Council on Medical Student Education in Pediatrics

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COMSEP 2008 Atlanta Meeting

Poster Presentation:


An Online Educational Module Teaching Legislative Advocacy to Medical Students: The CU-LEADS Program

Authors:
Shale L Wong, Steven G Federico, , Mark A Earnest and Steve Berman
University of Colorado School of Medicine

Background: The legislative process needs input from health care professionals yet few health care professionals are facile with the necessary skills to advocate in this capacity.
Objective: 1) Introduce medical students to the legislative process 2) Simulate the development and passage of a bill relating to health care 3) Demonstrate the complexities of legislation and discuss effective strategies.
Design/Methods: Online interactive module --Students access the module via password protected logon. The program presents a practicing physician who identifies a barrier to achieving adequate vaccination of children in his practice. Students proceed through a series of questions and tasks. They must develop a fact sheet outlining the problem and key talking points. In order to build the fact sheet, students are referred to a series of websites providing relevant facts. They create an actual bill, develop a coalition of supporters and choose among key lawmakers for sponsorship. Students then follow the bill through committees and address how to deal with opponents and the media, negotiating compromises. If appropriate choices are made, students complete the module with the successful passage of their bill. In the context of the CU-LEADS program (Leadership, Education, Advocacy Development and Scholarship for medical students), students debrief the activity as a group with an expert who facilitates discussion of each step of the legislative process.
Results: The module was easily accessed and utilized for student learning. Although it was incorporated into the CU-LEADS program, it also functions as an independent teaching module.It was an effective means of simulating the legislative process. Students reviewed the exercise positively and described increased knowledge of negotiating legislation and health policy.
Conclusions: Medical students can acquire an understanding of the legislative process and understand a physician s ability to impact health policy.