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Best Practices: Recruiting Health Care Professionals

PSR Chapter Leaders Meeting 2011, Chicago IL, Friday, Sept 23
Plenary #1 Best Practices on Health Professional Member Recruitment

Led by: Roberta Richardson, Colorado PSR
Notes by: Kelly Campbell, Oregon PSR

Each chapter was asked to share an example of a health professional member (HCP) recruitment strategy that they have employed, including successes and/or challenges.

Pam—Wisconsin. Pam distributed materials from their recent environmental health (EH) conference. The goal was to offer CME’s on EH issues to all health care professionals including midwives and general public. They found it difficult to market to such wide audiences. The conference paid for itself and had fantastic presenters. Wisconsin Environmental Health Network came out of it—bringing health care providers together with environmental groups around WI specific issues. Midwives and obstetricians are biggest supporters.

Bob—SF Bay Area. Chapter has diverse program and strong speakers bureau. Speakers bureau members overlap with other organizations like NRDC, well developed EH program and some security presentations. Speakers bureau is main way of staying alive, make connections with health professionals. Some come from national, some locally developed. Most effective way to leverage health professional voice recruiting is on the one-to-one level. Strong relationship with Health Care Without Harm; allows us to have work in the health professional world—greening of hospitals, health food in health care, climate change in health care setting. Model for grand rounds. Food matters calendar. Relates to activities with health professional organizations like California Medical Association—can coalesce to make statements at AMA. Make the connections more directly through the organizations people work in. Get in the system and can do grand rounds, develop relationship with UCSF on pediatric health using In Harms Way. Difficulty bringing security/nukes to grand rounds, can get in through the back door b/c credible and known on environmental issues.

Maureen—Iowa. Ditto some of what Pam and Bob have said—similar. Difficulty coming up with materials that capture scope of work. Collaboration with other groups can be strength and challenge because they are trying to recruit us as we try to recruit them. Difficult to maintain focus. Try to focus on working to prevent what we cannot cure. Easy to get sucked into various issues. Need to remember to always bring the health perspective.

Andrew—Greater Omaha. Have had some successes. Bringing Cindy Parker in to talk about health and climate change was sponsored by college of public health. Is slow, new school, building and doesn’t want to be controversial. National public health accrediting agencies want to more closely align with medicine. Poor context. Dean doesn't know about climate change. Difficult to search for funding on anti-nuclear work. Having trouble figuring out how to maintain ethics (job) when need to deal with climate change and peace issues. Formed climate change and public health working group with 4 involved.

Tracy—Washington. Stationing next board meeting at Bastyr University—naturopathic school. Is radical, controversial. Before board meeting members will give lecture on topic they care about. Idea is to go to them rather than ask them to come to us.

Julie—Philadelphia. Merger with Women's Environmental Health Network (WHEN) so is broadening the work – “health care providers for social responsibility.” WHEN works a lot with nurses and teaches in nursing schools and MPH schools. Found it hard to work with medical students. Struggling to get more doctors involved. Two new medical schools in region and will be trying to see how to connect. Anti-violence work is tougher sell—med students not interested. Interested in food, environment. Not nuke or interpersonal violence. Invited to nurses conference to talk about coal.

Alicia—Greater Kansas City. Initiative petition campaign resulted in them being contacted by former psr members from the 80's wanting to get reengaged.

Sarah--Chicago. Despite fact she is a physician she hasn't been able to recruit other docs. Docs need to go to CME. Will have two CME conferences a year. Climate change and health, funding from Harvard public health—has partnered with Maine PSR chapter too. Will be collaborator on it and one on pest control. Small but fantastic board; actively looking for new members. Made commitment to diversify, will bring in more people. Have been successful in establishing two medical student chapters, have 5 med schools in the area. Couple events a year in schools; has new intern to work on it (for free). Great conduit to students because she is recent college grad. Happy to talk more about creating and maintaining student chapters.

Terry—Ashville NC. Talk at Quillen College of Medicine on nuclear weapons. More luck recruiting non-physician activists. Difficulty recruiting physicians. Got blue ribbon commission petition signatures. Young and old concerned about nuclear weapons. Steering committee of 10 activists, about 100 consider members, 35 pay dues. Sense of alienation that someone from medical community had harsh words for group as being too political so sense of fear in reaching out to the medical community.

Barbara—Arizona. Has had limited success in networking and coalition building. Have about 100 members but not many are physicians. Problem identifying docs in state to contact. Health effects of climate change conference in 2008 and asked for CME's in various fields. Was a failure because CME’s not mandatory in AZ. Were able to get some representation on city climate change committee to push the health issues. Board consists of several physicians and others. Some of the most active board members are parents of physicians or med students. Testify on behalf of health effects of coal, talk about health impacts and externalized costs of coal. Online activity—id what is going on in other organizations, network with others and identify as expert speakers. Got involved with air quality and social justice issues. Been to three medical student meetings but have not gotten students to join. Got involved with media, public access TV, radio, online newspaper PSR blog.

