This article was originally published on the Brown Medicine Magazine website.
GET OUT THE VOTE
BY PHOEBE HALL
Med students across the US are working to get their classmates to the polls in November.
You don’t have to be a political junkie to be absorbed by the news this election season. But even civically minded medical students, mired in exams and clinical rotations, may feel that voting should take a backseat to their studies.
Not so, says Aaron Shapiro MD’18, founder of the student group Citizen Physicians at Alpert Medical School, which aims to increase civic engagement among its fellow med students.
“Physicians—just like every other citizen—have a civic responsibility to vote,” Shapiro says. “We work to find ways to decrease barriers to engagement. This is a very important election year and we want to make sure that medical students across the country are able to participate.”
Their goal is not small. Citizen Physicians, which also has chapters at Harvard and the University of Chicago, aims to get every medical student in the nation registered to vote in time for the November 8 election. Their National Medical Student Voter Registration Campaign is reaching out to medical schools across the US to organize voter registration drives and get the word out to students that yes, they can—and should—make the time to vote. So far 25 schools are participating, and more sign up every week, Shapiro says.
“I’ve heard from medical students across the country that there really isn’t any voice encouraging medical students to register to vote,” he says. “We want them to know that their administrations support them and encourage them to take this time.”
Last fall, Citizen Physicians welcomed Alpert Medical School’s first-year students with a voter registration drive, and will do so again this August. The group helps students navigate concerns about where they should register—locally or in their home states—as well as how to request absentee ballots.
To make any good habit last a lifetime, it’s best to start early. That’s why targeting medical students is important. “Physicians vote significantly less than the national average,” Shapiro says. “Making it so easy to register to vote was the main reason we are working to bring this initiative to national scale.”
Any medical student who organizes a voter registration drive at their school (especially focusing on registering first-year students at the start of next academic year) will receive a Citizen Physicians lapel pin for their white coat.
Originally posted 6/15/2016
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We are so happy that Daniel Imas and Kaylie Miller, students at the University of Maryland School of Medicine have officially founded a chapter of Citizen Physicians! Now the fourth recognized medical school chapter, UMB joins Brown, Harvard, and University of Chicago as the medical schools spearheading the initiative to increase civic engagement among medical students across the country. If you are interested in starting a chapter of Citizen Physicians at your medical school, please contact us.
Daniel is a second year medical student at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Originally from Bethesda, MD, he attended Rice University and majored in Chemistry. While in college, he volunteered for a local Houston campaign and served as an election clerk. His passions include equal access to healthcare and civil rights. He is excited to help keep medical students civically engaged by giving them more opportunities and resources to express their opinions to government officials, particularly those decisions impacting how they will practice medicine in the future. He hopes to share his love for public policy with those who have not previously had much exposure to it.
Kaylie grew up on a farm in Western Maryland with her parents and two older siblings. She studied biology and psychology at Northwestern University (class of 2014) and took some time off school after undergrad to do basic science research in Chicago. Currently, she is a 2nd year student at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and is hoping to involve her class in the political processes that will affect their future patients.
Originally Posted 6/15/2016
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I am thrilled to announced that Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott -- Director of the Rhode Island Department of Health -- has joined Liz Schrayer, Barbara Bush, and Emily Flower on the Citizen Physicians Advisory Board.
The Citizen Physicians Advisory Board is an invaluable group of professionals with years of experience in public health, social justice, civic engagement, political strategy, program development, and non-profit management. They advise Citizen Physicians leadership through strategic decision making, program implementation, and effective growth. They are a truly invaluable piece of Citizen Physicians' work and we are thrilled to have Dr. Alexander-Scott join our team.
Originally posted 4/27/2016
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***PLEASE FORWARD THIS MESSAGE TO MEDICAL SCHOOL CLASS LISTSERVS AND TO ANY MEDICAL STUDENTS OR MEDICAL SCHOOL FACULTY/STAFF YOU KNOW***
The National Medical Student Voter Registration Campaign (NMSVRC) is a new effort by Citizen Physicians to get every eligible medical student in the country registered to vote so that we are ready to exercise our right to vote on November 8, 2016.
Any medical student that organizes a voter registration drive at their school (especially focusing on registering first-year students at the start of next academic year) will receive a Citizen Physicians lapel pin for their white coat. This pin indicates that you are a healthcare provider who understands the need to be civically conscious and engaged in order provide the best care for our patient populations.
Citizen Physicians is a start-up organization with a non-partisan, non-issue-based mission to train future healthcare providers in effective civic engagement.
