Advocacy Should Be Part of Every Surgeon’s Job

In a letter published in Trauma Surgery & Acute Care Open April 3rd, surgeons Lewis Kaplan, Erik Barquist, Donald Jenkins and Orlando Kirton argue that more surgeons should be advocating for the trauma profession and for the benefit of trauma patients. Members of national organizations. “…need to embrace advocacy with the same vigor and dedication as they do patient care, education, and scientific inquiry,” they say.

Decrying the limited participation in advocacy among the trauma society memberships, these surgeons believe that “advocacy efforts targeted at clearly defined aspects of care should be considered a professional activity, and given equal footing with administration, academic productivity and teaching.” They appeal to surgeons’ ethical imperative to do so, encourage surgical organizations to bring advocacy into the mainstream at national meetings and to provide training in advocacy, encourage professional journals to publish on advocacy efforts, and encourage academic medical centers to allocate time for this activity.

More surgeons will have to speak to their elected officials if the recent effort to build a national trauma care system and to achieve Zero Preventable Deaths (#TraumaZPD), per NASEM’s 2016 report, is to be successful, they argue.

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