Lecture Discussion 108    

Alexander Brown, PhD, Meghan Farrell, BS 

According to the American Medical Association’s Code of Ethics, when state or federal laws impede physicians’ ability to practice in accordance with their ethical or professional values, they are encouraged to take measures to alter or change these laws.  Despite the importance of this civic responsibility, legislative advocacy education is not commonly offered during formal medical training.   The ACGME, for instance, does not designate it as a program requirement for family medicine.  The AAFP offers two scholarships annually to residents to engage in advocacy at a national or federal level, but this does not nearly address this relative training gap.  This presentation will focus on the developing efforts to engage residents at NH Dartmouth Family Medicine Residency in state-level legislative advocacy, with the aim of enhancing personal engagement and meaning in their work by introducing them to the possible breadth of their influence outside of the exam room.  It will tell the story of how residents at our program were galvanized in response to a recent bill proposal, and the ways that the program has tried to respond to this interest through both formal educational experiences and promoting opportunities for civic engagement.  Finally, the presentation will offer practical recommendations and strategies for how other programs may begin to develop in this area as well.  Physicians everywhere often have significant positional power in their communities; the purpose of this presentation is to encourage attendees to reflect on how their programs are teaching residents how to wield that power responsibly.        

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