If you are interested in participating, please fill out this form to receive more information on how to easily set up a voter registration activity at your school and how to receive your Citizen Physicians white-coat pin.
If you have any questions about this campaign, please don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about Citizen Physicians, visit us at www.citizenphysicians.org, like us on Facebook and follow us @CtznPhysicians.
Executive Director, Founder
We would love for any student to post a selfie in line at your polling place, mailing in your absentee ballot, or wearing your “I voted” sticker to our Facebook page with a sentence about how you made time to cast your vote even as a busy medical student to encourage others to do the same.
Originally posted 4/18/2016
Rhode Island may be the smallest state, but it has numerous government bodies and organizations that work toward the goal of promoting the health and wellbeing of its population. As medical student advocates, it’s important for us to understand the context of the state where we will be training, learning, and growing into future physicians. This blog post is meant to provide short summaries of Rhode Island’s major health-related bodies. A subsequent post will explore concrete ways in which we can intersect and engage with these organizations, but for now, which state governmental bodies regulate and administer healthcare in Rhode Island?
Department of Health
“The Rhode Island Department of Health's mission is to prevent disease and protect and promote the health and safety of the people of Rhode Island.” It wishes to “address the social and environmental determinants of health in Rhode Island... eliminate the disparities of health in Rhode Island and promote health equity... [and] ensure access to quality health services for Rhode Islanders.”
Departments: Click here to learn more about the organization’s sub-departments/offices.
3 Capitol Hill, Providence, RI 02908
Department of Human Services
“The Department of Human Services (DHS) administers human service programs including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Rhode Island Works Cash Assistance Program, Child Care, General Public Assistance, State Supplemental Payments, and Child Support. DHS is also responsible for determining eligibility for the state's health-benefits programs.”
Ongoing initiatives: Click here to learn more
Louis Pasteur Building, 57 Howard Avenue, Cranston, RI 02920
Executive Office of Health and Human Services
“The Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) was created on December 1, 2005 to facilitate cooperation and coordination among the state departments that administer Rhode Island's health and social service programs. EOHHS is responsible for the management of Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and other publicly-funded health-care programs in Rhode Island.”
See here for a list of the departments under the EOHHS umbrella
Click here for a list of ongoing initiatives by the EOHHS
74 West Road, Cranston, RI 02920
The Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner (OHIC)
“The Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner is responsible for guarding the solvency of health insurers, protecting the interests of consumers, encouraging policies and developments that improve the quality and efficiency of health care service delivery and outcomes, and viewing the health care system as a comprehensive entity and encouraging and directing insurers toward policies that advance the welfare of the public through overall efficiency, improved healthcare quality, and appropriate access.”
Ongoing initiatives: Click here to learn more
1511 Pontiac Ave, Building #69 First Floor, Cranston, RI 02920
HealthSource RI manages the health insurance “exchange” or marketplace that provides Rhode Islanders with (1) information about health insurance coverage and (2) the online infrastructure to register for insurance.
Department of Children, Youths, and Families (DCYF)
DCYF believes that “the family, community and government share responsibility for the safety, protection and well-being of children through a family and child-centered wraparound model of care. When the family is unable to care for a child/youth, it is our responsibility, in as timely a manner as possible, to ensure the child/youth is provided permanency in his/her life in a safe, stable and nurturing home.”
101 Friendship Street, Providence, RI 02903-3716
Office of the Child Advocate
“The Office of the Child Advocate (OCA) is an independent and autonomous Rhode Island state agency responsible for protecting the legal rights and interests of children in state care. These rights include, but are not limited to, a child’s right to appropriate placement, healthcare and education, and to be treated with dignity and respect.”
Examples of Relevant Laws the OCA Enforces:
See here and here
57 Howard Ave, 4th floor, Cranston, RI 02920
Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities, and Hospitals (BHDDH)
BHDDH administers a system of care that provides services for more than 50,000 Rhode Islanders with mental health and substance abuse issues, developmental disabilities, and chronic long-term medical and psychiatric conditions. As we continue to provide services for our most vulnerable populations, we also continue to navigate the changing landscape of healthcare reform.”
Barry Hall, 14 Harrington Road Cranston, RI 02920
RI Department of Corrections Health Care Services Unit
“The Health Care Services Unit, under the direction of the Medical Program Director, incorporates medical and mental health, dental and health education. This unit provides medical and clinical services to the incarcerated offender population, both sentenced and awaiting trial in all facilities of the Rhode Island Department of Corrections (RIDOC).”
