Doctors for America has successfully mobilized thousands of physicians and medical students to address pressing issues affecting the health of our patients. Here are some highlights of our successes.
Past Campaign Highlights
Detailed Actions 2009–2012
Health for All (ACA Defense) + Medical Student Organizing)
Among the first major organizations signing onto to a medical student-led campaign called #ProtectOurPatients—this campaign was co-founded by DFA leaders to organize medical students, residents, practicing physicians, and other health care professionals.
- ProtectOurPatients circulated the “Medical Student Do No Harm” petition that garnered more than 5000 signatures (representing over 140 medical schools in all 50 states) and organizational sign-ons.
- DFA co-sponsored their DC Advocacy Day and Planning Summit in January 2017, where ProtectOurPatients leaders and DFA board members delivered printed copies of the petition and signatures and organized meetings with Democratic and Republican Senators.
Health for All (ACA defense)
Co-organized a National Call-In Day to organize the physician and medical student community to make thousands of calls relaying stories of patients and the need for ACA coverage to members of Congress; ongoing campaign continued to get members and other doctors to make calls to Senators/Congresspeople and report back on calls.
General Advocacy/Protest + Health for All (ACA defense) + Women’s Health
January 21, 2017
Co-led the Doctors March on Washington in conjunction with the national Women’s March on January 21st – a white coat contingent in the march to stand up for patients’ care (including ACA coverage, women’s reproductive rights, and more).
Doctors for America’s Dr. Krishnan Narasimhan issued a strong statement condemning the Executive Order issued by the Trump administration which suspended the admission of all refugees to the United States for 120 days, indefinitely banned all Syrian refugees, and blocked citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries, refugees or otherwise, from entering the United States for 90 days.
Drug Affordability + State Action + Testimony in Front of Legislature
January 21, 2017
Eamon Duffy, Connecticut State Director and MD-MBA candidate, recently testified in favor of several laws under consideration in Connecticut to curb predatory drug pricing.
He worked with Drug Pricing, Value, and Affordability Campaign leaders Bruce Rector and Justin Lowenthal on his materials and testimony, which aimed to provide a medical student perspective to the issue of drug pricing.
Represented doctors at the White House to support President Obama’s executive actions to address gun violence.
Public Health (Child Hunger)
Attended White House summit on child hunger in America.
Public Health (Flint Water Crisis)
Coordinated a letter, email, and call campaign to Congress addressing the Flint water crisis – making clean water a legislative priority, providing funds to ensure clean water in Flint, and addressing the health care needs of Flint and communities like it.
Alice Chen joined the hearing on Capitol Hill to represent doctors and armed with the names of those who submitted letters.
Invited to and joined a National Forum discussing high drug prices convened by Sylvia Burwell (HHS secretary). DFA served as the key voice representing patient-oriented physicians and amplified patient stories in policy discussions around access, affordability, purchasing, and value-based pricing of drugs.
Joined an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to strike down abortion restrictions in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt (challenging restrictive Texas law).
Doctors for America leaders joined the “Stop the Sham” rally at the Supreme Court, and distributed a toolkit to take action against the medically unnecessary abortion restrictions (the restrictions were struck down!).
Health Equity/Systemic Racism
First Ever Racism Forum in NYC: On Saturday, March 12th, The New York Health Department’s Center for Health Equity was joined by the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, the Institute of Family Health, Doctors for America-NY (led by co-leader Kamini Doobay), White Coats for Black Lives, CUNY School of Public Health and several other organizations to co-host a day-long, action-oriented forum, “Dismantling Racism in the NYC Health System –The Time is Now.” The event marked a historic day for the health community in New York City.
Subsequent outreach to physicians to empower them to host similar “Dismantling Racism” fora in their own states.
