Doctors for America Advocacy Grand Rounds

Join Us for Our Next Advocacy Grand Rounds Session

Read more about our upcoming session below.

Best Care Anywhere – Lessons Learned in the VA Health System and Opportunities for Growth

November 11, 2021

Session Speakers

photo of Dr. Matthews standing and crossing her arms while smiling and wearing a suit jacket
Kameron L. Matthews, MD, JD, FAAFP

Kameron Matthews, M.D., J.D., FAAFP, as Assistant Under Secretary for Health (AUSH) for Clinical Services, is the Chief Medical Officer of the Veterans Health Administration. She formerly served as the AUSH for Community Care where she was responsible for the community-based provider network that expanded Veteran access to care. Dr. Matthews is a board-certified family physician, advocate and policy maker with a career focused on underserved patient populations. She joined the VA in 2016 after multiple leadership roles in Chicago, Illinois in correctional medicine, federally qualified health centers, and managed care. As a passion outside of work, she co-directs the Tour for Diversity in Medicine, an initiative seeking to bring premedical enrichment activities to underrepresented minority high school and college students across the country.

Dr. Henry standing and smiling wearing a white sweater in front of a building
Marion Henry, MD, MPH

Marion Henry, MD, MPH,  is a Professor of Surgery at the University of Chicago, having recently moved there from the University of Arizona in Tucson. A former Commander in the US Navy, Dr Henry served as the Ship’s Surgeon on the aircraft carrier the USS Carl Vinson, the chief of Pediatric Surgery at Naval Medical Center San Diego and the Director for Surgical Services during Pacific Partnership 2015 on the USNS Mercy.  Dr. Henry is very active nationally in Pediatric Surgery and in Surgical Advocacy as a member of the Gun Violence Prevention Collaborative, and she serves on the National Steering Committee for Gun Violence Prevention with Doctors for America. She is passionate about addressing the gun violence pandemic in the US through collaborative approaches at prevention, response and recovery while also addressing inequities in the health care system.

In 2014, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs was in crisis. Long waits, lack of funding, heavy caseloads, and the whole process lacked transparency. While not perfect, the turnaround of the Department of Veterans Affairs has been transformative! Today’s VA demonstrates a completely integrated health care system driven by an information system motivated by patient outcomes rather than reimbursements, incentives to save money by avoiding unnecessary procedures, and the power of mass purchasing. Discover the lessons we can learn from the VA Health System and uncover what the VA has left to learn. You will also walk away with how to advocate and support your veteran and active duty patients from conflicts past and present.

Join us to explore the following:

1) Recognize and understand the key challenges to the VA healthcare system today

2) Learn how the VA has changed their approach in order to better address the healthcare needs of veterans

3) Understand the ways the VA system is meeting the rising mental health care needs of veterans

4) Understand how the VA system has improved to meet the needs of a more diverse veteran population including women and LGBTQ veterans

Previous Advocacy Grand Rounds Sessions

Building Robust Partnerships with Local Organizations

October 14, 2021

Session Speakers

Joia Mukherjee
Joia Mukherjee

Joia Mukherjee, MD, MPH, is a physician, educator, and activist, trained in Infectious Disease, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, and public health. Since 2000, Dr. Mukherjee has served as the Chief Medical Officer of Partners In Health, an international medical organization with programs in the United States, Haiti, Rwanda, Lesotho, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Peru, Mexico, Russia, Kazakhstan, the Navajo nation and now, in the COVID-19 pandemic, in cities and states across the U.S. Dr. Mukherjee coordinates and supports PIH’s efforts to provide high quality, comprehensive health care to the poorest and most vulnerable. She is an Associate Professor at the Division of Global Health Equity at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Mukherjee is also on the faculty at the University of Global Health Equity in Rwanda. Joia teaches infectious disease, global health delivery, and human rights to health professionals and students from around the world and directs the Masters degree program in Global Health Delivery at Harvard Medical School. She is the author of Introduction to Global Health Delivery: Practice, Equity, Human Rights, a textbook published in 2017 by Oxford University Press. Her scholarship focuses on the health delivery, Universal Health Coverage, and human rights. Joia is a mother and a singer.

