Medical Student Advocacy Day
2015 Medical Student Advocacy Day
What is Advocacy Day?
MSS Advocacy Day is an excellent opportunity to increase your awareness of legislative issues affecting medicine, to foster relationships with legislators through political involvement, and to gain real-life education in the practical aspects of physician advocacy.
Advocacy Day activities include interactive educational sessions on effective advocacy and lobbying techniques, briefings on legislative issues currently before Congress, and a full afternoon on Capitol Hill meeting with legislators and their staffs.
Nearly 200 medical students headed to Capitol Hill on Wednesday February 12 to talk with their members of Congress about preserving funding for graduate medical education and repealing Medicare's sustainable growth rate formula.
This year's Advocacy Day was challenged with almost a foot of snow. Although nearly all congressional visits were cancelled due to the weather, students still had their voice heard. Students sent their Senators and Representatives pictures and video clips from the Capitol with the tag: #AMAsnowday. These pictures received thousands of views within the first 24 hours, and the story was picked up by the AMA Wire.
"I think everyone around here was pretty terrified a day ago," said William Pearce, AMA Government Relations Advocacy Fellow and third-year medical student at the University of South Florida. "But it gave us a wonderful opportunity to advocate in a way we've never been able to do."
Before heading to Capitol Hill, students received training on effective advocacy and lobbying techniques. They began the day with a talk from Sen. John Barrasso, MD, chair of the Senate Republican Policy Committee and a former member of the AMA's Medical Student Section. Matt Heinz, MD, Director of Provider Outreach at HHS, also spoke to the students on current issues in healthcare and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
"Advocacy Day teaches medical students how to advocate effectively," said Shannon Brockman, a third-year medical student at the University of Florida College of Medicine. "Students receive instruction on how to talk to congressional aides and other parts of the lobbying process."