Health for All (ACA Enrollment)
DFA-North Carolina leaders led by Seanta Clark helped organize phone banks in January in collaboration with Enroll America, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated to contact people to encourage them to take advantage of the Health Insurance Marketplace enrollment before the January 31st deadline. The event was held at The Asian American Library in Charlotte and we had 2 evening phone bank sessions. The earlier part of the day consisted of canvassing designated neighborhoods to encourage people to sign up for health insurance.
Health for All (Medicaid Expansion)
Medicaid Expansion in Louisiana: State Director for Doctors for America in Louisiana Dr. Heidi Sinclair was invited to participate in Louisiana Public Broadcasting’s Public Square program on Medicaid Expansion and was able to bring other DFA members to participate in the discussion as well.
Public Health (Zika)
Led a campaign to push Congress to allocate funding requested by the Obama administration for Zika virus research – funding that was critical to surveillance efforts, mosquito control, new vaccines and diagnostics, global aid, and links between climate and health. Through this campaign, provided resources to educate members on Zika, created an “activation page” to ensure members could call or email Congress, distributed a poster to help doctors inform their patients, and encouraged OpEd/LTE writing on the topic.
Mobilized members to call Senators in support of amendments to expand gun background checks and prevent known/suspected terrorists from purchasing firearms
Joined Surgeon General’s “Turn the Tide” opioid campaign and asked physicians to take a pledge to Turn the Tide by:
- Educate yourself to treat pain safely and effectively.
- Screen patients for opioid use disorder and provide or connect them with evidence-based treatment.
- Talk about and treat addiction as a chronic illness, not a moral failing.
Health for All (ACA Defense)
Organized a Provider Digital Day of Action with other medical and public health organizations in December 2016, including story and photo collection (on Tumblr) of patients depending on ACA coverage and social media “Thunderclaps” (a Thunderclap allows a single message to be mass-shared, flash mob-style, so it rises above the noise of social networks) online to draw attention to the importance of coverage.
Surgeon General Confirmation
Rallied support for Vivek Murthy’s first confirmation as Surgeon General.
Joined over 140 groups to “Wear Orange” and commemorate the first-annual National Gun Violence Awareness Day.
Health for All (Medicaid Expansion)
DFA members held a Close the Gap Medicaid Expansion Day of Action, where physicians and medical students called their representatives in 11 states to urge them to expand health coverage and Medicaid. Inspired by physicians speaking out, multiple organizations joined our day of action.
Health for All (ACA Awareness)
On the fifth anniversary of the ACA in March, doctors and medical students participated in a #ACAWorks tweet storm that trended on Twitter with over 26 million impressions. Drs. Donald Nguyen and Alice Chen penned op-eds marking the historic expansion of coverage. And Dr. Nguyen hosted a party in Ohio (complete with a birthday cake!) with about 40 people attending—including Drs. Morris Brown, Gary Leroy, and Barbara Miller. Xenia Mayor Marsha Bayless attended and Sen. Sherrod Brown gave a rousing speech about DFA’s influential role in the passage of the ACA.
Launched first petition urging Congress to #EndTheBan and lift the CDC ‘ban’ on gun violence research funding—achieved over 2000 signatures.
- Delivered #EndTheBan petition at a press conference in the Capitol led by DFA and joined by National Physicians Alliance, Doctors Council, American Medical Women’s Association, American College of Preventive Medicine, The Committee of Interns and Residents, Physicians for the Prevention of Gun Violence, American Medical Student Association, American Academy of Pediatrics and special guests Reps. David Price, Nita Lowey, Mike Thompson, Mike Quigley, Robin Kelly and Carolyn Maloney. Petition signed by over 2,000 doctors in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia urging Congress to remove these barriers to common sense research that have existed for nearly 20 years and include annual funding to identify causes and ways to prevent gun violence.
- In response to DFA’s effort, former Representative Jay Dickey, who was the author of the ban in 1996, wrote a letter to Congress expressing his regret for authoring the amendment and asking Congress to allow research to resume.
