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Progress Notes features doctors and medical students across the country on the frontlines of our health care system. Our views and experiences are diverse, but we share common goals and values. We speak up to move toward a future where everyone can have access to affordable, high-quality health care. Please share our posts, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

National School Walkout - March 14th

I'm a pediatrician in Washington DC.  Please join me in supporting thousands of students taking part in the National School Walkout on March 14th  to protest the failure of Congress to confront the public health crisis of gun violence. Students across the country - from high schools to medical schools - are demanding Congress pass gun safety legislation now.
You can support students by giving a Doctors For America "DOCTOR'S NOTE" (see below) to excuse students who participate in the NationalSchool Walkout.
To make our solidarity with students more visible, take a picture of yourself (wear your white coat!) with your student and the doctor's note. If you can, WEAR ORANGE (clothing, a ribbon on your white coat, pin, etc.) in solidarity with the students in Parkland. Everyone can post it on their Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms with the hashtag #DocsForGunSafety.  Send DFA a picture too, using this link: 
Hoping to plan your own action on March 14th or thereafter? Hoping to encourage medical students and residents at your institutions to organize? See our action guide toolkit for a wealth of organizing strategies, messaging advice, and resources, updated in real time as there are new developments and strategies. 
We are also making DFA doctor's notes available to our partner organizations! Students, parents, and teachers can download a blank form and ask supportive health care providers for signatures and pictures. 
Feel free to modify the above instructions and the doctor's note to your community. View our White Coat Action Guide to find out more ways to become involved in DFA's efforts. To find a walk-out near you, go to
In solidarity,
The DFA Gun Violence Prevention Task Force


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DFA Round Up - March 9, 2018




Dr Rich Joseph penned an op-ed published in the New York Times, directed towards innovating physician training.

DFA board member Dr Krishnan Narasimhan was interviewed by Healthline about the increasing popularity of the ACA. 

Doctors for America is pleased to announce the addition of medical student Justin Lowenthal to the Board of Directors. Justin is a MD/PhD student at Johns Hopkins University and also serves as the Maryland State Director. Learn more about Justin by visiting our leadership page.


DFA - Hopkins co-hosted an event with the Johns Hopkins Schools of Nursing, Medicine, and Public Health titled “Advocacy: The right prescription for tough times” featuring former US Senator Barbara Mikulski and DFA member Dr Richard Bruno. The event was aimed at encouraging health professional and students to become advocates for their patients and ensure that their care is at the forefront of the health reform conversations in Washington, DC, as well as in state-wide and local policymaking.

Along with medical students from the University of Maryland, DFA - Hopkins attended a press conference at the City Hall to support a bill that would make healthy drinking options (water, milk, 100% fruit juice) the default choice for children in Baltimore. DFA - Maryland State Director and board member Justin Lowenthal spoke at the event. The bill brought to the floor following the press conference and passed unanimously Baltimore City is now the largest city on the East Coast to have such a law in place.


DFA California State Director Dr Parveen Parmar was interviewed by Healthline about the potential decrease in ACA marketplace enrollment in 2019.


Medical students and physicians are continuing to push for gun violence to be addressed as a public health issue.

Gun Violence Prevention Campaign 

411 individuals and organizations signed onto DFA's statement on gun violence prevention. 

Prescription Drug Value, Pricing, and Affordability Campaign

Yale medical student Eamon Duffy helped organize and publicize a well-attended event at the Yale law school on cancer policy, "The Policy, Politics, and Law of Cancer"

Medical students Justin Lowenthal and Hussain Lalani submitted written testimony on behalf of Doctors for America - Maryland and the Young Professionals Chronic Disease Network Baltimore Chapter in support 2 bills the Maryland General Assembly is considering related to prescription drug pricing policy this year:

  • Oregon passed a bill on Drug Price Transparency that goes to the governor for signature. Under the Oregon bill, manufacturers would have to compile a report on each prescription drug if: The price was $100 or more for a one-month supply or for a course of treatment lasting less than one month, and there was a net price increase of 10% or more. For such drugs, companies would have to supply a lot of information to the state, including : “factors that contributed to the price increase,” research and development costs, direct costs incurred to manufacture, market and distribute the drug, as well as the “10 highest prices paid for the prescription drug during the previous calendar year in any country other than the United States.”
  • Jill Zorn Universal Health Care Foundation CT has asked campaign members to provide written or in person testimony on drug affordability bills
  • In Minnesota, a legislative aide has contacted campaign members about drug affordability legislation being proposed in that state. 


