Medical Students Advocate to #ProtectOurPatients

Medical students at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (ISMMS) are trained to be informed advocates, activists, and change-makers for their patients and society. A few ISMMS students joined the #ProtectOurPatients movement in Washington, DC to sound a clarion call for change.

Twenty-two million Americans depend on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for their health insurance. If it is repealed, their care will be compromised along with the millions of other Americans who rely on key provisions of the ACA in order to continue accessing care. While there are legitimate shortcomings of the ACA, repealing it would be a disaster for the American people.

In recent weeks, medical students at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and schools around the country rallied around the #ProtectOurPatients campaign, a national grassroots movement of health professional trainees seeking to defend the ACA and protect health care access for all Americans.

#ProtectOurPatients opposes ACA repeal and instead demands a bipartisan effort to improve the law. We joined together to talk, debate, and collaborate on how to amplify the stories of the patients we see everyday in the hospital, as well as our own families and friends who have benefited from the ACA.

On January 9, nine medical students from the Icahn School of Medicine traveled to Washington, DC and joined over 60 other health professional trainees for a Day of Action, calling on our legislators to #ProtectOurPatients.

We started the day by gathering outside of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) building for a patient-centered protest and to thank HHS for their leadership in implementing the ACA. We then walked to the Capitol Building where we held a press conference. Health professional trainees and patients stood side-by-side and shared stories about the importance of the ACA and called upon key senators to protect our patients. We ended the press conference with a three minute moment of silence for the 30 million Americans who will lose their health insurance if the ACA is repealed.

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From left to right: Anna-Luisa Mitro (MD 2019), Christina Dimopoulos (MD 2019), and Cesar Andrade (MD 2019) met with former Democratic Presidential Candidate and Senator Bernie Sanders. Samuel Kebede (MD 2019) and Taylor Miller (MD 2019) met with Senators Cory Booker and Kamala Harris.

As a group, we personally delivered a petition signed by over 4,500 future health professionals to all 100 U.S. Senators, and met with 23 senators and their Health Legislative Aides from both parties. That evening, we partnered with Senate Democratic Leaders to tell the country about the importance of the ACA in the lives of our patients on a live broadcast through Facebook Live. This was an incredible opportunity to share stories from our clinical experiences and use our position as future physicians to advocate for our patients.

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Amalia Kane (MD 2017) spoke with Senator Tim Kaine (top left); Ann Crawford-Roberts (MD 2018) and Scott Jelinek (MD/MPH 2018) were interviewed by Senator Elizabeth Warren (top right and bottom left, respectively); and Ebiere Okah (MD 2017) advocated for her patients with Senator Chuck Schumer (bottom right).

Through the DC action and protests that occurred at over 30 medical schools across the U.S., future providers made it clear that Congress must protect the health of every American. Indeed, we spoke with a unified voice about the threat a repeal would bring on the lives of millions of Americans.

The ACA is not a perfect law, but the challenges it presents are solvable if we work together. Now is the time for health care providers—physicians, medical students, nurses, and other allied professionals—to take a stand and #ProtectOurPatients.


ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Scott-Jelinek_Headshot

Scott Jelinek, MAEd, MPH is a medical student at the Icahn School of Medicine. He is currently completing a Fellowship in Health Care Consulting and Leadership at Deloitte before his fourth year. He graduated from Boston College, where he studied International Studies and Theology. After that, he taught high school science in Denver for three years.

 

 

Ebiere Okah_Headshot

Ebiere Okah is a fourth-year medical student at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. She studied Math and Economics at University of Rochester and worked at the Federal Reserve Bank of NY before attending medical school.

 

 

 

Ann CrawfordAnn Crawford-Roberts is a medical student at the Icahn School of Medicine class of 2018 currently on scholarly year. She is an MPH candidate at the T.H. Chan Harvard School of Public Health where she studies social sciences and health policy. She is a co-founder and national organizer of #ProtectOurPatients.

 

 

Samuel-Kebede_Headshot

Samuel Kebede is a second-year medical student at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. He is originally from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and studied Public Health at Johns Hopkins University.

 

 

IMG_1581 Taylor Miller is a second-year medical student at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.  He is originally from San Diego, California, and studied International Economics at Georgetown University.  His interests include economics, health policy, emergency medicine, and backpacking.

 

 

Ann-Luisa Mirto_Headshot

Anna-Luisa Mirto is a second-year medical student at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. She graduated from Columbia University where she studied Biology, followed by working for the Americorps program City Year in East Harlem for one year.

 

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