This year’s Leadership and Advocacy Conference, which took place over three days in Washington D.C. at the beginning of May, saw representatives from all over the country meet to learn and teach about policy issues that affect us all in our practice of emergency medicine.
The conference kicked off with the Health Policy Primer, an intensive dive into policymaking aimed at first-time attendees. The processes underlying lawmaking, rulemaking, and politics were illuminated using multiple examples of both local and national advocacy, such as case studies in national maternal healthcare expansion and local psychiatric emergency EMS response.
The second day featured sessions on hot topics such as burnout, ER violence, Medicare payment, and a keystone address by Admiral Rachel Levine who spoke of the challenges faced by healthcare workers across the country. She touched on newer issues like weak points in the healthcare system that were exposed by the global pandemic as well as familiar issues like the opiate crisis. The conference culminated in participants meeting with their respective representatives and senators, championing both local and national issues.
This summit represents the largest dedicated simultaneous effort to Congress on behalf of emergency medicine physicians each year. By meeting with every states’ representatives and senators, our stories and struggles are pushed to the forefront of every congressional office at once, hopefully leading to meaningful change within the next year.