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
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
. 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. US
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 NoMatchMDs.blog 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