Advocacy, President's Message, Health Policy

Developing the Physician Advocate

While most of you will have graduated and moved into practice by the time all these changes take place, it is important to remain informed about the current challenges of our professional pathway and the future direction of our field

During my year as EMRA President, one of my goals has been to highlight the true value of membership. Going beyond our outstanding in-house publications, even going beyond free EM:Rap and other member benefits, EMRA does something more – we develop leaders. The EMpower initiative has been showcasing past members who found EMRA to be a launching pad for the rest of their careers. While we help to create leaders, in this issue I'd like to focus on how EMRA develops physician advocates.

I'm sure you've all been told before that as physicians, you are natural advocates. It's true – each and every day you speak for your patients to ensure that they get the resources and care that they need. Beyond that, though, EMRA develops emergency physician advocates using resources that you just can't get anywhere else.

EMRA Health Policy Committee and Legislative Advisor

EMRA has a Legislative Advisor on its board of directors who keeps the entire membership informed about general concepts within health policy, as well as hot topics such as health care reform and GME funding. The Legislative Advisor provides guidance for the board regarding these issues, and often serves as a liaison to external groups with shared interests. Moreover, he or she serves as the liaison to the EMRA Health Policy Committee.

As a longstanding member group, the EMRA Health Policy Committee is extremely engaged and active. Committee members keep members informed through articles in EM Resident, as well as via their Facebook feed. They also maintain a cache of health policy resources on the website.

EMRA Advocacy Handbook

In its third edition, the EMRA Advocacy Handbook (updated to latest 2019 edition) has evolved into the go-to resource for students and residents interested in emergency medicine health policy. It is being used across the country to augment traditional EM curricula, and to inspire readers to become more involved at the local, state, and national level. So vital is this information that EMRA has made it available on as a downloadable, FREE e-book.

ACEP 9-11 Legislative Action Network

EMRA also enjoys a tremendous working relationship with ACEP and, as a result, our members benefit from multiple other resources and opportunities in the world of health policy and advocacy. All members should sign up for the 911 Legislative Action Network. It's free and easy, and provides updates about events in DC pertinent to emergency medicine. Beyond just providing information, it allows emergency medicine to maximize its voice to legislators. Member communications often contain a link that contacts your legislator with a pre-formed advocacy message that you can customize as you see fit. Free, easy, powerful.

ACEP Leadership and Advocacy Conference

Every spring, ACEP puts on the Leadership and Advocacy Conference in Washington, D.C. where EMRA has the great pleasure of providing programming on the first day. Here you can learn about the basics of health policy, and then delve much deeper on select topics and hear from distinguished speakers and guests. This conference provides phenomenal opportunities to network, not only with your colleagues within emergency medicine, but also with your legislators and their staff on Capitol Hill. After learning about health policy issues and advocacy messages, you visit your state legislators' offices to speak about these issues, providing data, but also telling patient stories. This year's conference is right around the corner, May 18-21 at the Omni Shoreham.

EMRA-ACEP Health Policy Mini-Fellowship

For residents and young physicians interested in taking an even bigger step into the realm of health policy, EMRA and ACEP offer the mini-fellowship. This month-long experience places you in the center of the action in the ACEP Washington, D.C. office. Here, you gain hands-on experience on Capitol Hill and customize your time to meet your particular goal – whether that be lobbying, regulations, policy, or anywhere else your interest lies. Applications for this unmatched experience are due July 15, so check out now for more information.

EMRA = Physician Advocates

This basic equation holds true – EMRA equals physician advocates. EMRA is proud to offer various resources in order to make this so, and we encourage every single one of our members to take advantage of them. YOU have the ability to speak for medicine, our specialty, for your colleagues in the trenches, and for our patients.

Resources found on
EMRA Health Policy Committee
EMRA Legislative Advisor position description
Free downloadable EMRA Advocacy Handbook
EMRA-ACEP Mini-Fellowship in Washington

Resources found on
9-11 Legislative Action Network
Leadership and Advocacy Conference information