Influencing Government: Perspectives from U.S. Oral Surgeons

As has been discussed before on this site and blog, The Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery is published on behalf of the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS). They of course have their own interests and seek to help get candidates elected in government with positions favorable to theirs. This is described a bit in the article Influencing Your Government by James R. Hupp  appearing in the January 2015 issue of The Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (vol. 73, issue 1).

The article discusses how voting in an election is only part of the story and advocacy stronger than one’s vote at the ballot box.

The author states

“Advocacy can take many forms. The one that comes to mind for most people is campaigning for someone running for office. Similarly, one can donate to a candidate’s campaign. These can be meaningful contributions to help elect your preferred candidate. Also, depending on your degree of involvement and magnitude of financial support, you can open communication pathways to that elected official and that official’s staff that may not be as freely available to other constituents. “

A discussion is then made of the AAOMS political action committee (OMSPAC). Their PAC pools contributions and donates them to the campaigns for national office.

The author states

“Once the [AOMS Standing Committee on Governmental Affairs] and AAOMS Board of Trustees determine which federal issues, such as pending legislation or regulations, might benefit or harm AAOMS members, or others such as patients or those who may join our specialty in the future, the OMSPAC Board of Directors then identifies and selects for support those federal candidates who share mutual positions with the specialty on these issues, elected officials serving on congressional committees and subcommittees that control the language and movement of pending congressional actions, as well as candidates having solid relationships with any AAOMS members.”

The author later encourages the reader to attend the annual AAOMS Day on the Hill. This event allows the oral surgeons to meet face to face with their elected senators and representatives. The oral surgeons of course are their to deliever their message on whatever legislation and/or regulations are of interest.

The author later states

“Contributing your time and resources to the AAOMS-related advocacy initiatives mentioned in this editorial will give you the feeling of empowerment over what is happening in government; this is a feeling too often lacking in these days of widespread ambivalence toward government.”

I understand the author’s position and the need for doctors groups to want to participate in government in such a fashion. Patients should also consider their own advocacy efforts for issues that are important to them. Sometimes these may differ from what the doctors groups are interested in.

1 thought on “Influencing Government: Perspectives from U.S. Oral Surgeons”

  1. Both patients and doctors need to understand how government policy affects them. Many people don’t realize that it’s important to get involved! Dental hygiene is about more than just brushing your teeth and going to the dentist regularly.

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