At the 2013 National Convention, the CIR House of Delegates voted overwhelmingly in favor of creating a brand new membership category for CIR—The CIR Network. The Network provides a way for interns, residents and fellows to join CIR individually at hospitals that do not already have a CIR chapter with a collective bargaining agreement.
A Path to Physician Leadership
“The idea to create this new membership category stems from the strong interest we see among residents and fellows who have joined us in our advocacy work,” said Dr. Flavio Casoy, CIR Vice President. “These residents identify with CIR values and care about issues like quality improvement, access to care and health disparities, but many train in hospitals where it will be difficult to organize a traditional CIR chapter. The CIR Network will allow those residents to participate in and support that work they find so vital to our profession and our patients.”
CIR Network members will be able to vote in CIR elections, run for CIR office and have access to member-only discounts. Their dues will help sustain CIR work and allow the Network to grow into a powerful voice for residents nationally. Since Network members are not training at a hospital with a traditional CIR chapter that has collective bargaining rights, they will not have the contractual benefits that members in existing CIR hospitals currently have.
A Home for Healthcare Advocates
Dr. Ismet Lukolic, chief resident in Internal Medicine at SUNY-Downstate, got to know CIR through his connection to the chapter at Kings County Hospital.
“I’ve been active in CIR through the Healthy Bronx Initiative. CIR has demonstrated commitment to the community and I see it as a valuable asset to residents and hospitals,” said Dr. Lukolic. “I’d like to see CIR more inclusive of non-members like myself because it’s not just about collective bargaining. CIR is also a pathway to being a better advocate for our patients.”
Dr. Jessica Eng served as a strong political advocate during her residency at Boston Medical Center. Most notably, she visited the White House to lobby against cuts to Medicaid and Medicare. She says the network will allow her to maintain a connection to the union and the advocacy she valued during residency.
“CIR has become an integral part of who I am as a doctor and I’ve really learned a lot throughout my time as a member,” said Dr. Eng, who planned to join the
Network in order to continue supporting CIR political advocacy work through the Political Action Fund.
“What I love about CIR is the way it helps me advocate for my patients,” said Dr. Eng, now in her second year of a patient safety fellowship at the VA hospital in San Francisco, CA. “CIR really helps me find the opportunities so I can use my time wisely. I really treasure that time when I’m able to go outside the hospital and make a difference for my patients.”
A Strong Voice for All Residents
“The CIR Network is primarily about building a stronger resident voice in turbulent times in healthcare,” said Dr. Rick Gustave, CIR New York Regional Vice President.
“Our training is undergoing major changes, access to healthcare is expanding for patients and our hospitals are facing increasing financial challenges. Both as present-day trainees and physician leaders of the future, we need to be present in all of these discussions. Having a larger membership puts us in the best position for a seat at the table as these developments unfold. In time, we could even see a critical mass in our Network members that would give them the strength to become traditional CIR chapters with collective bargaining rights.”
While residents and fellows can join the CIR Network immediately, a public launch of the membership category will take place in Fall 2013. If you have colleagues that might be interested in joining the network, you can point them to www.cirseiu.org/network. If you’d like to be involved in helping to grow our membership, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.