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Talking About Medicine to Legislators

TouroCOM Middletown Students Learn the Art of Lobbying

May 07, 2017
Students from TouroCOM Middletown visited their state representatives in Albany to lobby for affordable healthcare.
Students from TouroCOM Middletown visited their state representatives in Albany to lobby for affordable healthcare.

Cornerstone Family Healthcare Center, a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) along with several other FQHCs, organized the lobbying day in order to ask the state legislature for a $20 million increase in funding for indigent care to offset a larger federal cut. As part of the visit, a delegation of six TouroCOM Middletown students heard from advocates for affordable healthcare as well as those who had benefited from the healthcare provided by FQHCs. FQHCs are legally required to treat everyone regardless of their ability to pay for treatment. The Albany lobbying day for FQHCs is an annual event. After the rally, the six students met with state legislators about the funding request.

“As medical students, we often forget how much politics affects what we do,” said OMS III Vishwas Patel who attended the rally. “This was a unique experience for us.”

OMS III Edward Qian cited a connection the students had with Cornerstone Family Healthcare, where many TouroCOM Middletown students do their electives and rotations.

“The Cornerstone office has a branch near us so when there are budget cuts it becomes personal,” said Qian.  

OMS III Student Jessica Johnson, who helped organize the TouroCOM delegation said she felt the event was a counterbalance to their medical studies.

“We spent so much time training for the medical experience, we’re pretty inexperienced when it comes to understanding how the state pays for medical care for the poor,” she said. “So much of the medicine is connected to the political world. In order to provide the best care for your patients, you have to learn how to talk about medicine to your elected officials.”