:: to the teeth ::    thoughts on social justice, medicine, race, hope and beats

"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way.
On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." :: Arundhati Roy ::

"The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any." :: Alice Walker ::
Monday, January 16, 2006  

It's on -- future physicians in California makin' noise on health care!

Last week I was blown away by med students. I spoke at a conference on universal health care, organized by some great medical students at UCLA, and attended by over 100 medical and premedical students from ALL the southern california medical schools. The topic I was asked to speak about was how to be a Universal Health Care activist. Yikes! Umm...i dunno... do you? So I shared some thoughts on where I thought medical students and physicians fit in with the movement, and some ways that medical students are thinking outside the box with creative education and action pieces. And then I turned the 2nd half of the session into a discussion, as there wasn't another place in the conference for discussion and i'm big on reflection. We had a fascinating discussion on taking this information and translating it into further education and meaningful action. What was fascinating was that the conversation turned QUICKLY from that into the specifics of "framing" messages on the topic and it seems the med students in the session really felt that framing was the biggest issue that needed work. These folks were definitely ahead of the game, and that was fun. Inspiring med students rock :>

And these cats aren't stopping there. Way back in September, when I visited a friend of mine in San Francisco, I bumped into a med student at UCSF, Renuka Tipurneni, who shared with me that the California med schools' AMSA chapters were teaming up to pull off a coordinated lobby day event later in the year. And they did it -- at the UCLA conference, Duncan Parker, a med student at UC Irvine, riled everyone up about SB 840, the single-payer healthcare bill sponsored by Cali senator Sheila Kuehl. And from these and other medical students' coordinated efforts (thanks to Vanessa Calderon for putting on the UCLA conference, a number of other med students in Cali organizing these events, and Kao and Chris from the national AMSA office for putting efforts into it too and creating wonderful talking points on the bill), along with endless energy from Don Bechler and others at Health Care for All Cali and folks at California Physicians Alliance, more than 150 medical students are going to Sacramento to lobby on this bill tomorrow! I'm bummed I can't go, I'll be in the medical ICU at the hospital, but I do wish them all luck, and those of us who can't go are awaiting fun photos and stories from the event.

More info on SB 840, the bill they're lobbying on here and here, and a link to California Senator Sheila Kuehl's website.

The press release for the event tomorrow is below. Good luck to the med students tomorrow! Whether single payer or other related health care reform, it's great that there's positive movement and by future physicians too. Some say -- as California does, the US follows... let's see :>


David A. Brown
Phone: 949-241-1935
Email: dabrown@uci.edu


IRVINE, Calif., Jan. 17th, 2006 – The next generation of doctors has a different prescription for the health of California. Alarmed by the growing disparity in healthcare statewide, medical students from all 10 California medical schools will converge on the state capitol from 12-1 PM on Jan. 17th, 2006 to demand an expansion of healthcare access to all Californians.

This gathering will mark the largest ever coordinated effort by California medical students to promote universal healthcare. More than 150 students are expected to demonstrate on the capitol steps, followed by meetings with State Senators and Assembly Members. The event is being organized by local chapters of the American Medical Student Association (AMSA), which is the oldest and largest independent association of physicians-in-training in the United States.

The rally and legislative visits will support a 2005 California State Senate bill introduced by Senator Sheila Kuehl (D-Santa Monica) that proposes to establish the California Health Insurance Agency, which would provide single-payer healthcare coverage to all residents of California. The bill, designated SB 840, passed the State Senate and Assembly Health Committee last year, and will be reintroduced to the State Assembly this year. Senator Kuehl is the keynote speaker at the rally and will address the students at 12 PM.

“That our newest generation of doctors is exhibiting such a strong commitment to universal health care means it is only a matter of time until it becomes a reality,” said Kuehl. “In a system faced with growing numbers of uninsured and medical bankruptcies, as well as rapidly deteriorating quality of care, these future doctors are acting to protect not only their future patients, but also their own ability to practice good medicine. We must listen.”

Now topping over 6.5 million, the burgeoning number of medically-uninsured state residents has sparked widespread activism and legislative action...

(cross-posted at Los Anjalis)

posted by Anjali Taneja | 1/16/2006 08:23:00 PM | |


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