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Engaging in advocacy during medical training: assessing the impact of a virtual COVID-19-focused state advocacy day.

Authors
  • Yu, Zizi1
  • Moustafa, Danna1
  • Kwak, Ruby1
  • O'Connor, Daniel M2
  • Cavanaugh-Hussey, Margaret W3
  • Huang, Jennifer T4
  • LaChance, Avery H5
  • 1 Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
  • 2 Harvard Combined Dermatology Residency Program, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
  • 3 Department of Dermatology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
  • 4 Division of Dermatology, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
  • 5 Department of Dermatology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA [email protected]
Type
Published Article
Journal
Postgraduate Medical Journal
Publisher
BMJ
Publication Date
May 01, 2022
Volume
98
Issue
1159
Pages
365–368
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1136/postgradmedj-2020-139362
PMID: 33441479
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

The physician voice is crucial to shaping health policy and public health guidelines, particularly during COVID-19. However, there are gaps in health policy and advocacy education within graduate medical education. This study sought to characterise the impact of a virtual COVID-19 focused advocacy day among medical trainees in Massachusetts. The half-day event featured speakers drawn from government relations experts, physician advocates, and state and federal legislators as well as breakout discussions among attendees. A 25-question Redcap survey and list of resources/opportunities for continued advocacy was administered to all participants at event's conclusion on 19 May 2020. There were 60 responses from 141 participants (43% response rate). One-third reported no prior formal health policy instruction, and over half reported getting information from news publications, social media and peers. 58% believed physician involvement in advocacy to be 'extremely important' prior to COVID-19; 83% believed the same after onset of COVID-19 (p<0.0001). The most common barriers to advocacy engagement were lack of time and knowledge. Most attendees felt participation increased their knowledge and likelihood to engage in the COVID-19 response, imparted useful skills/knowledge for continued advocacy, increased their interest in future similar events, and that such events should be available to all trainees. Trainees recognise the importance of health policy and advocacy and value opportunities to gain the necessary skills/knowledge to effect tangible change. Virtual advocacy days can be replicated nationwide to help trainees learn about advocacy efforts and find their legislative voices during COVID-19 and beyond. © Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2022. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.

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