Happy New Year! Welcome to 2017, the year of the Fire Rooster. It is my honor to serve you this year as president of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Academy of Family Physicians. As I reflect on the major events affecting medicine locally and internationally in 2016—from the Zika outbreak to California’s passage of Prop 56—the tobacco tax, I am struck by how much more will change for us in 2017.
Regardless of where you fall along the political spectrum, this year will be a very important one for family doctors and their patients. The new presidential administration has indicated that some major changes in the Affordable Care Act—including the possibility of a repeal, are coming down the pipeline. Although the extent of these changes won’t be apparent for many months, it is clear that family doctors will once again be called upon to advocate for their patients and communities to ensure that access to good quality health care remains a priority.
As family doctors, we return to our professional principles to guide us in times of change. While our individual viewpoints are as diverse as we are, we stand united in supporting improved health care access for all, sound public health policy, protection of our most vulnerable patients, and an unwavering commitment to science. As we evaluate new and proposed health policies over the next year, let’s agree to use these principles as a starting point.
I have an ask for our wonderful members, and it’s a big one: this year, can you become involved in advocacy for your patients and your profession? There are so many opportunities to make a difference, both big and small. Here are a few ideas:
- Sign up to join us at the All Member Advocacy Meeting in Sacramento in March: http://www.familydocs.org/all-member-advocacy-meeting This is an annual event sponsored by the CAFP that includes two days of advocacy and leadership training followed by an opportunity to meet with your state representatives to share your perspective as a family doctor.
- Check out the AAFP Grassroots Toolkit: http://www.aafp.org/advocacy/involved/toolkit.html This website is a clearinghouse of resources on upcoming legislation pertaining to family medicine, opportunities to act as an advisor to elected officials, and notices about upcoming advocacy events.
- Donate to FamMedPAC http://www.aafp.org/advocacy/donate/fammedpac/mem.mem.html FamMedPAC strengthens family doctors’ presence in Washington by supporting candidates who protect the interests of family doctors and their patients.
Do you have other ideas that you would like to share with the LAAFP community? Please, let us know! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shannon Connolly MD FAAFP