President’s Message: The Pillars of Advocacy

Posted February 2, 2021

I once heard an Association describe the value their organization places on advocacy by saying, “Advocacy is the pillar. The rest are just posts.”

While the KMA doesn’t “rank” its activities as being more valuable than others, I must admit that advocacy would certainly make a bold case for itself.

Advocacy is, and always has been, at the core of the Association’s mission. KMA provides a voice for physicians in Frankfort, supporting legislation that makes the Commonwealth a better place for doctors and the patients they serve, while protecting against policies that could harm us.

KMA also advocates in the public realm, through our various public health education efforts that seek to improve the health of Kentuckians. KMA’s “Focus on Flu,” “Commit to Quit,” “Tobacco Free for Students,” and “Raise Your Guard, KY” initiatives have impacted millions of Kentuckians and led to improved outcomes in a state that typically resides near the bottom of health rankings.

In many ways, I’d argue that all of the KMA’s projects, initiatives, and offerings have the threads of advocacy woven within them.

When KMA offers CME opportunities, such as the popular “Meet the Mandates” sessions, which were offered online and free of charge in 2020, we’re advocating for increased access to education for physicians.

When KMA hosts hundreds of physicians from across the state for its Annual Meeting and House of Delegates, we’re advocating for policy changes that shape the direction of our Association.

When physicians complete the award-winning Kentucky Physicians Leadership Institute, we’re advocating for physician leaders and for their voices to be elevated in board rooms and beyond.

With COVID-19, we’ve had to modify our traditional advocacy activities in Frankfort, and I’m excited about KMA’s Virtual Advocacy in Action Month, being held throughout February. If you missed Monday’s Member Briefing and Kickoff, you can view a recording of that program here to catch up on the Association’s legislative priorities for 2021.

Advocacy in Action Month is providing numerous opportunities for physicians to engage with their legislators and support KMA priorities. This coming Tuesday, Feb. 9 is the first “Talk Tuesday” event, where members will be encouraged to reach out to their senators and representatives to discuss priority issues. Feb. 18 has been designated as “KPPACtion Day,” when members will be asked to engage in political advocacy by contributing to the Kentucky Physicians Political Action Committee (KPPAC). More information about Advocacy in Action Month and Talk Tuesday is available at kyma.org/AIAMonth. This page also provides a number of additional resources, such as talking points, tips for effective advocacy, issue papers, as well as a custom Zoom background (and tutorial) for use when meeting virtually with your legislators.

I look forward to “seeing” many of you virtually during Advocacy in Action Month and hearing about your conversations with legislators in support of such important issues. KMA members like you are the pillars of our organization, and I thank you for your membership and advocacy on behalf of our profession and the patients we serve.