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Academic Medicine:
doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e31823f0fd3
Letters to the Editor

Regarding Physician Advocacy

Sandroni, Stephen MD

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Professor of medicine and college master, Paul L. Foster School of Medicine, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, El Paso, Texas; stephen.sandroni@ttuhsc.edu.

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To the Editor:

I have struggled to accept the logic of Dr. Huddle,1,2 and in the setting of a formal debating contest, I concede that he can hold his own. But we physicians are not debaters, lawyers, or sophists. A rising tide of poverty and misery sweeps over our country, leaving in its wake a permanent underclass. Our political leaders refuse to find common ground; their current policies are already harming many of our patients. If we leave our politics at home when we don our white coats, we are complicit—and our failure to stand taller as a profession is neither “a legitimate choice”2 nor the correct one. We can hide behind “our political prerogative as citizens,”2 or we can heed the words of Martin Luther King: “A time comes when silence is betrayal.”3 The question, really, is not whether physicians should be advocates but, rather, how can they be more effective advocates?

Stephen Sandroni, MD

Professor of medicine and college master, Paul L.

Foster School of Medicine, Texas Tech University

Health Sciences Center, El Paso, Texas;

stephen.sandroni@ttuhsc.edu.

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References

1. Huddle TS. Perspective: Medical professionalism and medical education should not involve commitments to public advocacy. Acad Med. 2011;86:378–383.

2. Huddle TS. In reply. Acad Med. 2011;86:1065.

3. King ML. A time to break silence. Speech delivered , 1967; New York, NY. www.informationclearinghouse.info/article2564.htm. Accessed October 5, 2011.

© 2012 Association of American Medical Colleges

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