William Estes, MD: Members Move Medicine: Seeing physician advocacy up close


The AMA “Members Move Medicine” series profiles a wide variety of doctors, offering a glimpse into the passions of women and men navigating new courses in American medicine.

On the move with: William Estes, a medical student in Washington and the AMA’s 2017–2018 Government Relations Advocacy Fellow.

AMA member since: 2014.

What inspired me to pursue a career in medicine: I’m training to become a physician because that is the best way for me to use my interests and abilities for the betterment of man. Scripture commands: “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”

How I move medicine: This year I’m serving as a member of the AMA’s federal advocacy team in Washington. The office strives to provide America’s doctors with a keen eye and a respected voice on Capitol Hill, and it’s been a blessing to help out with and learn from this work.

Career highlights: The highlight of my year was the medical student fly-in we held in March. We flew in more than 400 students from 42 states to take part in 268 congressional visits on the Hill. Featured guests at the conference included a celebrated health policy journalist, an official from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and a United States senator. I remember my first D.C. fly-in as a med student well—that’s where I first got hooked on organized medicine. So it was great to be on the other side as the organizer to try and pay that forward. 

Advice I’d give to those interested in pursuing a career in medicine: Once you become a med student, you’ll begin to hear a voice in your head (and perhaps a few over your shoulder) constantly warning you against overcommitment. Don’t listen.

In med school, you’ll quickly develop a work ethic that far outstrips what seemed like your best efforts in college. In the same way, if you push yourself to get involved on campus and in your community, you may be surprised by what you’re able to accomplish. As my dad always says, “If you want something done, give it to a busy man.” And don’t join clubs for a line on your resume. It’s painfully obvious.

Aspect of my work that means the most: There’s always something new to learn and there are many obstacles, but I hope to hang on to the idea that with a little love and patience I can make a real difference in someone’s life. 

Learn more about AMA members who are relentlessly moving medicine through advocacy, education, patient care and practice innovation, and join or renew today.