I was just recently thinking about the conversations that I personally have had with my healthcare provider and usually, the topics range from how work is going to when I will be back for my next visit. But what if we changed some of the conversations that we had as healthcare providers with our patients?
Given that this year is an election year, some of my colleagues and I had the idea of engaging our patients in conversation regarding voting. Of course, the nature of the conversation wouldn’t be surrounding around who or which party to vote for but rather information regarding the importance of voting and how to register to vote.
So what are ways that we can do just that? There are non-partisan organizations available online that provide resources to healthcare providers such as educational videos on how to bring up such conversations, hand-outs that can be given to patients to read while in the waiting room, and even phone applications that can be utilized to guide patients regarding the registration process. What many of us including myself may not realize is how much our government plays a role in determining our health outcomes. The policies that are made, the funds that are allocating, and the decisions that are made in emergent times all matter, not just to providers but our patients.
Regardless of who occupies the White House we have a duty as healthcare providers to advocate for justice, equality, and our patients especially in underserved areas. I have the privilege of working with underserved communities during my residency training. I truly believe that it is an icy duty to break the barriers faced by individuals with regard to health disparities and amplify the voices that have been silenced for so long. I encourage all my colleagues to also take that initiative and advocate for their patients around the nation.