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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!

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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DFA Round Up - November 17, 2017



  • Tax Bill - Yesterday, the House passed its harmful tax bill. Now, the Senate is aiming to sneak ACA repeal through in its harmful plan to cut taxes for the wealthy and corporations. The Senate plans to vote on this package soon after Thanksgiving. Call your Members of Congress and tell them to OPPOSE any tax package that increases the deficit or that decreases the number of people with health insurance: (202) 224-3121 
  • Open Enrollment - Your outreach around open enrollment is working. Reports indicate that, despite Administrative sabotage, ACA signs ups are surging. Keep spreading the word ahead of the December 15th deadline about the affordable coverage options available at Find a tool kit, social media resources and tools to aid your outreach here


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


In October, DFA board leaders participated in a dozen meetings in Washington, DC with coalition partners that included health advocacy organizations and national physician groups. Pictured below is Chair Dr. Scott Poppen and Board Members Ethan RomeShalini Pammal and Dr. Meghana Rao.

Also happening nationally: 

  • DFA held a membership enrollment call with hundreds of participants and then led the Provider Week of Action in partnership with Young Invincibles, Get America Covered and physician groups. 
  • DFA signed onto a letter urging Congress to fund CHIP and FQHP's which expired September 30th.
  • DFA supported a measure allowing HHS to negotiate Medicare Part D prescription price introduced by Representatives Cummings, Doggett, Welch and Senator Sanders. 


Over 50 medical students at USC led a campaign supporting DACA recipients and urging Congress to act to protect them.

Dr Sonali Saluja, an internist at USC, joined Congressman Ted Lieu at a healthcare rally in California's 25th Congressional District where he spoke about the impact of ACA repeal on patients. 

Also happening in CA:

  • USC DFA medical students Alyssa Morse, Kyle Joyner, Santano Rosario, and Alexandra Obrembsky organized an event with Dr. Astrid Hedger on advocating for vulnerable patient populations in Los Angeles County.
  • Dr Kyle Ragins, a board member, led a physician advocacy event for Los Angles County health professionals sponsored by the Los Angeles Department of Public Health, Southern California Public Health Association, and the California Baptist University.
  • Medical students Grace Lee and Jeff Fujimoto organized the first UCLA-DFA chapter meeting on campus.


DFA-NY and medical students at Mount Sinai, led by medical student James Blum, held a Day of Solidarity at Mount Sinai for DACA recipients and collected some impressive data on the impact of their advocacy, below. 

Also happening in NY:

  • DFA NY signed onto a letter sent to their Representatives asking them to oppose the budget proposal and stop Medicaid cuts.
  • Drs Bruce Rector & Katherine Scheirman joined the physician advocacy coalition letter to Mayor DeBlasio supporting the removal of a statue of Dr. Simms in New York City.
  • DFA NY participated in the 2017 NYC Regional ACA Outreach and Enrollment Summit on October 17th.


Dr Nina Agrawal held a press conference with Congressman Carolyn Malone in response to the Las Vegas shooting.

Dr Agrawal also interviewed with Think Progress in response to the shooting.

“I think we need raise awareness that NIH and CDC can’t fund research — this seems like a no-brainer."


Dr Bruce Rector participated in a panel organized by the National Physicians Alliance to discuss DFA efforts to address high drug costs and the opportunities for action in 2018.

 Please send your updates and photos to


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Open Enrollment: Provider Week of Action


Open enrollment for 2018 health coverage is here and we need your help.

Administrative efforts to sabotage the law and enrollment outreach have made this enrollment period particularly confusing for millions of Americans. However, we have a secret weapon in this fight and that is you. Doctors remain the number one messengers on healthcare. That means your voice can make a big difference this enrollment period. 

Doctors for America will be partnering with physician organizations across the country to hold a Provider Week of Action on November 6-12th. Get involved and help spread the word to #GetCovered before the December 15th deadline by joining an event in your area and amplifying key enrollment information on social media. Let's make sure our patients and communities know that quality, affordable health coverage is still available. And that, thanks to financial help, most people can get plans for $50 to $100 per month. 

Take action using the resources below:

  • DFA Social Media Materials - Use these resources to help spread the word to #GetCovered before the deadline.
  • Open Enrollment 5 Toolkit - This comprehensive toolkit includes talking points, sample emails, state coalition information, a handy guide for how to help people get covered, among other resources.
  • Connector Tool - Do you know someone who needs help with a health insurance application? Enter your ZIP code below to find appointments with local application assisters.
  • Start or join an Open Enrollment team - Know someone else that's interesting in helping? You can create a team to help put up signs in your neighborhood and share resources on open enrollment.


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Sabotage, plain and simple

By Shalini Pammal

The President has taken a major step toward dismantling the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with an Executive Order aimed at collapsing the private health insurance market by drawing Americans toward skimpier health insurance plans. It’s sabotage, plain and simple.

Doctors and healthcare professionals know that everyone will become sick at some point in their lives and that these junk plans will not provide patients with the coverage they need when they need it most. In fact, these plans could reject people with pre-existing conditions, have lifetime/annual limits and no limit on out of pocket costs.

It is no coincidence the timing of this order occurred just before the start of Open Enrollment. The Administration is attempting to cause confusion for Americans and discourage them from signing up for coverage on the exchange. But quality, affordable coverage is still available and we must spread the word.

Join us for an emergency call to discuss administrative efforts to sabotage the ACA and the upcoming Open Enrollment periodLearn how you can help fight back to ensure Americans get the coverage they need.


Doctors for America Expert Call: ACA Enrollment

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

at 8pm Eastern / 5pm Pacific

Hosted by DFA Senior Advisor Harold Pollack with special guests:

Lori Lodes, former CMS Communications Director and current leader of Get Covered America

Erin Hemlin, National Director of Training and Consumer Education at Young Invincibles



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