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Getting Your Doctor to Advocacy Day:

Jason Griffith PhotoAdvocacy Day brings together people from varied backgrounds with one purpose: to put a voice to legislation that grows families and limits restrictions to quality care. The experience of putting forward a family friendly agenda was energizing and enriching to me professionally. On a personal level, I was inspired to see so many people coming together with a united focus. Yet, I have noticed that physicians are relatively underrepresented at this crucial event. In thinking about reasons why they might be less likely to participate, I believe the rationale would involve a few central themes: some feel the pressure of being absent from daily practice, some question the impact their presence will have on legislators, and others believe that their membership in professional societies and participation with groups like RESOLVE lends support to legislative action.


Without a doubt, physicians have busy practices. Most are members of professional organizations, and the current political climate may make many feel the legislative gridlock is insurmountable. So how do we get your doctor to see past these obstacles and focus on the goal of advancing this legislative agenda?


1. Make sure your doctor knows about advocacy day and what the mission is for this session. Until one of my pharmaceutical industry colleagues discussed the event with me 5 years ago, I was completely unaware of the RESOLVE legislative effort.


2. Specifically ask for your doctor’s support and assistance. Physicians chose their profession with the strong desire to help others; it’s a part of our core philosophy. It is very difficult to deny a request for help, specifically for a mission that is designed to improve access to care and patient choice.


3. Appeal to the sense of pride that comes from having a noble profession. Let your doctor know that the legislators take extra pause when a physician takes time away from practice to personally visit their D.C. office. Doctors are able to answer questions about medical details of the agenda, providing essential background data that may have significant influence in the way a legislator views and votes on proposed bills.


In summary, physician support is a critical piece in the success of patient advocacy legislation. Like me, many physicians will be moved to action once they are educated about the process and the value of their personal participation.


Jason S. Griffith, M.D.
Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility Practice Director
Houston Fertility Institute


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