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General Campaign Strategies

The Department of Young Physician Services and the AMA Young Physicians Section Governing Council offers these tips to aid young physicians who are interested in running for office but who may not know where to begin. The Governing Council would be most interested in talking with any young physician who is interested in seeking an AMA office, and can advise as to the strategy most specific to the position being sought.

Talk to a Governing Council member
He/she can advise as to the specific steps you need to take, and advise you on a strategy most appropriate to the office being sought.

Contact your state and specialty societies and tell them of your decision to run for a national office. Obtain their support and/or endorsement for your candidacy.
Even if the society is unable or unwilling to provide funding, it may have experience in running other campaigns. This experience can be lent to your candidacy.

Ask the AMA-YPS Governing Council for its endorsement of your nomination
There are also some positions to which the Governing Council can nominate young physician candidate.

Evaluate yourselfand your strengths and weaknesses
Evaluate not only from your point of view, but also that of the prospective voter. Play strongly to your perceived strengths. Don't proactively defend your perceived weaknesses, but be able to respond to any questions regarding them.

Sign up for the AMPAC Campaign School
This multi-day school, while focused on campaigns for political office outside of medicine, gives insights and training that can make the difference between a victory celebration and a narrow defeat. At a minimum, you'll have a new understanding and awareness of how campaign goals and decisions are made.

Get as well known as possible prior to declaring your candidacy: network at every opportunity.
Introduce yourself to other young physicians. Collect business cards. Send follow-up letters to those who were especially memorable or with whom you’d like to keep in touch.

There is no substitute for personal one-on-one contact
Let potential voters know the plans you have made to make time available in your practice to devote the duties of your office. Do not pressure them for commitment to vote for you if they hesitate; rather, make a note and return to them later on in the meeting to see if they have changed their minds or have any other questions. If it is clear they are supporting an opponent, thank them for their time and move on.

Talk to everyone; don't ignore anyone.
Every contact you make and every voter you gain can translate into more support and more votes. Everyone is a potential voter, and the one voter you ignore could cost you more than just that one vote.

Identify a small group of supportive physicianswho are willing to campaign on your behalf.
Brief them on your perception of the key issues you have identified and how you stand on them. Ask them to call other friends who may be supportive of your candidacy to start the network going.

Update your CV (you may want to view the YPS Publication, Your CV and Other Job Search Tips) and prepare a statement of interest
For the AMA Board and councils, prepare your statement for inclusion in the official election manual.

Prepare your speech well in advance and practice giving it prior to the meeting
Adequate preparation will allow you to give a speech that effectively communicates your personality as well as your stances on the issues. You might also wish to take advantage of any speaker training seminars offered by the AMA, your state medical society, or your community.

During the AMA House of Delegates meeting, ask your colleagues to introduce you to their colleagues
Attend every delegation caucus you can to become recognized. Go to your state delegation breakfasts and lunches. Contact your delegation head to get a schedule of group social functions and outings, and participate in as many as possible. Attend all social functions and receptions.Prepare brief remarks and be prepared to answer questions. Volunteer to monitor a House reference committee for the AMA-YPS; volunteer to testify on AMA-YPS policy if needed.

Running for office is a valuable experience, win or lose. The experience gained from any campaign, no matter how small, will come in handy in the years to come. Have fun and try hard to win, but remember that the race itself is valuable. No matter what the results of the election are, physicians are all working for the same cause and will continue to work together for many years to come.