TO: DFA members
RE: NPA joining DFA
DFA wanted to add some additional clarity and answer some of the great questions that our members have asked us regarding the recent announcement that the National Physicians Alliance (NPA) will be joining DFA.
First, these are exciting times! DFA will now be a bigger home for everyone, and your determination to change the world for your patients can be a part of our expanded family. DFA now will have an expanded platform as the clear go-to progressive group of 30,000 physicians and medical trainees for policymakers, the media, our advocacy partners and others. As the saying goes, “the whole is only as strong as its parts.” Each of you play a vital part that can and will strengthen the whole.
Second, for the past year, DFA members have been resisting the harmful direction pushed by numerous policies proposed in Washington, D.C. and in state capitols throughout America. To bolster your efforts, we have been rebuilding our internal and external infrastructure. In fact, we are adding three organizers, a communications consultant, and other consultants by April. The prospect for additional growth is very positive for the rest of 2019. However, the biggest shot in the arm so far will be our colleagues from NPA joining DFA. This will give DFA more strength and influence, and the means and ability to support our members to make our country healthy, safer, fairer, non-discriminatory, and an environmentally-friendly country for all us to live in.
In the coming weeks and months, we will be sending out listservs, holding conference calls and webinars, and providing options so that leaders can listen to you on the ways you would like to participate and activities that we are now engaged in. In addition, we will be sending out surveys to receive your ideas, assess your positions, and crowd-source ways to make us all stronger.
All your questions, now and future – please send them and we will do our best to answer them.
1) Specifically, what is happening?
- Our friends at NPA are folding into DFA. You can call it a merger, acquisition, “folding-into” or whatever term you want to use. The most important thing is that physicians are coming together. This is positive, and we encourage everyone to view this as a win-win for the progressive physician community and – more importantly – for our patients.
- Both organizations have been, and will continue to be, focused on the needs of our patients.
2) Is this now a new organization?
- No, it is not. It is still Doctors for America.
3) So, is there a new name for the combined organization?
- No – there is not a new name. It will still be called Doctors for America.
4) Does the Structure of DFA Change? Who are the leaders? Is there a new joint board of both organizations?
- No, DFA’s board is still the board going forward. See question 6.
- Regarding leadership of Issue-based Working Groups: See question 7.
- Doctors for America staffing will stay the same.
- DFA will be adding three new organizers in 2+ months, and we are currently adding 4-5 consultants.
5) What will happen to NPA?
- NPA will officially be closing their doors on March 31st. They have some logistical items that need to be taken care of after the AMSA conference that NPA is involved in.
- As of March 31st, NPA will no longer legally exist.
6) Will there be a joint or combined board?
- No, DFA’s Board will still be the board in charge. NPA’s current Board Chair, Jeff Huebner, has been offered a position on DFA’s board, which he has accepted. He will join DFA’s board in the coming months.
- DFA is internally assessing our current board make-up, including the skills and diversity of backgrounds that currently exist on the board, and what skills and perspectives DFA's current board may be missing. DFA's bylaws and our values mandate a board with ethnic, gender, geographic and specialty diversity.
- An invitation for additional board members will be sent to all DFA/NPA members in the Spring/Summer. Anyone can apply, and we will welcome applications from NPA members, leaders and board members within NPA.
7) How will NPA members be integrated into DFA?
- NPA leaders have been and will continue reaching out to their leaders to engage them to stay active and encourage them to connect with and join DFA’s issue leadership teams.
- NPA leadership will be forming an ad hocgroup to engage their members and encourage them in an ongoing fashion to become part of DFA in the coming months.
- NPA members (all individuals!) will be encouraged to join DFA and make sure they sign-up for specific issue groups that they are interested in being part of, that they get in touch with DFA members to form new relationships, and that they relay their interests and experience.
- DFA has recently been approved for several grants to work on Gun Violence Prevention and Prescription Drugs. As part of this, DFA will be expanding the leadership role of its issue working groups and thus welcomes everyone who wants to take a direct or in-direct leadership role in these issue areas to be part of our leadership teams.
- DFA is looking to hold issue leadership conference calls with those folks who want to take a leadership role. (Again, individuals will need to join and sign up for the specific issue areas, so we know who is interested.)
8) Will all NPA members be part of DFA?
- NPA is still working out the details regarding the transfer of their membership list and data
- DFA hopes and plans to engage every member of NPA to become a member of DFA, but, of course, it is each person’s choice whether to become a DFA member.
9) DFA State Chapters:
- In a few states, a collaborative approach among many organizations, including local chapters and members of DFA and NPA, has been operating for years. This should continue – these local connections are part of what make us confident that this joining will be so productive. It is up to state leaders, old and new, to determine any changes they would like to make in their state.
- With these new foundation grants that DFA has received, we will have some staff resources working in 8-10 states. The exact states are not yet all finalized. However, our Gun Violence Prevention efforts, we will be focusing in WI and MN and some national work due to the goals of the foundation funding. The six states that will be the focus of our Prescription Drug work will be determined by mid-March. As required by our grants, DFA will be rebuilding our state chapters in those among these 8-10 states that do not have active chapters and hope that this can be a template and provide resources to other states.
- During several DFA State Leader calls last spring and summer, we discussed and did a survey regarding establishing “teams” of state co-directors. This is already occurring in a few other states. The thinking is that such a leadership “team” can allocate the volunteer workload, thus not placing an undue burden on just one person. As this development begins this spring and summer, we encourage anyone to be part of this rebuilding process.
10) Where will donations from NPA be directed to?
- In short, DFA – A new donation page for NPA members has been established on the DFA website.
11) What NPA programs will be moved under the auspices of DFA?
- DFA has operated predominantly on the strength, passion, experience, and initiative of our many amazing members over the years; your volunteer efforts have been the most important factor in the progress we have made, the advocacy wins we have achieved for our patients, and the opportunities we now have.
- However, the viability of running many of these programs depends on DFA's financial situation. All programs require financial and/or volunteer resources. Programs need to be funded by foundation grants and/or membership contributions and donations. Every program, even when most of the work is done by volunteers, inevitably requires the time and support of paid staff. If it doesn't come from a foundation, it needs to come from us. (This is not to say that we do not support the initiative or individual interests of our members to start new efforts; it is just that part of assuring DFA’s financial health is to ensure that our large-scale efforts are financially-supported.)
- With that said, DFA, in agreement with NPA, is committed to keeping the following programs running after this transition is completed. However, we MUST raise the resources to make these programs continue to happen.
i. Copello Health Advocacy Fellowships
ii. Physician Roundtable
iii. NPA’s issue working groups (Gun Violence, Prescription Drugs) – see question 7;
iv. As other resources are found, DFA is committed to also pursue and grow the FDA policy issue-based working group that NPA members have built;
v. Regarding “Making Health Care Fair: This has been an independently managed and funded public education and advocacy project. NPA has served as their independent fiscal agent and that responsibility will now be assumed by DFA.