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DFA Round Up - February 7, 2018


DFA Round Up - February 7, 2018

SAVE THE DATE: JUNE 1- 3rd - DFA's National Leadership Conference

WHERE:  Johns Hopkins University - Baltimore, Maryland

NEXT STEPS:  We will be emailing out address information next week:  How to register, hotel discounts, agenda and more.  Join hundreds of docs as we expand our White Coats ACTION Network, assess the healthcare landscape, learn additional advocacy techniques, and most importantly meet our friends again.  



Dr Sanjeev Sriram spoke against the tax reform bill in the US Senate in Washington, DC. He stood with patients and families, urging members to vote against the bill because of the effects it would have on future Medicaid and Medicare funding. 

Meet Doctors for America's new Executive Director Jim Duffett. Jim brings nearly 30 years and has been a leader in the healthcare social justice fight for affordable, accessible, and quality care for ALL.

Also happening nationally:

  • DFA's executive director voiced our support for providing a solution to DACA recipients in Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders' blog.
  • DFA signed onto multiple letters led by coalition members including topics such as: Demanding Congress reauthorize CHIP funding, protect DACA beneficiaries, provide adequate relief to those affected by natural disasters, and in opposition to the tax cut bill.


Dr Mona Mangat authored an article urging her US Senator to vote to reauthorize CHIP funding, highlighting the millions of Floridian children who depend on the program. 


Dr Manisha Sharma was interviewed by local Memphis news about the care she provide care to patients most in need. 


Drs Bruce Rector and Katherine Sheirman along with the DFA-NY team joined US Representatives raising awareness of Giving Tuesday for organizations working to protect the care of their patients.

DFA-NY held a house party in New York City on January 29th. Contact us if you are interested in hosting your own state house party.


DFA medical students at the University of Chicago helped organize a rally and march demanding Congress reauthorize CHIP funding in Downtown Chicago. The rally was featured in the Chicago Tribune. 

Drs Ram Krishnamoorthi and Philip A. Verhoef penned an op-ed in highlighting the need to reauthorize CHIP funding.


Eamon Duffy, MD/MBA candidate at Yale University organized a medical student phone bank in support of reauthorizing CHIP funding.

Gun Violence Prevention Campaign 

Campaign leader Dr Nina Agrawal received an award for her work on gun violence prevention from the Injury Free Coalition for Kids. View their press release.

Prescription Drug Value, Pricing, and Affordability Campaign 

The DVPAC team endorsed a bill that would allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug pricing introduced by US Senator Sanders. View press release showing DFA's support for the bill.

Dr Bruce Rector and medical student Justin Lowenthal led an roundtable discussion on value-based prescription drug pricing with experts and the Center for American Progress.

Drs Bruce Rector and Ram Krishnamoorthi along with Rena Conti led a lecture on prescription drug pricing at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine.

Tell us about what you are up to! Email your updates and photos to


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Med student opening on DFA Board


We are happy to announce an opening for an available spot on the Doctors for America Board of Directors for a medical student representative. This term will begin on March 1, 2018 and is a one-year role that is renewable for two additional years as long as the person is a medical student. 

The board is the legal governing body of the organization. Primary responsibilities include strategic planning, fundraising, financial/legal oversight, and oversight of the Executive Director. Of these, fundraising will be a major component for the foreseeable future. 

Roles and responsibilities can be viewed here

Application: Apply to be on the DFA Board (Deadline: January 31, 2018)

 If you are a medical student, please consider applying for this board position and/or encouraging others to apply as well.  If you have any questions, please contact our executive director, Jim Duffett at

Thank you for being a valuable part of the DFA movement!


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Big Pharma Exec to lead HHS


Doctors and medical students are deeply troubled about the President’s nomination of Alex Azar, a former pharmaceutical executive, to serve as the Secretary of Health and Human Services. We believe Mr. Azar is the wrong choice to lead HHS given his deep ties to the pharmaceutical industry, support for decreasing funding to Medicaid, and his opposition providing health coverage to millions of Americans through the Affordable Care Act. Former Trump HHS Secretary Tom Price had already started destroying the public health fabric of our country, Mr. Azar will finalize the job by rewarding his corporate friends. 

