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Advocacy Teaching in Psychiatry Residency Training Programs

Council on Advocacy and Government Relations

  • 2018

Advocacy, generically defined as the active support for a particular cause, policy, or issue, is applicable to medicine and psychiatry as physicians’ responsible use of “their expertise and influence to advance the health and well-being of individual patients, communities, and populations” (Frank, 2005). Advocacy can be undertaken from within an organization or as an outside stakeholder, and it can focus on a single theme (e.g., Barber, 2008) or more generally on issues that relate to patient needs, including the social determinants of health (e.g., Chin, 2017). Although the concept of advocacy is commonly linked to legislative advocacy, a specific arena of advocacy that seeks to influence policy and politics, it is also applicable more broadly to other activities that physicians undertake to support specific causes (e.g., community-level advocacy to avert the shutdown of a homeless shelter, interviews with the lay media as advocacy to inform public opinion).

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