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Jan 22, 2021

In this episode originally released in 2019, Drs. RJ Sontag and Andrew Meltzer interview fellow emergency physician Rep. Raul Ruiz, D-CA, to explore how medical students, residents, and recent grads can become advocates for their patients and their profession outside the emergency department. As EMRA's 2019 Congressional Health Policy Fellow, Dr. Sontag worked with Dr. Ruiz on Capitol Hill to turn medical and policy research into legislative solutions on a wide range of topics, from firearm violence prevention to surprise billing to youth nicotine use.

RJ Sontag, MD
President, EMRA
Residency: UT Health San Antonio
Medical school: Wright State University
EM Resident Articles
Twitter: @RJSontagMD

Andrew Meltzer, MD, MS
Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine, George Washington University
Director, Urgent Matters
Fellowship: Clinical Research, University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center
Residency: University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center
Medical School: SUNY Downstate School of Medicine
Twitter: @ACMeltzer

Raul Ruiz, MD, MPH, MPP

United States Congressman (CA-36)
Fellowship: International Emergency Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Residency: University of Pittsburgh
Medical School: Harvard University
Twitter: @CongressmanRuiz

Key Points

  • Being an emergency physician provides a unique perspective on governing
  • Our understanding of the needs of underserved and underinsured populations can influence policy decisions
  • Patient health involves more than just the care we provide in the emergency department
  • Social determinants of health, drug pricing, insurance status, and many other factors affect our patients’ health
  • To truly improve our patients' health, students, residents, and young physicians must learn the language of advocacy by getting involved at every level of policy creation: from hospital administration to local, state, and federal government
  • Emergency physicians are better equipped than other specialties to advocate for our patients and our profession because of our experience standing up for our patients to guarantee they get the care they need every single shift
  • Government can play a role in incentivizing technology and alternative payment models to improve health care access and affordability