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Physicians Urged to Become 'Political Advocates' for Patients

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, March 19, 2014

Metzl says becoming a political advocate on behalf of patients does not mean that a doctor has to adopt a particular political philosophy such as liberal or conservative or Democrat or Republican.

"Caring about the infrastructure and the health of people in relation to the health of their communities, it is sad for me that that would be a liberal or a conservative issue. If we really care about health, the data is pretty clear about what sorts of things people need to do to live healthy lives," he says.

"Any responsible democracy should advocate for those positions no matter what side you're aligned with. Whether or not this curriculum gets picked up by every medical school medicine itself needs to be making that argument much more loudly. Medicine needs a vocabulary for saying that infrastructure and access to healthcare are not a liberal or conservative issue. It's a societal issue. Part of what we are trying to do through this is develop a new language for medicine itself to take up some of these issues. Medicine has been far too quiet."


John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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2 comments on "Physicians Urged to Become 'Political Advocates' for Patients"


G.M. Cowan, M.D. (3/27/2014 at 1:23 PM)
Take on more tasks? No problem! Right after I deal with Electronic Health Record software "upgrades" to meet "Meaningful Use" Phase one and two, institution of ICD-10, and all the other garbage that is coming between the physician and their patient.

Gus Geraci, MD (3/20/2014 at 4:13 PM)
Before you draw conclusions about what you hear from medical students, please talk to practicing physicians. Physicians can't do everything. Let us do medicine, and use other team members to help solve other issues. Recognition of the problem is fine, asking us to solve is not.