• 5 Tips for Advocating at Home

    Jim Tracy, past member of the Tennessee Senate, meets with young ophthalmologists.

    At Mid-Year Forum, you'll learn the power of advocacy and how policy and politics affect your profession and your patients. But how can you continue to advocate after the event is over? Young ophthalmologists share their tips for staying involved at home.

    1. Educate Local Politicians

    Consider hosting state lawmakers at your eye hospital or ophthalmology department. It's a great opportunity to teach them more about our field.

    —Lindsay A. Rhodes, MD

    Get to know your local and state representatives. Building these relationships is key when a surgical scope battle comes to your state.

    —Peter A. Karth, MD, MBA

    2. Join Your State Society

    One of the best ways you can advocate for your patients is to join and get involved with your state ophthalmological society. You will work with amazing people who share common goals to advocate for patient safety, promote public education and organize outreach events. You will also build invaluable friendships with other ophthalmologists that last a lifetime.

    —Darby D. Miller, MD, MPH

    Get involved with your local society. State ophthalmology societies and medical associations are a great resource for advocacy as well as leaders who can mentor you throughout your career.

    —Courtney Bovee, MD

    3. Donate to Your PACs

    Develop a savings plan whereby you can budget and save for donations to the Surgical Scope Fund and OPHTHPAC—they are a huge key to the success of our mission.

    —Dr. Karth

    Advocate at home by contributing money to your local PACs. This ensures that your state medical and ophthalmological societies are able to support the lawmakers who are putting your patients and their care first.

    —Janice Law, MD

    4. Stay Informed

    Do something related to advocacy every week. It might be a quick email blast or phone call to local or state politicians. Or it might be staying current on recent advocacy efforts by the Academy and your state societies. Keeping yourself informed about threats to our patients is a huge step toward doing something about it.

    —Dr. Karth

    5. Get Your Peers Excited

    I always return home from the Mid-Year Forum feeling more energized and ready to speak up for my patients' needs. I'm only only person, so imagine how much of an impact we could all make if we combined our efforts and passions? One way I continue to advocate at home is to get medical students, residents and fellows interested in speaking out for patient safety and excited about taking an active role in improving the quality of patient care in our community.

    —Dr. Law

    * * *

    About the authors:

    Courtney Bovee, MD, is a glaucoma specialist at the Mid Florida Eye Center and member of the Academy’s YO Advocacy subcommittee.

    Peter A. Karth, MD, MBA, is a member of the Academy’s YO Advocacy subcommittee and a vitreoretinal physician and surgeon with Oregon Eye Consultants.

    Janice Law, MD, is the director of medical student education at the Vanderbilt Eye Institute, a member of the Academy’s YO committee and graduate of the Academy’s Leadership Development Program XVII, class of 2015.

    Darby D. Miller, MD, MPH, is an assistant professor of ophthalmology at the Mayo Clinic, a member of the Academy’s YO Advocacy Subcommittee and president-elect of the Florida Society of Ophthalmology. He is a member of the Academy’s Leadership Development Program XX, class of 2018.

    Lindsay A. Rhodes, MD, is an assistant professor of ophthalmology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine. Dr. Rhodes chairs the Academy’s YO advocacy subcommittee and was a member of the Leadership Development Program XVII, class of 2015.