Prior to residency, I had the opportunity to work on Capitol Hill for the Senate HELP Committee and for my United States Congressman. These experiences showed me the importance of being involved in health policy.
Working with the Academy, OPHTHPAC® and the Surgical Scope Fund have helped me advocate for my patients and profession. You’ll be motivated to start making an impact after meeting with advocacy leaders and learning about events, such as the Mid-Year Forum, at this Power Hour. This session informed YOs how they can utilize Academy resources and engage in advocacy efforts with their peers.
1. Darby Miller shared how residents’ testimony helped educate and ultimately impacted state leaders votes on important legislation. "They want to hear from young ophthalmologists," he said.
2. Ken Cheng urged YOs to think about contributing to the OPHTHPAC and SSF, just like paying your annual medical dues and malpractice insurance.
3. Show up and follow up. Be a resource for your state and federal officials. Meet with them at the Mid-Year Forum or a local office meeting and stay engaged so you can give them the most up-to-date information on issues impacting your patients and ophthalmology.
Current and future leaders in ophthalmology shared compelling stories about why they advocate and how they plan to be a strong voice for ophthalmology and their patients this year. Leaders from OphthPAC and SSF stressed the importance of being involved through giving, meeting with legislators, and educating fellow colleagues about AAO’s advocacy efforts.
It was powerful to hear from former Advocacy Ambassadors about their Congressional Advocacy Day and Mid-Year Forum experiences. For many, this was their first interaction with an elected official, and the congressional visits stimulated their desire to stay involved and support OPHTHPAC and SSF.
YOs shared stories of their state policy battles highlighting how imperative it is to be active in advocacy efforts throughout the year. Educating yourself on the issues our patients and profession face should be an integral part of training and being an ophthalmologist in practice today.