Isabel Cruz

Isabel is a passionate advocate dedicated to amplifying the voices of consumers and marginalized communities to promote equity and wellness in Colorado. Originally hailing from Brooklyn, NY, Isabel earned her BA in Sociology from Yale University with a certificate from the Multidisciplinary Academic Program in Human Rights. With over 6 years of experience in nonprofits across New York, New Haven, and Denver, she has dedicated her career to building power and nurturing leadership across diverse stakeholders to advance social change. In her role as Policy Manager at CCHI, Isabel is committed to bringing people together to advocate for policy solutions that ensure all Coloradans can access affordable and affirming healthcare. In her free time, you can find her exploring on her bike, taking her dog Mariposa on hikes and walks, and playing Ultimate Frisbee!

Join us to:

  • Emphasize the importance of building partnerships with like-minded organizations who can help to build and support advocacy efforts
  • Understand the components that make strong, successful, and lasting partnerships
  • Dissect how organizations can use successful partnerships to share the workload and effort of advocacy to their best advantage and in the face of obstacles such as limited funds and volunteer capacity

Three Pathways to Universal Care: Single Payer, Expanding the ACA, and State-Based Solutions

September 9, 2021

Session Speakers

Ed Weisbart
Ed Weisbart

Ed Weisbart, MD, CPE, FAAFP is a family physician in St. Louis MO and chairs the Missouri chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program, a non-profit non-partisan research and education organization in support of providing an improved form of Medicare to all Americans. After practicing family medicine for 20 years at Rush Medical Center in Chicago, he moved to St. Louis in 2003 to serve as chief medical officer of Express Scripts until retiring in 2010. He volunteered as an assistant professor of clinical medicine at Washington University in St. Louis MO from 2004 until retiring clinically in 2021. He received his medical degree at the University of Illinois in Chicago in 1979 and completed his family medicine residency and a fellowship in family medicine education at Michigan State University in1982. Dr. Weisbart is a national speaker with several articles published in both national medical journals and local media regarding the healthcare needs of the uninsured.

Bevin McLeod

Bevin McLeod, Co-Founder & Board President, assisted in the drafting and advocacy processes that realized the passage of the 2019 Pathway to Universal Healthcare Workgroup whose recommendations lead to Alliance for a Healthy Washington’s drafting and advocacy on the newly enacted permanent Universal Healthcare Commission. She has worked with a multitude of diverse stakeholders including tribal partners throughout WA State over the past five years to assist in passing legislation that increases affordability on the Exchange, increases access to maternal Medicaid patients in the postpartum period, expands health systems transparency, requires cost transparency for drug manufacturers, improves the Indian behavioral health system, and more. Previously, she was the Program Director for Health Care for All-WA, and comes from a diverse background of non-profit management, agricultural and economic development work, and advocacy on behalf of refugee and migrant communities. She is passionate about and committed to working on social justice and equity issues, and is focused on fulfilling projects that make our communities more sustainable and equitable for current and future generations. Bevin holds degrees in economics and international political economy from the University of Washington.

Cedric Dark
Cedric Dark

Cedric Dark, MD, MPH, FACEP is Founder and Executive Editor of Policy Prescriptions®. A graduate of Morehouse College, Dr. Dark earned his medical degree from New York University School of Medicine. He holds a master’s degree from the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University. He completed his residency training at George Washington University where he served as Chief Resident. Currently, Dr. Dark is an Assistant Professor in the Henry J. N. Taub Department of Emergency Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. Dark is the 2017 recipient of the Texas Medical Association’s C. Frank Webber Award, a 2019 American College of Emergency Physicians Choosing Wisely Champion, one of emergency medicine’s Top 45 Under 45, and on Elemental’s List of 50 Experts to Trust in a Pandemic. He currently is on the Board of Directors for Doctors for America and is the Medical Editor-in-Chief for the monthly publication ACEP Now. Dr. Dark’s policy experience includes work for the United States House of Representatives, the Kaiser Family Foundation, and the Joe Biden Campaign. Among his policy interests include the study of health reform at the intersection with international health systems on which he has spoken on this topic nationwide. Dr. Dark’s media experience includes print, radio, and television – including outlets such as NPR, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and BBC World News.ped countries.

