How future physicians can advocate for patients and improve public health | Admissions doctor at the Faculty of Medicine

Becoming a doctor requires not only a solid foundation in science, but also a commitment to patient advocacy and improvement public health. Advocacy in the medical profession involves ensuring that patients’ needs—medical and otherwise—are met and that broader public health issues are addressed.

Health care advocacy includes supporting and promoting patients’ rights and well-being, ensuring equal access to care and solutions social determinants of health in your patients and in the wider population. Advocacy can help improve patient outcomes, lead to greater health equity, and accelerate more effective public health interventions.

Legal work of Dr. Uncovering the Flint water crisis, Mony Hanna-Attisha highlights how physicians can shed light on critical public health issues, spur policy change, and accelerate improvements in health outcomes for communities.

How to develop advocacy skills as a premed

Starting early can allow pre-service students to build a strong foundation in advocacy in health care settings by beginning to understand health care systems and patient needs. Critical thinking, empathy, communication, and leadership are key skills for effective advocacy, and each can be developed as a premed student.

Long-term involvement in a range of organizations, including debating clubs, volunteer organizations and advocacy groups, can help award-winning students develop these skills while gaining valuable leadership experience.

Ways to get involved in advocacy as a Premed

Finding income opportunities to contribute to can be challenging defense as a premed student, but if you look hard enough, you’ll undoubtedly find worthwhile ways to spend your time.

Volunteering at a free clinic or health fair can help you begin to understand the health needs of your local community, as well as the barriers to accessing health care. Getting involved in campaigns such as vaccination campaigns, anti-smoking initiatives or blood pressure monitoring programs allows students to make a meaningful contribution to public health efforts and raise awareness of important health problems.

Groups such as the American Medical Student Association and the American Physician Scientists Association offer opportunities to engage in advocacy projects and network with like-minded peers, and are open to undergraduate students. Attending town hall meetings or following health policy updates can also help students understand the legislative process and the impact of local or national policies on patient care and is a good habit to get involved in, which will be valuable during and after. medical faculty.

Network with doctors

Doctors have the expertise and credibility to influence health policy decisions and ensure they are based on sound medical evidence, and as such can make a significant contribution to public health.

There are many examples, including Dr. Leany Wen, former Baltimore City Health Commissioner, who introduced important principles for the solution the opioid crisis and is an example of how physicians can lead public health initiatives.

You can find local examples in any city in America, and connecting with these individuals will give you an understanding of the unique advocacy landscape in your community and help you identify areas in which you can contribute.

Influencing public health policy

Programs such as Health Policy Fellowships for Medical Students provide formal training in policy advocacy and legislative processes, but pre-med students can also make their own contributions to public health policy.

Meeting with legislators or participating in public health forums can give students a voice in health policy discussions and help educate them on the most important issues of the day. By using social media sharing information about public health issues can mobilize support and influence public opinion.

If you have the time, volunteering with organizations like the Red Cross or your local health department can allow you to make perhaps the most significant contribution to public health efforts and gain hands-on experience. Devoting significant, long-term time to these organizations will provide invaluable experience for a career as a health care advocate, experience that will be beneficial at every stage medical training and for.

Incorporating advocacy into your medical school application

High school admissions committees will be looking for evidence that you’re not just going to join the medical profession, but to improve it in some way—advancing your chosen field and leaving it better than you found it. Discussion of specific advocacy projects or initiatives demonstrates this trait in practice and demonstrates an important commitment to addressing health disparities and improving patient care.

Talking about advocacy experiences during conversations it demonstrates a proactive approach to health care issues and is something you should emphasize to your interviewers. Letters of recommendation from longitudinal mentors or supervisors involved in advocacy can vouch for your dedication and impact in the field, especially if you’ve spent a lot of time in such organizations.

Advocacy is a vital component of the medical profession and plays a key role in improving patient care and improving public health. Pre-med students can develop important advocacy skills through volunteering, education, and direct involvement in public health initiatives—you don’t have to be a medical student to get started.

By embracing advocacy early in your career, you can strive to make a lasting impact on health policy and patient outcomes, working to ensure healthier and better righteous company.