Verna A. Thornton, M.D., Obstetrics and Gynecology
Women's Health Services, Community Memorial Hospital
Cloquet, MN

Chris WeeDec. 2020 Advocacy Champion

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

Advocacy is important to me because it involves giving voice to my core values and investing through action toward achieving demonstrable changes for my causes and concerns.

2. What health-care related issue(s) have you advocated for over the past year?
This year has been fraught with the scourge of the Covid-19 pandemic. I have been active as a participant with the Health Committee of the Duluth branch of the NAACP. We have been present throughout the greater Duluth area, and have been instrumental in giving away thousands of face masks and hand sanitizer containers to the homeless, minority and underserved communities, and to anyone who is concerned about fighting against the spread of this pandemic.

I have also been an advocate for increasing the representation of African heritage people in health professions, especially as physicians in Minnesota. It is my goal for the MMA to make this a top priority, as well as to decrease the disproportionate incidence of healthcare disparities and poor health outcomes among the BIPOC communities in this state.

3. What advice would you offer to others who are interested in advocacy?
My advice to anyone interested in advocacy is to identify your cause and to thoroughly research its impact on the larger society. One must also understand the climate of opinion in the community, and be willing to confront resistance to your efforts.
Secondly, determine the skills and strategy that will make your advocacy appealing to others.
Lastly, align with agencies, organizations, and institutions that have power in numbers and clout so that your opportunities for advocacy are more likely to be successful.