Blog Archive

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Indivisible Guide for Action / Residency Shortage

After the last presidential election, a group of congressional staffers outlined successful strategies for making contact with members of Congress.  This information came about as a result of the outcome of the presidential election, as a way to keep congressional representatives aware of the feelings of their constituents.  This group of staffers has adopted the name, “Indivisible”, to represent this cause, and to encourage similar groups to form across the country.  It is an insider’s guide to make contact with your legislators.
I want to utilize these “insider tactics” to bring the Residency Shortage to the Nation’s attention.  I am going to suggest that those who would like to find a timely end to the residency shortage, adopt a similar strategy.  Contact your own members of Congress using the Indivisible strategies.  It is only through action that we can hope to eliminate the travesty of the residency shortage.  As I have said, there is no ONE person who has the power to correct this situation. (That is, unless there is a presidential order…) I will describe some of the key points derived from the “Indivisible Guide” to create action, and then propose a more detailed plan to implement these ideas on the upcoming Match Day, March 16, 2018.

To begin, members of Congress are concerned with “reelection, reelection, reelection. So they want their constituents to think well of them, and they want good, local press”.(1) The guide describes four local advocacy tactics:

·        town hall meetings
       ·         other local public events
       ·         district office visits
       ·         coordinated calls

 For the residency shortage, all four tactics could be utilized to make contact with legislators.  But for Match Day 2018 on March 16th, I am going to focus on “local public events”, i.e. Match Day results gatherings across the US.  In my area, that translates to the University of South Florida(USF) Match results party.  It was held last year at Ulele Restaurant in Tampa, Florida.  These events occur across the US on Match Day, when doctor graduates get the results of their residency match.  It is quite a celebration when each graduate finds out where they will be living and working for the next few years in their residency.  The idea is to utilize media attention which will be present to highlight this joyful event, but also to bring attention to the plight of the unmatched doctors.  There is no ill will or rancor involved, just an opportunity to provide another side to this story.

A small group of people to “attend” and distribute information at a Match Day results event is all it would take.  There are about 180 DO and MD medical schools in the US.  Just imagine if the residency shortage story line was generated and picked up by the Media at each one of these locations!  Email your contacts and post a message on your Facebook page to generate a grass roots group to attend the Match Day party near your local medical school.  Record everything at those events and share these clips on Social Media, as well as with local and national media.  Optimize your visibility by staying together as a group, wear similar clothing or message shirts, and carry signs.  Identify and try to speak with reporters on the scene.

One key item described in the Indivisible Guide is that Members of Congress, and probably the Media as well, WANT “concrete asks that entail a verifiable action- vote for a bill, make a public statement, etc.  Perhaps one example of a “concrete ask” could be “Create an emergency placement for unmatched doctors while increasing the number of residency slots”.  You could tailor your “concrete ask” to something pertinent to your State like, “Grant immediate Physician Assistant licensure to unmatched doctors until the residency deficit is eliminated”, or ”Add 2 additional residency slots/year to every existing residency until the deficit is eliminated”.

At the onset of the I stated that my goal was to educate the public about the residency shortage.  With this knowledge a solution to this travesty could be found.  As I have read, a good salesman is really an educator who provides information, which leads the customer to want what the salesman is selling.  Then when we know better, we do better.  This has been my continual focus, to educate the public.  That is why I am proposing “we” use every tool at our disposal to get this message out, even if it means “peaceful activism”.

 To help with this instruction I have created a website, a blog, a Facebook page, and a twitter account.  I have also created a brochure, a poster, stickers, and business cards.  I am happy to make all of these WORD documents available for your use and reproduction in your own area.  You can distribute the brochures at your Match Day event, use the poster as a sign, wear the stickers, and hand out the business cards.  All you need is a small group of supporters to join with you on March 16, Match day 2018.  Please let us all know of your plans, to give inspiration to others who are waivering.  You can write a “comment” to my blog and I can share it with other readers.  The Guide also stresses the need for a “group”, rather than 1 or 2 people.  So get your friends and colleagues to join you in this important cause.

In the next blog I will be more specific about my plans to “demonstrate” for a solution to the residency shortage on Match Day 2018, March 16th.  Please let me know of your plans, so I can encourage others to follow your example.

 I will re-publish this blog several times leading up to Match Day, hoping to enlist more “activists” to our cause.  I have already had offers from my own family members to fly to Tampa for Match day 2018, to help form a group at USF Match Day.


Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Help Create the Tsunami of Outrage / Residency Shortage

My last blog delineated the problems in bringing the Residency Shortage to the Nation’s attention.  No “one” person can solve this crisis, it involves too many variables:  ACGME accrediting, Medicare funding, and states legislation to “preserve” unmatched doctors.  My solution was to create a “Tsunami of Outrage” to bring the Residency Shortage to “the table”. 

This blog was first published on Jan. 31, 2017. To use “wave” terminology, it began with a “ripple” of readers.  In 5 months, the readership has increased to a small “wave”, reaching 232 readers during the first week of July.  Here are the statistics I am going to use to set a goal for dissemination and education about the Residency Shortage via the “NoMatchMDs” blog:


  • US Population – 321 million
  • Total Professionally Active Physicians in US – 923,308
  • US Congress – 535 Representatives and Senators
  • Combination of  (MDs +  Congressmen = 923,843) -  about 1 million
  • 200 million registered voters in US
Let’s visualize what it would take to reach a goal of 1 million readers of this blog, the total number of MDs and Legislators combined.  It is only through knowledge of the Residency Shortage that we can work toward a timely solution.  Here are my calculations.  If those 232 readers from the first week in July were to contact only 6 doctors or legislators EACH, and each of those contacts would make 6 contacts of their own, etc., etc.:

232 X 6 = 1,392

1,392 X 6 = 8,352

8,352 X 6 = 50,112

50,112 X 6 = 300,672

300,672 X 6 = 1,804,032

With only 5 cycles of contact, over 1.8 million people would have been reached with this information.  This is what it would take, 6 doctor/legislator contacts by each of 232 blog readers to theoretically contact “every” doctor and congressman in the US today…

This same story could extend to the education of the voting public.  If this process continued for 8 cycles, the total number contacted would rise to 390 million, almost twice the number of contacts than registered voters!

If you have followed this blog and find the cause of the Residency Shortage “compelling”, we cannot just let the message end with each one of us.  Knowledge without action is useless.  This “story” is too complex to explain it in “one sentence”.  The circumstances are many and varied.  Education of this travesty leading to a solution is the one and only goal of this blog.

At the end of each prior blog, I have asked the readers/listeners to contact the doctors and legislators in their local area to create action for the Residency Shortage.  Today, I am going to ask each of you to personally contact 6 doctors +/or legislators that you know.  Provide the link to this blog, “NoMatchMDs.blogspot”, and request that they in turn contact 6 more of their colleagues/legislators, etc., etc.  Tell them they can listen to this blog on their cell phones while commuting.  Just click on the YOUTUBE link with each blog.  Ask them to keep this “wave” going, with hopes that we will reach our goal of 1 million doctors + legislators.  Wouldn’t it be unbelievable if the cycle went 8 rounds and reached all 200 million registered voters??  It goes without saying that any “sharing” you may include in all your social media would be an added bonus.

So there we have it, a measurable goal.  Make 6 contacts each, ask your contacts to do the same and continue the cycle, and reach more than 1 million doctors and legislators in the US today.  Now that is a “TSUNAMI”!!