About Controversial Advocacy Work
Discussions regarding involvement in advocacy work that may be viewed as controversial, such as immigration, abortion, or dealing with healthcare access, can be difficult to navigate and should be avoided, as the physician in this case clearly has a viewpoint. Other causes that are considered less controversial, such as preventing childhood injuries and cancers or protecting the elderly from abuse, may weather political divides more easily.
Explore This IssueOctober 2020
Dr. Avorn said unless there’s an existing friend-like relationship with the patient, he wouldn’t bring up advocacy work that might be considered controversial, but if there is, or if the patient asks, then he feels it’s fine to be open and candid.
Obviously, there’s a wide range of opinions among physicians on these topics. Discussions of a political nature could potentially distance the patient from the physician, which in turn could affect the patient–physician relationship. And, if the patient becomes uncomfortable, they could even decide to leave the practice. “I personally don’t believe the risk is worth the benefit,” said Dr. Holt.
Renée Bacher is a freelance medical writer based in Louisiana.