Both Bruce MacLeod, MD, recently installed president of the Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED) and Michael Fraser, PhD, CAE, new executive vice president of PAMED, share common priorities for the coming year: member engagement and advocacy.
“We are in the middle of a major shift in health care which began even before the Affordable Care Act,” said Dr. MacLeod as he addressed the delegates at PAMED’s annual House of Delegates meeting. “So, how do we survive and thrive in this new world? Mahatma Ghandi said, ‘The future depends on what you do today,’ and what we can do is advocacy.”
Dr. MacLeod calls on his fellow physicians to be advocates for their patients.
“At the basic level, advocacy is simply about relationships between people such as you and your state representative, mayor, or member of Congress,” he said. We, as physicians, are still highly respected by our patients and society in general and alone we can give the physician’s perspective on the issues at hand.”
“Imagine a membership who all know their state representative and senator and are engaged with the political process. It matters not whether the advocacy is even for an issue germane or salient to PAMED. What matters is the engagement and the investment in building and nurturing relationships which shall yield the fruits of success.”
Just as Dr. MacLeod stressed physician engagement in advocacy, Fraser stressed the importance of physician engagement in PAMED. “We have asked why fewer members are joining PAMED over the past few years. This is the wrong question. Instead, we should be asking what value and relevance can we bring as the premiere organization for all Pennsylvania physicians. And when we demonstrate that value and relevance, I am confident we will see our member numbers improve and see more active and engaged physician members.”
Dr. MacLeod went on to recommend that PAMED develop and implement a plan whereby more members would participate in advocacy activities.
Physicians can get involved in a number of ways to advocate on issues that could impact their practice environment and their patients’ safety and health. Use PAMED’s advocacy tool to send a message to your legislators about proposed legislation that could impact your practice or your patients. Watch for alerts urging members to take action on these issues.
Both MacLeod and Fraser stressed that physician advocacy is a core activity for PAMED. “I want members to know—all physicians in Pennsylvania to know—that we have their back in Harrisburg,” Fraser said. “To do the important work we have to do, we need all physicians to be a part of PAMED and work with us to move our agenda forward. In the coming years physicians can be confident that we are working hard to represent them well across the state and here in Harrisburg. I urge members to get non-member colleagues engaged, share the benefits of PAMED membership, and join us to make a difference in the lives of all physicians in the Commonwealth.”