Drug Affordability: Tipping the Scales Toward Equitable Prescription Drug Access

August 12, 2021

Session Speakers

Alison Case
Alison Case

Alison Case, MD is a Family Medicine physician in Indianapolis, Indiana where she practices full spectrum family medicine at a Federally Qualified Health Center. She also works as an abortion provider with Whole Woman’s Health. She credits her time as an advocate and fellow with the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) with radicalizing her and introducing her to drug affordability work. Alison currently serves on the Drug Affordability Steering Committee with Doctors for America.

Priti Kristel
Priti Krishtel

Priti Krishtel is a health justice lawyer and co-founder of I-MAK, a non-profit building a more just and equitable medicines system. She has spent nearly two decades exposing structural inequities affecting access to medicines and vaccines across the Global South and in the United States. That includes advocating for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines across the globe to ensuring that the Biden-Harris administration is prioritizing equity in the Patent and Trademark Office. I-MAK’s work on the patent system has been cited repeatedly in Congressional testimony on prescription drug costs, most recently in hearings by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. Priti is a recent TED speaker, Presidential Leadership Scholar, and Ashoka Fellow.

Peter Maybarduk
Peter Maybarduk

Peter Maybarduk directs Public Citizen’s access to medicines group, which helps partners worldwide make medicine available and affordable for all. Peter has provided technical assistance to public agencies and civil society organizations in several dozen countries. His work has supported major medicine price reductions and new state access to medicine policies, as well as helped defeat harmful proposals in legislation and trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership and NAFTA. Peter and his colleagues have helped organize the global movement for COVID vaccine access and rallied support for new vaccine manufacturing funding and technology transfer. Peter recently joined the governance board of the Medicines Patent Pool. Peter studied technology law at Berkeley Law School (University of California) and anthropology at The College of William & Mary in Virginia. He is an affiliate fellow with the Information Society Program at Yale Law School. Peter founded International Professional Partnerships for Sierra Leone, a non-profit dedicated to supporting public sector development in one of the world’s least developed countries.

Media Training and How To Write an Op Ed

July 8, 2021

Session Speakers

Cedric Dark
Cedric Dark

Cedric Dark, MD, MPH, is on DFA’s National Board of Directors and Founder and Executive Editor of Policy Prescriptions. A graduate of Morehouse College, he earned his medical degree from New York University School of Medicine, holds a master’s degree from the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University and completed his residency training at George Washington University where he served as Chief Resident. Currently, Dr. Dark is an Assistant Professor in the Henry J. N. Taub Department of Emergency Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. He currently participates as a columnist for the monthly publication ACEP Now. His policy experience includes work for the United States House of Representatives and the Kaiser Family Foundation. His policy interests include the study of health reform at the intersection with international health systems.

Dorothy Novick
Dorothy Novick

Dorothy Novick, MD, is a Clinical Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, and an Attending Physician at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). Her advocacy and clinical work center around violence prevention, trauma-informed care and the social determinants of health. She serves as a Practice-Based Scholar with CHOP’s Center for Violence Prevention, a board member of the Education Law Center PA, and an Alumni Ambassador for The OpEd Project. Dr. Novick has written extensively about gun violence and childhood trauma, as well as a range of issues affecting the health and safety of families in her care. She received her MD from Yale University and completed her pediatric residency at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Alex Strauss
Alex Strauss

Alex Strauss, MA, is a published author and an award-winning healthcare journalist with more than three decades of experience in various types of media. She is the co-founder and owner of MED, LLC, which has been disseminating medical community news for healthcare providers in the upper Midwest since 2010. A former television healthcare news reporter and anchor, Strauss has also written for national and international news outlets including Newslink, MSNBC, NPR, the BBC, and the Guardian. She is the Managing Editor of Cancer Monthly, the daughter of a pediatrician, and is a frequent speaker on the intersection of medicine and media. Strauss holds an MA in Broadcast Journalism and Public Affairs from American University.

Policy Resources & Talking to Legislators

June 10, 2021

Session Speakers

Dr. Arkaprava ‘Arka’ Deb
Dr. Arkaprava ‘Arka’ Deb

Dr. Arkaprava ‘Arka’ Deb, MD, MPH, MPA, isa Co-Chair of DFA’s National Steering Committee on Gun Violence Prevention and will be moderating the conversation. He is Director of Public Psychiatry Education at SUNY Downstate College of Medicine and Director of Psychiatric Services at The Door: Adolescent Health Center in New York City.

