Following up

The post-DO Day momentum: Advocating for the issues you care about

Now that I’ve attended a few DO Days, I want to share five ways that you can stay connected with your lawmakers and advocate after DO Day.


You did it. You attended DO Day! Maybe it was your first event, maybe it was your tenth. No matter how many DO Days you’ve attended, the weeks after always beg the question – what do I do now? My first DO Day was so exciting that after my last congressional meeting ended, I was still full of so much energy and momentum. And I wanted to keep that momentum going.

But I admit, having only participated once at that point, I didn’t quite know how. Now that I’ve attended more often, I want to share five ways that you can stay connected with your lawmakers and continue advocating after DO Day. 

Email your legislators

After meeting with your legislator and advocating for a specific health care ask, follow-up is key. This is the first way you can keep that momentum going. Ideally, you should email them within 24-48 hours of meeting while your conversation is still fresh in their mind (they have a lot of meetings). Thank them for their time and remind them of your conversation and requested action. The tricky part is making sure your email is brief (they also read a lot of emails).

Follow on social media

If your legislator has a social media presence, make sure to follow them on their platform. Some legislators have Instagram or Facebook, but I’ve found that most of them at least have Twitter. Just as you can tweet a legislative ask to them before or during DO Day, you can do the same thing after DO Day. You can also ask your friends, classmates or coworkers to send their own tweets or share yours. The more something is amplified, the more likely it is to catch your lawmaker’s attention and remind them to follow up after your meeting.

Connect with their office

In that super brief email you’re encouraged to send, you can also indicate a desire to connect with their office. Be direct and specific. When I send my emails, I focus on two things: my intention to be a resource to their office, and my desire to meet with them in the future to discuss how I can do that. Which brings me to my last two suggestions:

Offer your expertise

In my emails and meetings, I always ask my legislators to please consider me as a resource in the future should they ever need to speak with someone about a health care topic. And I don’t qualify that by limiting my range of expertise, so neither should you.

The imposter syndrome can hit hard here, but I promise that no matter what year of training you’re in, you’re a lot more qualified to answer health care questions to lawmakers who otherwise might not have an understanding of health care. I’m now a resident physician, and I continually try to remind myself that I can assist in whatever capacity I’m needed. This open offer makes their office more likely to reach out to you in the future.

Offer your time

Recently, I’ve started to offer my time in addition to my expertise. While responding to an email from them does take time, what I’m really referring to is my elective time. Whether you’re a medical student or a resident, electives are key for advancing your passion and your career.

At my own residency program, I’ve recently created a health policy concentration for this exact reason. In January 2024, I’ll be participating in my own self-created health policy elective, where I hope to create connections with my lawmakers, offering them both my expertise and my time. Some people may be able to spend an elective rotation as a health policy aide, and some may be able to complete a community health project that depends on cooperation between you and their office. Either way, there are so many ways to offer your time in the field of health policy (this goes for attending physicians too).

Participating in DO Day creates so many long-term opportunities for us to continue advocating for the issues that we care about the most. And whether you’re most passionate about one of the official DO Day legislative asks discussed during the event or about a different health care topic, all of the above suggestions are relevant. It’s just a matter of how you best communicate and the time you decide to put forth in your future advocacy.

Editor’s note: The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of The DO or the AOA.

Related reading:

Physician advocacy: Tips for communicating with legislators via phone, letters and face-to-face

New year, new Congress

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