Mid-Year Forum 2017 and Congressional Advocacy Day provide a unique chance to effect change on Capitol Hill, while learning more about policy, politics and practice management. The Mid-Year Forum is one of the Academy’s most important meetings. Here are five tips for making the most of your experience, from the members of the YO Advocacy Subcommittee.
1. Make a connection
Prior to the event, connect with your state ophthalmology society. It’s not only a great resource for finding mentors and leadership opportunities. Your state society can also put you in touch with legislators while you’re in Washington, D.C. and keep you updated about scope-of-practice legislation in your state throughout the year.
Courtney Bovee, MD
Mount Dora, Fla.
2. Actively participate
This is a chance to be bigger than yourself for the good of thousands of patients and your profession. So don’t be just an observer: Go to every event you can. Introduce yourself to every person you can. Ask questions and actively participate as much as you can.
I’ve been attending the Mid-Year Forum for four years, and by becoming more and more involved each year, I was able to sit down with a key legislator and share my own positions face to face.
Peter Karth, MD
3. Focus on one issue
The Academy will give you a list of important issues to discuss on Capitol Hill. Choose one of these and own it during Congressional Advocacy Day. For every legislator and staffer your group meets, you’ll be the point person on this topic. That way, you can gain important experience talking to members of Congress instead of just being along for the ride.
Lindsay Rhodes, MD
4. Enjoy yourself
Don't forget to have fun while catching up with colleagues, advocating for your patients and confronting the issues facing ophthalmology today!
And be sure to check out the Surgical Scope Fund and OPHTHPAC receptions happening during the meeting. Visit the Academy’s Mid-Year Forum program for more info.
Darby Miller, MD
5. Build a long-term relationship with legislators
Be sure to follow up with your legislators to continue the dialogue once you leave Washington, D.C. This can be as simple as an email letting their offices know that you’d like to be a future resource for legislative issues regarding eye care. You can also invite your legislators to participate in upcoming events in your area like your grand rounds Mid-Year Forum presentation!
Erin Lessner, MD