Medical Advocacy is such a SNaHP!


  • Nirupama Devanathan Indiana University School of Medicine


n no uncertain terms, 2020 brought collective suffering. COVID-19 fractured communities that were already fragile, scattering shards that cut the very fabric of our society, leading to the demise of small business, or perpetually overworking the under protected essential service workers, healthcare workers, and educators.

The public turned to scientists and physicians, hoping that medical knowledge and evidence-based approaches that inform the beneficence of a therapeutic intervention could become the salve that would begin to heal the US and the world. Indeed, civic engagement affirms the role of physicians in informing the attainment of positive health outcomes in all of our neighborhoods.

But political participation can be challenging, when the vortex of political polarization distorts each and every position as co-opting into the argument of “my team” versus “your team,” reducing physicians to defend political ideology over the virtues of a given policy position.

So how do physicians in-training even begin engaging with public policy? Nirupama Devanathan sat down with Maddie Birch and Joey Ballard, the newly-elected Presidents of Students for a National Health Program (SNaHP), to take a deep dive on civic engagement, policymaking, and advocacy in medicine.