Dr. Stephanie Kang
Dr. Stephanie Kang

Dr. Stephanie Kang, DrPH, MS, currently serves as the Health Policy Director for Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal and completed her Doctor of Public Health degree at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. As Health Policy Director, she assisted in crafting the Medicare for All legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives and executes legislative actions and political strategy in coalition with several organizations to promote Medicare for All, drug-pricing, and other health policy priorities inside and outside of Congress. Her professional background includes founding and scaling several health equity-centered organizations, conducting quality improvement in health care settings, and working in community-based global health projects.

Matthew Wellington
Matthew Wellington

Matthew Wellington is the Public Health Campaigns Director for U.S. PIRG, a non-profit advocacy group. Wellington has appeared on NBC Nightly News, MSNBC and numerous local TV stations around the country and has been quoted by just about every major U.S. news outlet on health issues. Wellington, who has worked for U.S. PIRG or its state groups for eight years, runs PIRG’s COVID-19 response efforts, as well as campaigns to keep children from getting hooked on tobacco and to end the overuse of antibiotics in meat production, which leads to the growth of deadly antibiotic-resistant “superbugs.”

Dismantling Racism in Your Daily Practice

May 13, 2021

Session Speakers

Aletha Maybank
Aletha Maybank

Aletha Maybank, MD, MPH currently serves as the Chief Health Equity Officer and Senior Vice President for the American Medical Association (AMA) where she focuses on embedding health equity across all the work of the AMA and leading the Center for Health Equity. She joined the AMA in April 2019 as their inaugural Chief Health Equity Officer. Dr. Maybank previously served as Founding Director for the Center for Health Equity at the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (2014) and the Office of Minority Health in the Suffolk County Department of Health Services (2006). She is a nationally recognized speaker, writer, and advisor on issues related to health equity, the future of medicine, and public health impact.

Kelley Butler
Kelley Butler

This event will be moderated by Kelley Butler, MPH, a 4th year student and soon-to-be graduate of the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine. Hailing from Los Angeles, Kelley has committed herself to serving marginalized communities. She is an active member in various causes dedicated to students and professionals of color, people suffering from substance use disorder and addiction, people experiencing houselessness, and others. On her medical campus, Kelley is known for her work in social justice, health advocacy and initiatives targeted for minoritized students. Kelley completed her Masters of Public Health in Health Policy at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health.

Introduction to Advocacy Messaging and Framing

April 8, 2021

Session Speakers

Justin Mendoza
Justin Mendoza

Justin Mendoza, MPH is the Advocacy Manager for U.S. Health Care at Partners In Health. Previously, Justin worked on health care priorities with Families USA and Public Citizen to advance health policy priorities, mainly lowering drug prices, expanding health care coverage, and lowering underlying health care costs. He has experience advancing legislation and administrative action at the state and federal level, as well as coalition management and policy analysis. Justin holds a MPH in Health Policy from Yale University and a B.S. in biomedical sciences and neuroscience from Central Michigan University. He also serves as the President of Universities Allied for Essential Medicines.

Reshma Ramachandran
Reshma Ramachandran

Reshma Ramachandran, MD, MPP is a National Clinician Scholars Program fellow at the Yale School of Medicine. Prior to this role, Reshma worked as research faculty as part of the Innovation + Design Enabling Access (IDEA) Initiative at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, where she focused on antimicrobial resistance and access to medicines including state drug pricing proposals. Reshma trained in both medicine at the Alpert Medical School at Brown University and in public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She completed her family medicine residency at Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center. Previously, she served as the first PharmFree Fellow with the American Medical Student Association focused on removing the undue influence of pharmaceutical companies on prescribing behavior and medical education. She also currently serves as co-Chair of the National Steering Committee for the Doctors for America Drug Affordability Action Team and as a board member of Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM) North America.

Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein
Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein

Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein is Professor of the Practice in Health Policy and Management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, where he also serves as Vice Dean for Public Health Practice and Community Engagement and as Director of the Bloomberg American Health Initiative. He is a former health commissioner of Baltimore, Principal Deputy Commissioner of the U.S. FDA, and health secretary of Maryland. Dr. Sharfstein teaches a class called “Crisis and Response in Public Health Policy and Practice” and is the author of the Public Health Crisis Survival Guide: Leadership and Management in Trying Times (2018) and co-author of The Opioid Epidemic: What Everyone Needs to Know (2019).

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