Policy focus

Be heard: TIPS Program turns DOs into policy advocates

For Eric Ascher, DO, the program was a jumping-off point to explore an interest in the under-regulation of personal care products.

Eric Ascher, DO, is a burgeoning advocate for safer personal care products. He recently wrote a policy paper on the under-regulation of toiletries and beauty products by the FDA, which he’s planning to submit to The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association for publication.

“Most of us use these products every single day, and many of them contain carcinogens and chemicals that are banned in other countries,” he says.

Dr. Ascher wrote the policy paper as a 2016-2017 fellow in the AOA’s Training In Policy Studies (TIPS) Program. The program provides residents with a crash course in health care advocacy and helps them develop the skills they need to be effective advocates for osteopathic medicine and patients.

The TIPS program is currently accepting applications until Sept. 15, 2017, for the 2017-2018 program year.

TIPS fellows attend four leadership seminars, learn to write policy briefs and white papers, complete a policy project on a topic of their choosing, and receive media/speaker training. Learn more about the program and apply here.

Below, Dr. Ascher, a third-year family medicine resident in Long Island, New York, shares his experience as a TIPS program fellow.

Why were you interested in the TIPS program?

I’ve always been very interested in leadership and health policy. This was a good way to learn more. In the current political climate, I thought it would be good to study a little more in-depth what might be in store for those of us who work in health care and the patients that we’re treating.

How was your experience in the TIPS program overall?

I was so happy to be a part of this program. We received a lot of one-on-one mentoring on advocacy and leadership, which is very different than the mentoring you might get as a resident at the hospital.

What did you gain from participating in the program?

I really developed my public speaking skills, which I think would benefit anyone. The people who run the program made sure we all knew how to address a large group and get our point across. I also learned how to better interpret health care policy and lobby for a good cause.

Eric Ascher, DO

What was your favorite part about participating in TIPS?

I’m from the New York City area, so I work in a very urban environment. I really enjoyed talking with residents in other parts of the country and learning about how the practice of medicine is different in different places. For instance, violent crime is a significant public health problem in New York. But my colleague in Iowa talked about how tractor and farm implement injury is a big problem there. It was nice to see the diversity of our profession and the issues they face.

Want to know more? Two 2015-2016 TIPS program alums also discussed their experience in the program here.

Editor’s note: This story was updated Sept. 7, 2017, to note the extended TIPS program application deadline.

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