I had received a message from Diana Shiba, MD. Normally, when I receive a call from an unfamiliar physician with a different area code, I assume that it is a solicitation and do not return the call.
However, I did call Dr. Shiba and she asked me to become an advocate. I asked her, what is and what are the duties of an advocate? She said that I only had to hand carry items to the local congressional members.“Dr. Shiba also asked, “By the way, would you like to go to the Congressional Advocacy Day in April?” I had no idea what she was talking about, but decided to take her up on her invitation.
When I arrived in Washington, I was amazed to see how many ophthalmologists had taken time away from their office at their own expense to help lobby for the causes of the Academy! In 32 years of practice, I am embarrassed to say that I had only checked off the contribution box every December when renewing my membership dues. I had no idea how many of our colleagues devoted their time to help my practice.
I was also shocked to hear that only about 12 percent of our membership actually contributes to OPHTHPAC and the Surgical Scope Fund. Not only did I feel embarrassed that I have not done more over the years, but I was also embarrassed that more of my fellow colleagues have not contributed, although they benefit from all this hard work.
Certainly, Dr. Shiba opened my eyes to necessity to contribute both more time and funds in the future. I also urge you to do the same. The issues now undergoing debate in Congress and the state capitols greatly impact your practice! The benefits that you will receive will more than compensate for your contributions.
Kenneth C. Low, MD, is a comprehensive ophthalmologist.