Martha—LA PSR. 5 years ago we did a strategic assessment of the organization. Showed that membership aging. One thing missing was amazing programmatic work, effective in working on shaping local and statewide policy. Hired membership director and set goals of 2-3 physicians to plug into programs through the Ambassador training program. Tried CME and grand rounds weren't working. Ambassador training spoke less to science but more to fear of speaking to public, policy makers to be experts on everything. Provided opportunity for physicians to work to bring passion and science together to speak to lawmakers. Database: people would sign in to action alerts, didn’t know their credentials so have intern calling everybody to get credentials. Got 150 physicians to sign letters on BPA bill. Ambassador training is way to train for future board membership and helpful with diversifying board. Toxies brought back some academic physicians—3 physicians who had been members that came and were excited that they got the science right even though it was a fun event. Toxies doing more – looking for 2011 nominations. Raised some money for toxies.

Lynn—Tampa Bay. New chapter, strong support from college of public health and active student chapter. Number of CME’s grand rounds at children's hospital. Have members in Tallahassee and other parts of the state, Pediatric Tool Kit on the road around the state. Struggling to get physicians involved. Strong relationship with CentCom on water security issues, in middle east and Tampa bay area. Docs in
Tampa are not interested or educated about nuclear issues.

Roberta—Colorado. Still a small chapter, trying to recruit new people to mailing list. Tabled recently at a fair. Wanted to have something to make table attractive for people to stop. Came up with a game—“play our game sign,” enter to win prize drawings $50 backpack. Game categories had to do with PSR, role a die, get a question. Roberta shared the questions with the group. Created opportunity to discuss the issues, get people on mailing list. Got 3 physicians, 30 on mailing list. Challenge: don't have connections to university and hospitals. Hard to find a way in, tried to get announcement through Colorado medical society, wouldn't do it. Other hospital said too controversial.

Kelly—Oregon. Challenges: aging membership, lack of interest in nuclear weapons/peace issues among younger heath care professionals, trouble getting in front of medical audiences. Med students not at interested in nuke/peace, more interested in social justice issues. In terms of recruiting other health professionals, name ”Physicians” is a sticking point. Successful:  tabling at hospital farmers markets—suggest to have a HCP at the table. Held volunteer training—invited our email action list, identified several new people who will volunteer on our behalf, have joined working groups and a potential new board member.  Partnering with HCWH. Alternative practitioners are

Q and A:

Terry: Recruitment of Physicians, Clinicians, Health Professionals or partnering with enviro professionals. Bio-preparedness, radiographers, health care administrators.  Maybe physicians is too narrow—alternate focus on broader?
Peter: frame of national staff/board is “health professionals” or “health care professionals”

Bob: HCWH has a whole range of materials ready to go climate change, healthy food etc., talk to Lucia Sayre. Has potential for going beyond physicians, for hospital administrators, etc. Go to Health Care Without Harm website for materials. Webinars coming up on healthy food in health care, with Ted Schettler and others. Your members can attend the webinars - Valuable recruitment material.

Barbara: APHA has webinars on climate change for health professionals. Just read “World on the Edge” by Lester Brown, expert on climate change. What is going on and what to do about it. Has a budget for every fix needed to make. Ordered a case of them—see the sheet—significant discount for case, has given out to chapter members and lawmakers. $10 apiece. Give to new chapter members of PSR. Good education project.

Kelly: question about student chapters
Sarah: medical school calendar is key to understand. Two nonclinical years first, must capture them then. 1 yr of med school = 2 years of college. Students do not help me, I help them. 3rd yrs are not available. Have to have built in mechanism. Have second yr lead your chapter, then pass it off to a beginning 2nd yr student. One at northwestern wanted to start environ group, PSR member was teaching there and connected them to PSR. Went to U of I office of student services; asked and sent out emails, student activities fair, had a few lectures, work to bring in lectures. LUNCH! Pizza and Falafel!
Pam: student org fair with a student at the table with your volunteer. Get names on a list; advertise lunches or evening potluck/film.
Bob: last 8 yrs had successful with environ health electives that brought in nuclear weapons as EH issue and brought in all PSR issues. HCWH gives students practice to be involved in, removing mercury from their facilities. Commitment to social justice is major student issue and single payer health care. Need to integrate meeting students where they are apt to move them along.

David: start cross fertilization online tool that will allow this to continue - notes as a starting point for this.