The 2017 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare list was just released by Modern Healthcare, a leading healthcare business news agency. This recognition honors people working in the field of healthcare who are the most influential individuals in the industry, in terms of leadership and impact as determined by their colleagues and the senior editors of Modern Healthcare.
I was very curious to see who made the cut. And frankly, I also thought a few people who didn't appear on the list should have been. But that is a story for another day. I was also interested in the demographics of the professionals who did make it on the list. A quick tally showed me that 19% (practically one in five) of the list members held a position in the US or state government. 11 list members were members of Congress. Eight others held positions in the government, mostly on the federal level. I am not sure I was surprised at this list composition, but I did wonder what impact this fact has on policies and legislation that affect healthcare options for people living in the United States.
With politicians being recognized in such great numbers for their influence on healthcare policy, I realize yet again that it is important that I make my voice heard to those that represent me on the local level, as well as on the state and federal level. How fortunate that Lamaze International has big plans to help me do just that next month.
The 2017 Lamaze Advocacy Summit is scheduled for October 23-24, 2017 in Washington DC. This two-day event is designed specifically to provide Lamaze members and other maternal-infant stakeholders an opportunity to connect with their politicians. Individual advocacy and stakeholder advocacy are two of the core competencies of a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator. The Lamaze Advocacy Summit is an excellent way to develop – and build upon – these competencies. During this Advocacy Summit (which replaces the traditional annual conference this year) learn about advocacy strategies and techniques that you can use during our meetings on Capitol Hill and then take back to your communities and workplaces.
Plenary speakers include Neel Shah, MD, MPP, Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School, Director of the Delivery Decisions Initiative at the Ariadne Labs for Health Systems Innovation and Ginger Breedlove, CNM, Ph.D., FACNM, President, March for Moms Association, and Senior Vice President of Clinical Operations, Baby+Co who both played a significant role in the March for Moms Advocacy Campaign held this past Mothers' Day. These two individuals are uniquely qualified to speak to the importance of stakeholder advocacy and to provide guidance, instruction, and abundant enthusiasm so that attendees feel prepared and excited for the next day's event – "Hill Day" where Lamaze Summit attendees go out and meet with the politicians charged with representing their interests in our nation's capital. At this time, we can share the importance of adequate maternal-infant healthcare funding and the role evidence-based childbirth education has in helping to improve birth outcomes for families.
Additional support and education will come from a webinar that can be accessed prior to the Summit event to help provide a great foundation for the basics of government and advocacy. This webinar: Advocacy 101: Introduction to Government and Advocacy will be presented by Eileen DiFrisco, RN, MA, IBCLC, LCCE, FACCE; Alice Turner, LCCE; Molly Giammarco, MPP.
As one takes in this most recent list of the 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare, you cannot help but realize that politics is the name of the game and advocates for better birth outcomes, myself included, need to step up their game and be sure that their representatives are aware of the specific needs and funding that are required to make sure that every pregnant person and every newborn has everything they need to start off strong and healthy.
Don't hesitate to sign up and reserve your spot at the Lamaze International Advocacy Summit 2017. Your voice matters. Your presence matters. Your ideas matter. Please join other interested people in reaching out to some of the most influential people in healthcare to make sure that maternal-infant health stays in the forefront as they change and implement healthcare policies in the USA. Registration is open now. Early bird discounts remain in effect through Friday, September 15th. See you in Washington DC.