Will Nicholson, MD, Family Medicine,
St. John's Hospital
June 2019 Advocacy Champion
1. As the chair of MEDPAC, the MMA's political action committee, why is being an advocate so important to you?
Physicians can’t be the only ones in healthcare who are committed to first doing no harm. The further you get from the patient’s bedside the less regard there is for the patient’s best interests. This is not sustainable. If we are going to fix healthcare everybody needs to be held to a higher standard. Physicians will have to lead the way.
Our political voice is powerful. We need to start using it more. We live in this wonderful democracy where everybody has a voice, but if our profession isn’t organized enough to speak as one, then somebody else’s voice will be listened to. MEDPAC’s focus is on electing leaders who can amplify our powerful, unified voice at the Capitol.
2. What health-care related issue(s) have you advocated for over the past year?
The most important thing MMA and MEDPAC do every year is fight for the foundational values of our profession. Different issues come and go. Physicians are always the ethical voice of reason for healthcare.
That voice has never been more needed. It seems surreal how quickly the politics of lying, bullying and discrimination have been normalized. At times it seems like this might be a good reason to avoid political advocacy altogether, but we have to resist that notion. There is no more important time to stand up for science, facts and basic human decency. The cornerstones of our profession are worth fighting for.
We are fortunate to belong to a profession that is founded on an admirable set of ideals that can unite physicians across the political spectrum. To me it is an honor to help advocate for our rational, ethical profession regardless of what political issue may arise.
3. What advice would you offer to others who are interested in advocacy?
Join us! There are plenty of groups who benefit when physicians don’t advocate with a unified voice. Our patients don’t benefit though and neither do we. Too often we allow minor political differences or even our chosen specialty to divide our profession. Let’s all work together. MEDPAC is here to help unite physicians, to build a healthier state, and a better future. It’s easy to join MEDPAC and well worth the effort.