We are writing to announce a series of leadership updates in Doctors for America as we charge ahead on the important work of protecting the health and well-being of our patients in the face of challenges that are cropping up from every direction.
On May 12, Alice Chen will be stepping down after six years as Executive Director and over eight years as a founding leader of our movement. Additionally, at the end of June, Mona Mangat will be wrapping up her three-year term as board chair and six years as a board member.
Both Alice and Mona came to our movement as full-time practicing physicians who wanted to do more to help our patients but were new to advocacy and community organizing. Through eight years of Doctors for America’s campaigns, bus tours, rallies, marches, meetings, conference calls, and the input and action of our extraordinary members, they have discovered their voices and the power that each of us have individually and collectively. They have worked through the years not only to build a better future for patients but also to lead, advise, and mentor hundreds of individual physicians and medical students across the country. Alice and Mona will remain active in fostering new leaders and strategies as Advisors to the Board.
This is part of a long-planned leadership transition towards building a sustainable organization that will long outlast our founders and individual leaders thanks to an active membership that has stood up to lead.
Building Doctors for America into a sustained movement is more important in 2017 than we expected. The Administration and leaders in Congress are determined to repeal the Affordable Care Act, though they have so far been stalled by opposition from all of us who know how much pain that would cause millions of people.
Beyond the ACA, members of Congress are using tax reform efforts and federal budget negotiations to push cuts to Medicaid. Vocal lobbies are pushing to remove protections against gun violence and eliminate healthy standards in school cafeterias. They are pushing to loosen environmental regulations even as the children of Flint experience the after effects of lead poisoning that shocked the nation.
We have work to do. The public trusts us – professionals who spend each day caring for them and assuaging their fears in their darkest hours – far more than they trust elected officials. Our 18,000-member movement of doctors and medical students across all 50 states has an extraordinary amount of power collectively to shape the future of our country.
That is why we are so excited to present your Doctors for America leadership moving forward. We have posted contactsfor our leaders on our website to make it easier for you to connect with them:
On July 1, Scott Poppen will begin his three-year term as Board Chair. He will be joined by our Board of Directors of previously elected members (Patrick Cannon, Meghana Desale, Lori Heim, Don Mathis, Kyle Ragins, Ethan Rome) and those who were elected recently (Shree Govindarjan, Joe Kanter, Krishnan Narasimhan, Shalini Pammal, Evan Saulino). Congratulations to our new board members!
The board will be working closely with our dozens of volunteer national and state leaders in forging our collective path ahead in the important work before us. In addition to our board, we have developed a slate of National Campaign and Issue Leaders focusing on specific arenas in addition to protecting the ACA, Medicaid, and access to health coverage. Those teams include: Gun Violence Prevention; Drug Value, Pricing, and Affordability; Food as Health / Food Insecurity; Substance Use and Addiction; Mental Health; Racism in Medicine; and Physician Wellness. These leaders are pioneering our way forward in diversifying the issues Doctors for America can track and play a role in shaping. If you want to help the leaders in any of these areas or see a gap that you can fill in other areas, please contact us!
We know that much of the work ahead will happen locally and in states. We are lucky to have State Directors and Leaders in most states continuing to serve as our point people for both state issues and for mobilizing around particular elected officials who need to hear from us.
We are also all fortunate to have Brannon Lazo continuing on as our Communications Director who does so much more than communications to support our work every day.
Many people think Doctors for America must have a dozen paid staff for all the work and impact that we have had these past eight years. The truth is that Doctors for America's power has always come from our diverse members and volunteer leaders -- doctors and medical students who find time after clinic, between classes, and on evenings and weekends to speak up for their patients and help others do the same.
We have laid out our current leadership here, but more than ever before, we need you. A member-driven movement thrives on our commitment not only to our shared cause by also to one another. Please reach out to your state director, the leaders of the issues that are important to you, and our board to share your ideas, perspectives, and most of all your willingness to help with your time and energy. If you don’t see a state director listed or don’t see a working group on an important issue that you want to work on, please let us know.
Together, with your help, we will continue to bring the voices of physicians to the places where we are most needed to protect and improve the health and lives of millions of people in America.
Alice Chen, MD - Executive Director
Mona Mangat, MD - Board Chair
R. Scott Poppen, MD MPA - Incoming Board Chair