The Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA) and the Beyond Flexner Alliance (BFA) Student Assembly co-hosted the Health Professions Students Voices on Voting and the Election webinar, as part of the “Health Education Leaders Pushing” (HELP) for Change Webinar Series. The series aims to highlight rising stars, empower health professions students, and provide a platform to uplift their voices.
Voting is inextricably linked to health, as are the effects of elections. During the COVID-19 pandemic and amidst the ongoing fight against racial injustice, voter turnout was at an all time high, especially among students. Many initiatives, spearheaded by young people and health profession students, were geared towards registering individuals to vote and making sure people had a voting plan. After much hard work and anticipation, Vice President Biden and Senator Kamala Harris were announced as the President-elect and the Vice President-elect of the United States of America. As the country prepares for an administration change, it is imperative that the Biden-Harris Administration remember their commitment to serving the American people and keep the needs of Americans front and center.
Student voices are often left out of the conversation, but now, more than ever, students must make their voices heard and seek to hold the Biden-Harris Administrative responsible for addressing the top issues facing the health professions student community. The siege of the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021 threatened the democratic ideals the United States was founded on. These events call on us to come together to reflect and operationalize actionable steps to promote democracy and racial justice.
Med Out the Vote (MOTV): students can contact MOTV to learn how to build organizing skills and receive school specific voter registration resources. Currently, toolkits and didactic series are being created and are planned to roll out Spring 2021.
Vot-Er: MOTV’s close partner. MOTV and Vot-er are working together to establish the 2021 Healthy Democracy Campaign in August. The 2020 campaign was an opportunity for students to enter organizing and advocacy work (students at over 80 medical schools and hospitals registered/facilitated absentee ballot requests for over 13000 patients and colleagues). It is highly encouraged to become familiarized with Vot-er’s website in prep of this year’s campaign.
VoteHealth: a non-partisan coalition of health professionals collaborating to increase the number of peers and patients registered to vote. Click “Learn More” to learn how to be involved!
Vote 411: a website hosted by the League of Women Voters that provides high quality non-partisan ballot information for all state, local, and national ballot initiatives. This is a great website for students to find something they are passionate about and who are interested in entering advocacy work.