Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Physicians, Medical Students Advocate for Patients

“We all go into medicine to help people,” said Elizabeth Coffee, a first-year medical student at Texas A&M Health Science Center in College Station. “First Tuesdays give us a chance to change medicine in a big way so that we can help bring health care to all Texans.” Ms. Coffee joined nearly 400 fellow medical students, physicians, physician alliance members, and medical residents in Austin today to advocate for patients and the medical profession during the Texas Medical Association’s (TMA’s) First Tuesdays at the Capitol.

Conceived in 2003 and sponsored by TMA and the TMA Alliance, these gatherings, known as “First Tuesdays,” provide an opportunity for the medical profession to meet directly with legislators to make a difference now and for the future of health care in Texas.

“Medicine is about more than just providing care; it’s about taking care of our great state so that we can make a change in the policy of health care,” added Ms. Coffee.

April’s First Tuesdays at the Capitol is dedicated to medical students and residents who are working to complete their education and training. Each April around 200 meet with their local legislators to voice their concerns about the future of the medical profession. Chief among these concerns are the need for a stable, high-quality medical education system to produce homegrown physicians and opportunities for Texas medical graduates to obtain their residency training in the state without being forced to leave home. Studies confirm that physicians who complete both medical school and residency training in the state are three times more likely to practice here.

“First Tuesdays provide a platform for medical students to learn about the legislative process via mentors in the TMA,” said Giulia Ippolito, a fourth-year medical student at Texas A&M Health Science Center in Round Rock. “Interacting with legislators gives perspective into the education required to effect change in core issues of Texas health.”

Watch: University of Texas at Houston medical student Daryn Donathan shares what he learned in a new classroom — the Texas Capitol — at TMA's First Tuesdays.

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