The Family Medicine Advocacy Summit from St. Joe’s Resident Dr. Marisa Wickerath

Dr. Marisa Wickerath, this year’s recipient of the CAFP Foundation FMAS Scholarship shares about her experience in D.C. this spring:

“Thanks to a generous CAFP scholarship, I recently had the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C. for the AAFP Family Medicine Advocacy Summit. While I was initially tired from an overnight call shift, as soon as the conference started I was glad I sacrificed some sleep to be there. The entire first day was preparation for our visit to the capitol, and it was an excellent opportunity to dive deeper into the legislative priorities of the AAFP. I was worried that I wouldn’t be prepared or up to speed on the legislative topics, but by the end of the first day I felt well equipped to discuss the topics with my legislators. We also had the opportunity to meet some of our country’s leaders in healthcare including Rachel Levine, Assistant Secretary for Health, and Jonathan Blum, the COO for Centers of Medicaid and Medicare. It was uplifting to meet these leaders and realize that they shared many of my frustrations with the American Healthcare system and were actively working to combat these issues. It’s easy to feel disconnected and resentful of our country’s flawed system, but meeting these leaders gave me hope that at least some of the people in power really are working hard to make things better.

The second day was packed with visits to our legislators’ offices. We met with legislative staff as well as several legislators themselves – namely Congresswoman Yadira Caraveo, MD, who recently joined Congress after serving in the CO state legislature. Prior to politics, she’s also a pediatrician! It was great to be able to share our thoughts and concerns with someone who is as intimately aware of the healthcare system as we are.

Though I started the conference exhausted and wishing for an extra 12 hours of sleep, I returned home energized and empowered by the opportunity to share my stories and push for change. I highly recommend attending to anyone who is interested in using their voice to advocate for a better healthcare system and ultimately, better care for our patients.”


Interested in applying for one of the many scholarships offered by the CAFP? Learn more here. CAFP support for Family Medicine’s future is not possible without generous donations from our members. Consider learning more and donating here or text 205493 to 801801.