One of the goals of the SID five-year strategic plan is to engage the next generation of the specialty in government relations activities. In order to facilitate participation early in their training, SID member David Rubenstein proposed a new program. The SID Advocacy Training Program for Residents was created to provide dermatology residents interested in advocacy an opportunity to participate in the process.
Dermatology Department Chairs were asked to nominate residents that have an interest in advocacy and the legislative process. Nominees represented a wide spectrum of educational and career paths, including MDs, MD/MBAs, MD/PhD and MD/JD degrees. Participants in the program’s debut represented 14 medical schools from across the United States.
The inaugural program was held in conjunction with Skin Disease Research Day on April 5, 2005, a collaborative effort between the SID, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) and the Coalition of Skin Diseases (CSD), a group of patient-driven nonprofit organizations.
The AAD consists of 14,000 practicing dermatologists, nearly all in the U.S. The 24 member organizations of the CSD include over 500,000 individual members that serve as representatives for the 65 million people affected by skin disease and disorders. The mission common to the three organizations is to serve patients through education, research and advocacy.
A training session was held the evening before the Capitol Hill visits. Attendees received information packets and viewed a role-playing session to help them prepare for Skin Disease Research Day activities.
Residents were asked to complete evaluation forms, in order to provide feedback and allow continuous improvement to the program.