At a time when millions of Americans are benefiting from the lifesaving coverage and protections provided by the ACA and when drug prices are rising out of reach for many of our patients, we need a leader who will safeguard coverage and take on the drug corporations. Mr. Azar will not be that leader. We urge the Senate to put patients over politics and oppose this nomination.

We are 38 percent away from our fundraising goal. We need your help to raise these crucial funds before the clock strikes midnight on December 31st so we can continue to fight for patients in 2018. It's clear the year ahead will bring more of the same attacks on patients and their access to care. 

Dr. Mona Mangat of Florida has pledged to match contributions with an additional $1,000, making your generous donation go even further towards providing physician advocates the resources they need in 2018.

Will you donate $50, $100 or $1,000 right now to help us fight back against a big pharma exec leading HHS?


Joe Kanter, MD, MPH* 

Krishnan Narasimhan, MD*

Board Members

*Dr. Kanter currently resides in New Orleans, LA and serves as the Director of the New Orleans Health Department.

* Dr. Narasimhan resides in Arlington, VA and serves as an academic family medicine physician and an Associate Professor in the Department of Community and Family Medicine at Howard University.



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Stop the tax bill


Our patients need us to be their voice right now. Congress is on the verge of cutting health care for 13 million people to pay for tax cuts for the rich. 

This dangerous tax cut bill, which includes the repeal of the individual mandate, is expected to go to a vote this week. There is major public pressure on members of Congress to oppose this bad bill. And, if we have learned anything in the last year, it is that when we fight for our patients we can make a tremendous impact on the final vote. Doctors and medical students are on the Hill today to make their voices heard. Can we count on you to keep up the pressure until the vote is over?

Take action now:

  1. CALLS: Contact your member of Congress using the capitol switchboard: 202-224-3121. Find the list of targets by clicking here.
    • Tell them to put patients over politics and oppose the tax bill which cuts health care for millions to give tax cuts to the rich. 
  1. DONATE: Give to Doctors for America to ensure we have the resources we need to continue to mobilize our 18,000 membership at this critical time. Millions of patients are counting on us to fight against attacks on Medicare, Medicaid and the ACA in the year ahead. Help us enter 2018 strong.

Before you head out for the holidays, please take a minute to make a call to your member of Congress and a year-end tax deductible donation.


Yours in service,

Jim Duffett

Executive Director 


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Drive kick-off


Today marks the start of our year-end fundraising drive.

This has been a difficult year for patient advocates but there are many reasons to be proud of our work. Together, against the odds, we successfully blocked several Congressional ACA repeal efforts and attempts to slash Medicaid funding; protecting coverage for millions. We have also banned together to raise our collective voices to stand up for DACA recipients, draw attention to rising drug prices, raise awareness for the need to reauthorize CHIP funding, urge action on the epidemic of gun violence, fight a devastating tax bill and ensure millions of Americans get covered. In 2017, Doctors for America has also welcomed a new Executive Director and staff member to help build and grow our movement at this critical moment in our nation's health.

We need your support to keep urging lawmakers to put patients over politics in 2018. Congressional leaders and the Administration have prioritized tax cuts for the wealthy which will drive up the deficit. House Speaker Paul Ryan has already began calling for cuts to Medicare and Medicaid as a way to trim the federal deficit. We need to sound the alarm!

As a member funded non-profit, our organizational longevity and ability to fight for policies that make a difference to the healthcare community depend on our financial security. Help us raise the $40,000 we need to support our work in the year ahead.

 Dr. Boyd Shook of Oklahoma is kick-starting the drive by generously offering to match your donations up to $1,000.

Will you join Dr. Shook in giving a tax-deductible donation before the end of the year?


Thank you for your continued support,

Scott Poppen, MD MPA



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Senator Flake hears from ALS patient on tax bill


MUST WATCH: ALS patient Ady Barkan urges Senator Jeff Flake to oppose the tax bill which cuts health care for 13 million people to pay for tax cuts for the rich.
Call Congress and tell them to put patients over politics and oppose this dangerous bill: 202-224-3121

(click to video to view)


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It's Giving Tuesday


Dear Robert,

I am thrilled to join Doctors for America at this critical moment for the health of our nation.

