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Why I'm Coming: DFA National Leadership Conference 2013

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NLC 2013: Lobby Day

Health is a critical investment for the prosperity of the nation and our communities. Doctors for America is a resource for health care perspectives from the frontlines.

DFA NLC 2013 Attendees: Post your reflections, thoughts and ideas following your meetings with Members of Congress on the Hill today.


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I love attending the DFA National Leadership Conference. This is a chance for me to get re-energized by front line physicians who take into their own hands the need to improve our health care system and put patients first. I could pretend that I go to hear from the learned speakers, but I really look forward to the conversations I have at dinner and in the hallway outside of the lecture hall. There are almost no other gatherings of this many fired-up and experienced healthcare providers who every day advocate for better care. I always leave this conference better understanding how we can improve our health care delivery system. 

You can count on me to be at the DFA National Leadership Conference and I hope to see you there as well.

Alex Blum, MD MPH at the 2012 Doctors for America National Leadership Conference

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Like many physicians, I attend my professional societies’ conferences dutifully each year to update my clinical knowledge and network with other doctors in my specialty.
But nowhere have I felt as inspired by the invited speakers and panelists, as energized by my physician colleagues and fellow advocates, and as re-connected with the fundamental reasons that I entered the medical profession as I have at the Doctors for America National Leadership Conference.  
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Dr. Ram Krishnamoorthi, at far right, marching at the Democratic National Convention with physicians as part of the Patients Over Politics Bus Tour. 

I have had the privilege of attending the DFA’s National Leadership Conference in both 2011 and 2012, and each year reflects the growth and maturation of this wonderful organization. The respect that DFA and its leaders have earned was clear to me when I heard speeches from Dr. Ezekial Emanuel, Dr. Don Berwick, and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sibelius.  The motivation for why we advocate for a better health care system at the ground level was laid out eloquently by keynote address by Marshall Ganz, the inspirational grassroots leader from the civil rights era and beyond.  I was able to learn more about the tools for advocacy, through social media and the personal narrative, from panelists like Igor Volsky, Darshak Sanghavi, and Hahrie Han. I’m excited to lean again, as the conference promises even more workshops and training in advocacy this year. But the most important reason I’m looking forward to the conference again this year are the other attendees. I am most energized and inspired by other like-minded physicians and medical students and other health professionals who see that the health care system is not serving our patients or our profession. By networking with these amazing, passionate people, and by getting the training at DFA National Leadership Conference and in DFA activities throughout the year I know I am not alone in fighting for a better system, one that will eventually bring access to high quality health care to all Americans.

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Passionate speakers will inspire you to fight for health justice. Intimate workshops will empower you to advocate effectively. Friendships cemented with advocates from across the country will transform your perspective on healthcare. But only upon returning home and rolling up your sleeves in your own community will you truly appreciate the benefit of membership in the DFA team, gaining strength from the wisdom and solidarity of DFA’s vibrant community of leaders. That was my experience at the 2012 DFA Conference, and it is why I am so excited for April 19.

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Josh Oppenheimer is a second-year medical student at Mount Sinai, in New York City, as well as the Doctors for America New York State Director for Medical Student Advocacy. He is pictured in March 2012 with Temitope Awosogba, a fellow Mount Sinai student, at a rally in favor of healthcare reform at the steps of the Supreme Court.

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The practice of medicine requires a lifelong passion for learning. As a third year medical student I believe that passion must extend to  creating a healthier civilization. Working together with our representatives in Washington and practicing physicians across the nation is one way we can accomplish this goal.

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Andrew Russeau is a third-year medical student at the Boonshoft School of Medicine, Wright State University

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Just today I was thinking of how much I benefited from last year’s NLC. I was asked to appear in my first ever t.v. appearance recently. It went very smoothly and the professionals were impressed at how well prepared I was. That’s thanks to the media training session at last year’s DFA conference. I don’t know of other places physicians get a chance to learn these skills. The same is true when it comes to writing. Through DFA, I’m encouraged to express myself, I’m supported in finding outlets for my writing, and my publications are celebrated by a group of well-wishers. I’ve been able to educate everyday people on why healthcare reform matters. I’ve educated myself in the process. It’s been an opportunity for my own growth in a way that benefits those around me as well. 

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Those are just a couple of examples of the value of the NLC. Most of all, it’s the connections with others that I make. It’s incredible to see passionate, caring, forward-thinking physicians coming from all around the country to learn together, inspire each other, share their stories, find solutions for the issues of our healthcare system. Being able to hear from speakers like Kathleen Sebelius, or this year, the Surgeon General, and ask them questions is a phenomenal experience. I can’t wait for the conference this year! I know that I will learn a tremendous amount, renew old connections and meet new people, and leave with the drive and skills to be a successful healthcare advocate. 
Dr. Umbereen S. Nehal, MD MPH, pictured on right in above photo at the 2012 DFA NLC Lobby Day, is a pediatrician at Childrens’ Hospital Boston and Doctors for America Massachusetts State Co-Direcor

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DFA Texas welcomed Mr. Wendell Potter at the screening of Escape Fire as a special guest speaker. He is an integral part for the healthcare reform movement; his contribution is invaluable. Meeting him in person, one can really appreciate his character and motivation to advocate for a better system for our patients and our profession. I would highly recommend the conference as he will also be speaking there. He is a great source of knowledge and inspiration and this is one reason why I am excited to attend the National Leadership Conference.

Dr. Anna Ha Tran is an Internal Medicine and Pediatric physician practicing in the Dallas area

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Motivation

As a physician in Oklahoma, one of the reddest of red states, I love attending the DFA National Leadership Conference. I gain new strength and inspiration to continue to fight for a decent health care system for the people of Oklahoma and the USA every time I attend, along with fantastic, nationally renowned speakers who inspire every attendee.

The energy and great ideas of the passionate, activist doctors at this conference just aren’t available anywhere else. Sharing our victories and even our setbacks builds our community, too. The DFA conference keeps me motivated throughout the rest of the year (and with CME credits this year, it is an even better deal!)

Dr. (Col.) Katherine Scheirman, pictured second from the right alongside fellow physician colleagues, is a physician from Oklahoma, who previously served in the United States Air Force, retiring with the rank of Colonel. She has twenty years of experience in the Department of Defense Medical System and has been a long-time member of DFA.

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Will YOU be there?

Announcing the 2013 Doctors for America National Leadership Conference Keynote Speakers:

  • Dr. Regina Benjamin, 18th Surgeon General of the United States
  • Sherrod Brown, United States Senator from Ohio
  • Wendell Potter, Health Access Advocate & Author

drsforamerica.org/conference