Ashokakumar M. Patel, MD, Pulmonologist, Mayo Clinic

August 2020 Advocacy Champion

Ashok-Patel1. Why is being an advocate so important to you?
Advocacy is a vital skill when trying to translate your personal insights and lived experiences gained over your lifetime with another audience or generation that is curious, open, and seeking to apply or use this ‘wisdom’, hopefully for serving humanity and their communities in beneficial ways. There are many ways to advocate for the values embodied in the vocation of medicine and the healing professions. There are also many levels, scales, and contexts in which to apply advocacy training to the diverse challenges beyond COVID-19 that have been unmasked, emerging, and yet to be confronted by physicians, healthcare teams, and champions for global sustainable development.

2. What health-care related issue(s) have you advocated for over the past year?
Better understanding of team dynamics, organizational learning (under crisis/pandemic situation) and creative collaborations beyond the patient-physician partnership. I have also advocated on restoring or maintaining trust alongside cultural humility, mutual respect, and team-based problem-solving amidst the challenges of navigating a “VUCA” environment (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous). Finally, I have advocated for bridging enlightened self-interests of multiple stakeholders from clinical, business, and public relations in order to support healing, innovation, philanthropy and altruism.

3. What advice would you offer to others who are interested in advocacy?
Never, never, never give up on your quest for realizing the calling of our medical profession and peace through health, education, and lifelong service learning. Ensure you’re doing the right thing for the right reason(s)…some things that are invaluable aren’t measurable and some measurements aren’t really value-add.