a need. We listen and then respond. We are hopeful that the bridges built in our community through this pandemic will be our silver lining in the continuation of relationships between our community and our health system. 

3. What advice would you offer to others who are interested in advocacy?
I truly believe advocacy can be a source of healing for those who may be experiencing burnout.  Even when you feel you don’t have much to give, do it anyway. You will feel the wealth that money can never provide. It is such a great reminder of why we chose this profession from the start.  In the end, it is our duty to advocate for others...because we can.

Past Advocacy Champions