Improvement is a team sport. There is certainly an introspective element, because it’s unrealistic to expect everything around us to get better without bettering ourselves. However, any significant improvement involves engaging key stakeholders who influence the outcome.
To improve health, it is vital that we understand and engage the regulatory stakeholders who create the systems within which we all must function – whether as patients and physicians in formal healthcare, or in how other systems affect our environmental, spiritual, and emotional health. These same systems impact how we eat, sleep, socialize, and exercise. Regulatory policies are designed to influence behavior, and our collective health is an outcome of good and bad policies.
Seger Morris believes everyone should be engaged in advocacy to influence the policy positions of legislators at the local, state, and national level. There are many ways to do so.
“One of the penalties of refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors” -Plato
With about one third of Americans insured by Medicare or Medicaid, Federal policy defines the structure for healthcare delivery in the United States. Beyond this third of the population, Federal funding through grants and contracts influences the approach to healthcare and regulatory policy influences care delivery and individual behavior alike.
Seger Morris is actively engaged with legislators and the legislative process in a number of ways, and – whether you agree or disagree with his views – he encourages you to be involved as well.
WAYS TO ENGAGE
One of the fundamental ways to influence policy is through involvement with professional associations. While he’s a member of several national associations, Morris serves in leadership positions with two: as a member of the Bureau on Federal Health Programs of the American Osteopathic Association, Delegate representing Mississippi in the AOA House of Delegates, and as a member of the Government Affairs Committee of the American College of Osteopathic Internists.
At the state level, Morris serves as President of the Mississippi Osteopathic Medical Association and Delegate representing the North Mississippi District at the Mississippi State Medical Association House of Delegates.
To learn more about these organizations and committees, click on the links below.
National associations regularly host large-scale advocacy events that focus on a few high-priority issues. A good example of this is DO Day on Capitol Hill, which Dr. Morris has found influential since his time as a medical student. He is also involved in professional association events at the State level, such as the Doctor of the Day program sponsored by the Mississippi State Medical Association.
Click on the links below to learn more about these events.
GRASSROOTS ADVOCACY NETWORKS
Grassroots networks sponsored by professional associations leverage technology to amplify influence by pairing a unified message with personalized stories. A message received directly from 40,000 constituents is more powerful than a single message from an organization representing 40,000 members. Seger Morris belongs to the Osteopathic Advocacy Network for this very reason. The OAN also keeps him well informed on potential legislative or regulatory changes on the horizon.
In addition to his involvement with the Osteopathic Advocacy Network, Morris is involved with the MSMA Call to Action at the state level.
Much like anyone else, Seger Morris doesn't always agree with the positions of the professional associations. Sometimes a more personal approach is needed. Legislators serve their constituents and they all have staff who will gladly listen to and respond to individual perspectives of those constituents – you might even get to connect with your legislator directly when taking this approach. Reaching out with personal stories about why something is important to you carries a lot of weight for most legislators.
Sometimes time is limited and you just want to support the cause. Supporting a Political Action Committee allows you to pool your financial contribution with that of others to provide substantial campaign contributions to legislators who support the views of the PAC. This provides significant impact with little time investment. Morris supports the Osteopathic Political Action Committee as another way to influence policy.
In his home state, Morris serves on the Board of Directors of the Mississippi Medical Political Action Committee and supports MMPAC financially.
To learn more about the efforts of these PACs, click the links below.