The Nation Shifts Focus to Prevention

If you’ve ever wondered how your voice is heard by Doctors for America and amplified in our democracy—here’s how.

When we were appointed to the President’s Prevention and Public Health Council advisory group earlier this year, it was because you made it clear that physicians and medical students must have a role in shaping health reform.

At the advisory group’s inaugural meeting in April, I shared feedback on the national prevention strategy from an unprecedented 600 DFA doctors and medical students from 46 states who contributed their ideas, frustrations, and hopes about how we can create healthier communities.

Presidential councils never hear from this many doctors.  The Surgeon General, members of the advisory group, and staff from 17 agencies were incredibly impressed with and grateful for the unique ideas and stories that you brought to the prevention strategy.(1)

Here are a few of the stories DFA members submitted:

  • Dr. Lisa Pacheco from Montana illustrated the challenges of prevention with a patient who was unable to identify or prepare raw vegetables.
  • Dr. Denard Fobbs from California wrote about two patients with late stage cervical cancer who never received preventive screening because they lacked health insurance.
  • Dr. Mia Layne from Tennessee shared the story of her frightened 17 year old patient who was on her third unintended pregnancy – all because she lacked access to family planning education.

Today, I’m excited to announce that, thanks to your input, the first-ever National Prevention Strategy was unveiled by the Surgeon General, reflecting the biggest commitment our country has ever made to prevention.  The strategy focuses on addressing key issues that Doctors for America members raised from improving healthy eating to decreasing health disparities and increasing active living.

The Surgeon General and the Prevention Council are counting on physicians to help implement prevention strategies on the ground.

This is the kind of impact we can make when we stand together and shares our ideas and experiences to guide policy making.

That’s why your role in the Doctors for America physician movement is so important right now – because we have an opportunity to shape implementation of the most important health reform law in a generation.  Every petition, survey, conference call, and meeting in which you participate helps us move the country closer to the health care system we all need and want.

Today, you can start by sharing National Prevention Strategy with your colleagues and inviting them to join the Doctors for America movement (

Thanks for everything you do.

Vivek Murthy

P.S. DFA leaders also shared the survey results and the stories you submitted with the House of Representatives as it was debating a bill to repeal the prevention fund.(2) The House passed the bill, but the Senate is holding fast and protecting the fund for now.  Your continued activism will help make sure our priorities are heard.

1. Doctors for America Prevention Survey Summary (as submitted to the Prevention Advisory Group, March-April, 2011):

2. Doctors for America Letter to House Leadership (April 12, 2011):