- Thanks to DFA, the ban was highlighted in the Washington Post, Newsweek, CNN, NPR, CBS, and over a dozen other media outlets in the past three days alone, many of which cited DFA’s petition and press conference. The Lexington Herald, in the home state of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, published an editorial citing our effort.
- The hashtag #EndTheBan has generated 3.2 million impressions on Twitter and tens of thousands on Facebook. Reporters have been calling members of Congress and presidential candidates to get their positions on the issue.
- Alice Chen spoke with CNN about doctors across the country urging Congress to lift the ban.
- Ultimately, though the restriction remained in place, momentum built in 2016 when over 100 medical and public health groups, including the American Medical Association and American Public Health Association, representing more than 1 million health professionals across the country joined with members of the scientific community and research universities to urge Congress to end the ban on gun violence research and to fund this critical work at the CDC. Those calls echoed the requests from 17 Senators and 53 members of Congress who recently urged for dedicated funds for the CDC to conduct research into the causes and prevention of gun violence.
Patients Over Politics Tour
Over 50 doctors, medical students, health advocates, and patients participated in a 12-day tour in a big blue RV from the Republican National Convention in Tampa, FL to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC. At 20 events in 9 cities along the way, thousands of people were educated about the facts of the Affordable Care Act. We had dozens of media interviews and articles, radio appearances, and TV appearances.
Top Leaders in Health Policy and Politics Join the 2nd Annual National Leadership Conference
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, former CMS Administrator Dr. Don Berwick, former senior advisor to the White House Dr. Zeke Emanuel, former VA Congressman Tom Perriello, master organizer Professor Marshall Ganz, ThinkProgress health care editor Igor Volsky, health policy expert Harold Pollack, and many other top leaders in health care joined doctors and medical students from around the country for two days of learning, conversation, and community building. At our Lobby Day, several members of Congress expressed interest in hosting events and town halls with physicians to talk about real solutions for our health care system’s woes.
Doctors, Medical Students, and Pets Rally at the Supreme Court and Beyond
On behalf of millions whose lives will be significantly improved by the Affordable Care Act, doctors and medical students joined nurses and other health professionals and advocates at the Supreme Court during the hearings on the ACA. The press coverage garnered by Doctors for America members reached millions of people in over 40 states. One Doctors for America pet (Ellie the dog, who has health insurance!) was featured in Reuters, GQ, and many other prominent publications.
Standing up for Access to Contraception
Women’s access to contraception without co-pay is an important benefit provided by the Affordable Care Act – along with a myriad of other preventive services. Since the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops launched a national campaign to try to make all religiously affiliated hospitals and schools exempt from the new benefits, over 1400 physicians and medical students – including over 100 Catholics – spoke up to Protect Women’s Access to Contraception. In addition, our infographic has been viewed and shared over 150,000 times.
Making Sure the Supreme Court Hears from Doctors
In preparation for the Supreme Court hearings on the Affordable Care Act, Doctors for America filed an amicus brief in support of the importance of the individual mandate along with several other provider groups including the American Nurses Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Student Association, the National Hispanic Medical Association, and the National Physicians Alliance. We also filed a brief regarding severability and the importance of the rest of the law (including primary care and comparative effectiveness research).
Physicians Weigh in on Super Committee Proposals
In an effort spearheaded by Drs. Nilesh Kalyanaraman (DC), Ali Khan (CT), and Raag Airan (MD), we surveyed our membership on nine health care proposals in the White House recommendations for the Deficit Reduction Super Committee. This is the first time we are aware of a physician organization bringing specific policy proposals directly to a grassroots membership to evaluate the impact on patients. We had responses from 44 states and the District of Columbia.
Docs vs. Glocks Campaign
Drs. Mona Mangat and Suzie Prabhakaran and several others spearheaded a petition of 200 physicians against the Florida law banning physicians from asking about gun ownership. They then took that petition to state legislators and convinced State Representative Rick Kriseman to introduce a repeal bill in September, working with Florida CHAIN. Drs. Mangat and Linda Galloway wrote a letter about it that was published in JAMA.