Our nation is struggling to provide basic healthcare for all of its citizens for a variety of reasons. One of the simple reasons is that we’ve created a medical education system that simply is not producing enough primary care doctors for a population that grows older and more complex. Fortunately, at my current institution, we’ve set upon a path to try to help with this, through the development of a primary care track in our Internal Medicine residency program. It’s exciting to help build something from scratch that will hopefully inspire some young physicians to pursue general internal medicine and provide excellent clinical care while tackling some of the biggest issues in healthcare today.
Advocacy is one of these themes that I hope will be a hallmark of our program. As generalists, we advocate on many levels. We advocate for our patients when they face terrible illnesses and uncertainty. When the healthcare system lets our patient down, we advocate for them to help overcome road blocks. We advocate for those that the political world far too often marginalizes such as immigrants, elderly, children and women. We also advocate for our own physician and healthcare colleagues against the powers that be that preclude our efforts to take care of our patients.
Advocacy is a common ideal amongst the intrepid medical student that too often gets lost as a result of accumulating student debt, burnout, lack of mentorship and the general rigors of residency. I’m hoping with our primary care track, we can reinvigorate these ideals and empower the next generation of physicians to keep advocacy an integral part of their career.
I never had any specific training with advocacy. I’m learning this on the fly. But the modern world has made this much easier for busy clinicians like myself. This blog, though it’s reach is small is a personal quest to advocate for issues I care about. Social media is a powerful tool that brings the world immensely close together. I can directly communicate with people who can help me make a difference. In fact today, I tweeted our local congressman @REPEBJ to hopefully ignite a relationship with legislators who can advocate and enact change at the government level.
I also found a tremendous amount of resources at Society of General Internal Medicine Advocacy to help bring this theme to our primary care track.
If anyone reading this has other ideas, please let me know! This is an exciting and important endeavor for us a program and the people of Texas!