Institutions and Operations
39 Howard Ave, Cranston, RI 02920
Phone: (401) 462-2678
RI Commission for Human Rights
Established by The Rhode Island General Assembly, the Commission enforces the Rhode Island antidiscrimination laws in the areas of employment, housing, public accommodations, credit and delivery of services.
Examples of Relevant Laws the Commission Enforces: Civil Rights of People with Disabilities Act; the law regarding HIV/AIDS discrimination; Expanded Employment Protections for Conditions Related to Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Related Medical Conditions
180 Westminster Street, 3rd Floor, Providence, RI 02903
Office of the Governor
Message from Gov Raimondo: “We must create conditions that will jumpstart our struggling economy, create jobs, and expand opportunity for all Rhode Islanders.”
Ongoing Health-Related Initiatives: Working Group to Reinvent Medicaid; Overdose Prevention and Intervention Task Force; Working Group for Healthcare Innovation
82 Smith Street, Providence, RI 02903
Phone: (401) 222-2080
Fax: (401) 222-8096
Office of the Lt. Governor
“The Lieutenant Governor is the executive officer of a state who is next in rank to a governor and who takes the governor's place in case of disability or death. His current interest areas and initiatives of Lt Gov Dan McKee include emergency management preparation, tackling issues facing small Rhode Island businesses, and coordination of long-term care for elderly populations in RI.”
Click here for information regarding the Office of the Lt. Governor
82 Smith Street, Room 116, Providence, RI 02903
Rhode Island Housing
“Rhode Island Housing uses all of its resources to provide low-interest loans, grants, education and assistance to help Rhode Islanders find, rent, buy, build and keep a good home. Created by the General Assembly in 1973, Rhode Island Housing is a privately funded public purpose corporation.”
44 Washington Street, Providence, RI 02903
Post Authors: Margie Thorsen and Noah Lubin, medical students at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University and co-Coordinators for PLME Outreach and Engagement for Citizen Physicians
Originally posted 4/13/2016
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I'm thrilled to announce that Citizen Physicians has officially founded our third medical school chapter at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine.
Pritzker's chapter is being spear headed by Michael Harries. Before starting medical school at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, Michael attended Washington University in St. Louis where he was very involved with global health work. Following graduation he spent two years teaching high school physics as part of Teach For America in Chicago. Michael remains very active in the Chicago educational landscape. He believes civic engagement is incredibly important, especially to enact social change in the areas he is passionate in: education and healthcare.
As election season ramps up, students at our inaugural chapters at Brown, Harvard, and University of Chicago are looking forward to promote civic engagement activities on our campuses. If you are a healthcare student and would like to get information about organizing an event like a voter registration drive at your school, please don't hesitate to reach out to us.
Post Author: Aaron Shapiro, medical student at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Founder and Executive Director of Citizen Physicians.
Originally posted 3/21/2016
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Aaron Shapiro is the founder and Executive Director of Citizen Physicians. Originally from Maryland, Aaron is a medical student at Brown, part of the National Health Service Corps, and a Global Health Corps alumnus. He gets really excited when talking about increasing voter turnout!
Alan Siero, originally from Southern California, is currently a first-year medical student at Brown University who has experience in healthcare administration and communication management and is eager to continue to learn about his new home of Rhode Island and its legislative process. Formerly a communications director and public relations specialist, Alan joined Citizen Physicians as the Director of Communication to help further develop their online presence and manage a strong following for their social media platforms and newsletter for the upcoming year.
Andreas Mitchell is a third-year medical student at Harvard Medical School. He grew up in Ellicott City, MD and went to college at Washington University in St. Louis, where he studied anthropology. Andreas is a member of the Student National Medical Association, Medical Students for Long Island (an addiction treatment advocacy group), and a former member of the Student Leadership Committee of the HMS Center for Primary Care. He looks forward to applying to residency programs in primary care internal medicine. In his free time, he enjoys running and binge-watching The West Wing.
James Tanch is currently a first-year medical student at Brown University and is Director of Media and Blog Editor for Citizen Physicians. He is originally from Salem, MA, and graduated from Northeastern University with a degree in biology in 2012. Before coming to medical school, James was an ER Technician for three years at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. While getting his hands dirty at the Brigham, he engaged in quality improvement and wrote clinical checklists and policies for the hospital.
Margie Thorsen hails from Cumberland, RI and is excited to be a part of Citizen Physicians Outreach and Recruitment at Brown University. Margie, currently a first year medical student at Alpert Medical School, studied public health in her undergraduate years at Brown and has particular interests in refugee health, digital health, and injury prevention. Margie looks forward to fostering a community of civically-engaged medical student advocates in her home state.
