Pritzker SNaHP’s Week of Action 2017

By Maria Mihailescu

The week of December 4 marked SNaHPs third annual Week of Action. First year medical students Maria  Mihailescu, Cyrus Alavi, Hans Strobl, and Paige-Ashley Campbell organized daily events in support of the Medicare for All Act of 2017, Senate Bill 1804.

As medical students, we view advocacy for universal healthcare as an undeniable and implicit duty to our diverse patient population. Supporting legislation in favor of a single-payer system this week has been a critical effort in our pursuit for justice for our patients.

On day 1, SNaHP chapter leaders collected signatures from healthcare professionals and medical students at the University of Chicago in support of the bill. Over 100 signatures were collected from students and faculty.

On day 2, our chapter held a social media campaign to raise awareness of the Medicare for All Act of 2017. Medical students gathered in BSLC to take a photo in support of Healthcare for All and posted it on various platforms tagging our senators and collecting signatures online.

Prtizker students gather for photo opp in BSLC
Pritzker students gather for photo opp in BSLC

That same Tuesday, Pritzker SNaHP chapter leaders attended a lobbying visit held at the Office of Senator Tammy Duckworth. We sat down with the Senator’s Special Projects Manager, David Applegate, to encourage the Senator to co-sponsor Bill 1804. We thanked our Senator for her efforts in support of the ACA’s expansion and her efforts against the repeal of legislation essential to our patients’ care. We further discussed our personal and professional motives behind supporting this bill, and we were pleased our position was warmly welcomed and our efforts reinforced. The experience was positive and promising, and we will continue to meet with our senator’s representatives throughout 2018.

Prtizer SNaHP leaders meet with Senator Duckworth’s Special Project Manager David Applegate
Pritzker SNaHP leaders meet with Senator Duckworth’s Special Project Manager David Applegate

On day 4, Pritzker students gathered for a lunchtime phone banking session. Targeting our senators to ask them to co-sponsor the bill, we blew up all their phone lines while enjoying delicious Mexican food.

On our final day, we met with Rush University SNaHP leaders to deliver the signatures collected over the week to our Senators. Meeting for the second time face-to-face with Senator Duckworth’s representative, David Applegate, we hand delivered over 165 healthcare professionals’ signatures from the state of Illinois alone. This not only marked a successful end to Pritzker’s Right to Health week, but the beginning of a long-term collaboration with local Chicago SNaHP chapters as well.

SNaHP leaders meet at the Federal Plaza
SNaHP leaders meet at the Federal Plaza

We have already began planning our efforts for the year to come, and we are thrilled to be working closely with students of neighboring medical schools whom share similar values and pursuits.