University of Wisconsin–Madison Medical College of Wisconsin

Health Policy Advocacy Engagement: A Physician Survey

Amy E. Liepert, MD; Sarah Beilke, BS; Glen Leverson, PhD; Ann M. Sheehy, MD, MS

WMJ. 2021;120(1):29-33.

Download full text pdf.

Earn Continuing Education Credit.

ABSTRACT

Purpose: Physicians can play an important role in shaping health policy. The purpose of this study was to determine characteristics of physicians participating in health policy and barriers and facilitators to their advocacy.

Methods: A modified previously validated survey instrument was mailed to physicians affiliated with the University of Wisconsin on October 12, 2018. Three follow-up emails were sent, and the response period closed January 30, 2019. Twenty-eight items were included in the survey tool. Respondents were considered highly engaged if they: (a) reported involvement in predetermined high impact areas, (b) had self-reported weekly or monthly advocacy involvement, or (c) had more than 10% dedicated work time for advocacy.

Results: Eight hundred eighty-six of 1,432 physicians responded (61.9%), of which 133 (15.0%) were highly engaged. Highly engaged respondents were more commonly male (57.1%), White (90.2%), of nonsurgical specialties (80.5%), and Democrat (55.6%) or Independent (27.1%). Those not highly engaged were more likely to report “I don’t know how to get involved.” Less than half of all respondents received any advocacy education, with professional organizations providing the majority of education through conferences and distribution of materials. Only 2.5% of respondents had more than 10% of work time dedicated to health policy.

Conclusions: Engagement in health policy exists on a spectrum, but only a small percent of physicians are highly engaged, and very few have dedicated work time for advocacy. Certain demographics predominate the advocacy voice, and health policy training opportunities are lacking.


Author Affiliations: Department of Surgery, Division of Trauma, Surgical Critical Care, Burns, and Acute Care Surgery, University of California San Diego, San Diego, Cal (Liepert); University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health (UWSMPH), Madison, Wis (Beilke); Department of Surgery, UWSMPH, Madison, Wis (Leverson); Department of Medicine, Division of Hospital Medicine, UWSMPH, Madison, Wis (Sheehy).
Corresponding Author: Amy E. Liepert, MD, FACS, Department of Surgery, Division of Trauma, Surgical Critical Care, Burns, and Acute Care Surgery, University of California San Diego, 200 West Arbor Drive #8896, San Diego, CA 92103-8896; phone 619.543.7096; email aliepert@health.ucsd.edu.
Funding/Support: None declared.
Financial Disclosures: None declared.
Share WMJ