CIR partnered with the Latino Medical Student Association and the California Health Professional Student Alliance to host “Residents as Agents of Change” on March 13, 2012 at the University of California, Irvine.
UCI’s third- and fourth-year medical students and resident physicians gathered to hear a panel of five CIR members from LAC+USC Medical Center and Harbor-UCLA discuss their roles as physician advocates both inside and outside their hospitals. The panelists discussed bargaining directly with
LA County administrators over wages, benefits and working conditions; they also illustrated how participating in monthly labor-management meetings with top tier hospital administrators helped them to problem solve and innovate.
From supporting policies that increase healthcare access to backing measures that raise funds for equipment and facilities, CIR members highlighted initiatives that resulted in positive changes for their patients and their hospitals. Dr. Daman Samrao, LAC+USC pathology resident, talked about her role as the 2011 LAC-USC Patient Care Fund Co-Chair. For more than 30 years, resident representatives have used the fund to help fill the gap between scarce county resources and the needs of patients. Through the $1.2 million annual fund, housestaff have been able to purchase equipment and support innovative approaches to patient care.
The CIR leaders also shared how they have been able to foster a culture of activism within the medical community. It was importatn to connect decisions on Capitol Hill to impacts on patient care. They highlighted legislative advocacy for safe staffing levels and lobbying efforts to urge U.S.
Senators and Representatives to pass healthcare reform.
Residents felt it was a good step toward cultivating the next generation of physician advocates working to enhance patient care, influence policy and improve resident well-being.