As I write to you, the U.S. Senate is attempting to sneak health repeal into their tax cut bill for the wealthy and big corporations. This repeal effort would rip coverage away from 13 million people, raise premiums by double digits and slash spending for Medicaid, Medicare, SNAP, Pell Grants, housing, transportation and virtually every other service that low-income families, the disabled, and seniors depend on. The bill would starve our communities, families, and neighbors, to pay for massive tax giveaways to the one percent. A vote may come as early as this week.
If we have learned anything over the last year, it is that having a strong and active physician advocacy organization is essential to our work and can be successful at stopping harmful actions by this Administration and Congress. Together, we have been able to block ACA repeal and stop devastating cuts to Medicare and Medicaid. We have had some big victories in the last year but our work is not over yet. We still need your support to fight this bill which could bring great harm to our patients. 
Robert, -- on this Giving Tuesday, will you join Americans across the country in giving back to Doctors for America to help ensure we have the funds we need to fight for patients over politics in every corner of this country? 

Show your support for Doctors for America by donating $100, $250, $500 or $1,000.


In solidarity,

Jim Duffett

Executive Director 


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Meet DFA's new Executive Director

By Scott Poppen, MD MPA

It is my great pleasure, combined with considerable excitement, to announce Jim Duffett as Doctors for America's new Executive Director

Jim is a seasoned, career non-profit professional who brings to DFA 30 years of leadership experience in the world of public interest advocacy. He spent more than 25 years at the helm of Illinois Campaign for Better Healthcare (CBHC), Illinois' largest healthcare coalition and one of the top statewide health coalitions in the country, building a reputation as a nationally recognized leader in health justice at both the state and federal level. In 2002 he was named Families USA’s Health Care Advocate of the Year. While at CBHC, Jim worked with then state Senator Barack Obama on Illinois' Health Care Justice Act (Health Care for All). He currently resides in North Carolina where he has worked as a consultant for voting rights efforts and Medicaid expansion. 

Jim is an excellent addition to Doctors for America. Acquiring someone with his leadership skills and experience speaks volumes about the work we have done together over the last nine years to become the nation’s leading grassroots physician advocacy organization.

A message from Jim Duffett: 

"I am ecstatic about joining your team and look forward to connecting with each of you. You are the front line leaders of DFA and for the health care justice movement. I look forward to listening and learning from you and utilizing my 30 years of grassroots organizing experience to strengthen, expand, and broaden our collaborative relationships throughout the U.S. My life has been committed to social justice, specifically health care reform. For over 26 years I lead one of the most successfully diverse statewide coalitions in the country in Illinois. I feel confident in my skills and experiences of collaboration building, developing and implementing issue campaigns, infrastructure development, messaging and framing our issues, policy knowledge, building the needed resources to achieve our goals, and most importantly, working with all of you to make a difference in the lives of your patients. And having fun and empowering individuals.

“I am looking forward to building synergy with you and others in dozens of ways as we continue to commit ourselves to affordable, accessible, comprehensive, and quality healthcare for everyone. In addition, interjecting the much needed public health perspective as it pertains to gun violence, food deserts, and the other issues that DFA has been working on. While the negative forces working to undermine our democracy, inclusiveness, fairness, and equality may at times feel overwhelming; my grandmother always told me that if there is a will - then there is a way. DFA's past, present, and future successes and goals will be achieved together because we know you have the will. Thank you all.

“As we enter our next decade and are witnessing a renewed activism throughout our country, please join with hundreds and hundreds of your fellow medical professionals and renew your membership to DFA or join us and become a first time contributor. Your contribution will be one of your best holiday gifts of 2017. Together we will make a difference. Happy Holidays.”

We are thrilled to have a seasoned professional like Jim at the helm of the organization at such a critical moment in our nation’s health. Together, we will continue to build and grow physician leaders to fight for patients over politics in every corner of this country.

On behalf of the Doctors for America leadership team, sending you a heartfelt thank you for your tireless advocacy. And, wishing you a happy Thanksgiving filled with time to recharge your batteries for the work ahead.



Scott Poppen, MD MPA



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