Noah Lubin hails from Ft. Lauderdale, FL and is excited to join Citizen Physicians as the PLME Outreach and Engagement Co-Coordinator. He graduated from Brown University with a BSc in Neuroscience in 2015 as part of the Program in Liberal Medical Education, and he is currently in his first year at Alpert Medical School. With a passion for healthcare reform, Noah is looking forward to affecting change in health policy in Rhode Island.
Shayla NM Durfey enthusiastically joins Citizen Physicians as Co-President of the Brown University Chapter. Shayla brings a passion for health systems change and advocacy, as well as experience working with the RI Department of Health. A native Rhode Islander, Shayla is a medical student who is excited to motivate her peers towards state government involvement and advocacy.
Yao Liu is excited to serve as Co-President of Citizen Physicians of Brown University. He has conducted economic and policy research on health systems issues and interned in the RI State House on health reform. Originally from Oregon, Yao has adopted Rhode Island as a new home and looks forward to engaging medical students in the political process to advocate for our future patients.
Originally posted 2/3/2016
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I was thrilled to see how successful Harvard Medical School's first Citizen Physicians event was! They invited Dr. Ira Helfand, co-President of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War and co-Founder of Physicians for Social Responsibility to speak to the over thirty students in attendance from all four classes of the medical school. He gave an engaging presentation on how advocacy as health professionals has a significant impact on international discourse, focussing on his work around nuclear disarmament. He discussed how resident physicians originally started these organizations as a journal club, but worked to grow them into a Nobel Peace Prize winning organization in only 6 years. Students left inspired hearing from a physician who was able to walk them through his journey of affecting change on an issue he felt passionately about.
Thank you to Dayton McMillan (MS1), a founding member of HMS's Citizen Physicians chapter for organizing such a wonderful event and thank you to Andreas Mitchell (MS2), HMS Citizen Physicians' founding chapter president for doing such a great job getting these initiatives off the ground.
Stay updated on great Citizen Physicians events by liking us on facebook and following us on twitter.
Post Author: Aaron Shapiro, medical student at Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Founder and Executive Director of Citizen Physicians.
Originally posted 1/18/2016
Rhode Island has semi-closed primaries. That means you MUST register with your party or as undeclared should you wish to vote for your candidate in the primary. You must register to vote along with your party affiliation at least 30 days before the primary! Further, if you wish to change parties to vote in an opposing primary, Rhode Island has a special deadline to change your affiliation, January 26. That is only 8 days away as of the writing of this blog post.
Voter turnout in presidential primaries is notoriously low, which means your vote counts more than ever. The best way to support your candidate is to get out and vote for them, first in the primaries, and then in the general election. Here are the important dates to know if you wish to vote in the presidential primaries in the state of Rhode Island.
PRIMARY election day: Tuesday, April 26, 2016
REGISTER BY: Saturday, March 26, 2016
CHANGE AFFILIATION BY: Tuesday, January 26, 2016 (8 days away!)
Interested in learning how to register to vote in Rhode Island? Check out our previous post here.
Post Author: James Tanch, a medical student at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University and Director of Technology and Blog Editor for Citizen Physicians.
Originally posted 1/16/2016
Like any citizen medical student, you might be wondering how to register to vote in your new state of residence. Let us break down the 5 W’s of registering to vote in RI.
Who: RI Resident… Including RI medical students!
What (do I need to register?): Not a whole lot. You don't need to move anything over (like drivers license or car registration to RI). Just submit your voter registration form on time (30 days prior to election time) and bring your photo ID (i.e. driver’s license of any state, US passport, Brown ID card, gym card… basically any old card with your name and face on it) with you to your polling place. You may also choose to send a copy of your eligible photo ID with your voter registration form. You also have the option of obtaining a special Voter ID that can be used at any RI polling place.
Come election day, if you forget your ID, you can still vote using a standard provisional ballot; this ballot will be counted if the signature given at the polling place matches the signature on your submitted voter registration form.
When: At least 30 days prior to the primary or election in which you want to vote OR after you change your name or address.
How (do I know that I am registered?): Your local board of canvassers will send you an acknowledgement notice within 3 weeks (you will also be notified if your registration does not meet requirements). Still haven’t heard anything? Enter your information at the RI Voter Information Center to view the status of your voter registration, party affiliation, your state and federal elected officials, and dates/addresses of all upcoming elections.
Why? Because you are an excellently engaged medical student wanting to make a difference and you understand that the well-being of our patients is heavily influence by the decisions made by our government!
Shayla Durfey, a medical student at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University and co-President of Citizen Physicians