BackTable / Urology / Podcast / Episode #82
Advocacy Basics for the Urologist: From Your Clinic to Capitol Hill
with Dr. Ruchika Talwar
In this episode of BackTable Urology, Dr. Aditya Bagrodia and Dr. Ruchika Talwar, a urologic oncology fellow at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, discuss her personal journey to becoming an advocate and how other urologists can get involved in policy making.
BackTable, LLC (Producer). (2023, February 20). Ep. 82 – Advocacy Basics for the Urologist: From Your Clinic to Capitol Hill [Audio podcast]. Retrieved from https://www.backtable.com
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Dr. Ruchika Talwar
Dr. Ruchika Talwar is a urologic oncology fellow at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee.
Dr. Aditya Bagrodia
Dr. Aditya Bagrodia is an associate professor of urology and genitourinary oncology team leader at UC San Diego Health in California and adjunct professor of urology at UT Southwestern.
First, Dr. Talwar explains how she got interested in advocacy. Before college, she had always been interested in issues and causes, so she originally wanted to be a politician. After participating in a summer program, she realized she didn’t want to be a politician and instead pursued undergraduate majors in biology and legal studies. To her, medicine and politics were always intertwined. She was active in the American Medical Association (AMA) in medical school and the American Urologic Association (AUA) in residency.
Next, Dr. Talwar explains what advocacy means to her, which is picking a topic and trying to make a broad impact. She chooses to advocate through organized medicine because she believes that organized medicine creates a unified voice necessary to guide politicians in making correct policy decisions. Although she participates in advocacy at a national level through AUA conferences and Capitol Hill visits, there are also other levels of advocacy to engage in, such as advocacy at the department or state level. She emphasizes that advocacy has helped her fight burnout, as she feels like she has a voice in the larger medical system.
Dr. Talwar cites many historical examples of the benefits that advocacy from urological societies has brought to patients. For example, organized urology has done much to improve insurance coverage of PSA screenings and Medicare policies. During these times, she notes that updating and checking emails from the AUA and forwarding emails to colleagues is critical. Another way that urologists have been able to advocate for health equity is to share patient stories with lawmakers, which may make a bigger impact than sharing research statistics. She mentions that the AUA policy arm is able to connect urologists with their specific congressional representatives and sends out legislative priority surveys to AUA members. She encourages other trainees to get support from their program leadership to pursue advocacy by sharing tangible ways that they can improve their department and relaying patient stories. The doctors also discuss differences in generational perspectives when it comes to advocacy. Older generations of urologists may not think the AUA should play an active role in policy making, but younger generations think AUA should be more active in policy making. Dr. Talwar encourages younger urologists to apply for leadership positions, especially female and minority urologists.
Finally, the doctors discuss the upcoming AUA Summit, an annual fly-in advocacy event. During this conference, urologists will be able to decide the AUA’s legislative policies for the year, such as coding and reimbursement, retention and diversity of workforce, and research funding. Urologists will be able to meet with their congressional offices and representatives as well.
6th Annual AUA Summit Registration:
AUA Public Policy & Advocacy Committees:
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