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President’s Message: Advocacy Beyond the Statehouse

While a lot of focus lately has (understandably) been on the 2022 legislative session, it’s important to remember that the advocacy work of the KMA doesn’t begin and end in Frankfort.
As one of our Association’s main pillars, KMA members advocate through nearly every platform, initiative, and program we offer.
Our advocacy efforts have certainly grown in recent years through our work in public health. Just since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, our efforts to educate the public on important COVID-19 and general health related topics have collectively reached more than 3 million Kentuckians. This has been accomplished through the incredible work of our members. Physicians remain a trusted voice, particularly in times of uncertainty and turmoil, and I’m proud of the members who have taken part in these efforts and shared our messaging with their colleagues and patients.
At the end of this month, a special series on KET called “Fighting to Breathe” will air that serves as a central feature of our year-long “Breathe Better Kentucky” initiative. We partnered with the Kentucky Foundation for Medical Care (KFMC) and through a grant from the Anthem Foundation, have sponsored in part the production of this series, which will examine the under told story of lung disease in Kentucky: the causes, the impact on those afflicted and the exciting new developments in treatment and prevention.
Hosts Renee Shaw and Dr. Wayne Tuckson will speak with researchers, experts, providers, and cancer survivors who reveal eye-opening information that challenges our basic assumptions about lung health. Along the way, viewers will learn about the anatomy of the respiratory system as well as the resilience and vulnerability of the human lung which inhales and exhales over 400 liters of air every hour.
I’m excited about this program not only because of the incredible impact of KET to reach an audience all across the state, but also because of the many physician members who are part of it. Lending your voice and expertise to a message that is so important is among the most impactful forms of advocacy.
While it’s sometimes hard to disassociate “advocacy” from images of lobbying at the statehouse, I hope that physicians across the state are taking notice of the advocacy work of our members through these and many other platforms. I’m thankful for all that you do to advocate for our profession and patients and encourage you to continue using your skills to improve the health of Kentuckians.
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