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Top 15 tips for physicians considering political office


Thinking of stepping into the political arena? Irene Aguilar, M.D., Mike Ritze, D.O., MFSA, and Edward J. Canfield, D.O. give their top 15 tips for physicians considering a run for office...




Thinking of stepping into the political arena?  Irene Aguilar, M.D., Mike Ritze, D.O., MFSA, and Edward J. Canfield, D.O. give their top 15 tips for physicians considering a run for office...




15. Take care of your family. Medicine and politics can both take all your time and energy. Remember why you got involved, who got you there in the first place and who will be there when you are done.  (Canfield)


14.  If you are married, keep your marriage strong.  Politics can cause great strain on marriages, and many couples divorce under the pressure. (Ritze)






13. If you work more than 40 hours a week, it’s going to be very difficult to enter politics, especially if you have family and other responsibilities. (Aguilar)






12. If you have a young family, it will be very hard to enter politics. Consider getting involved after your family is older. (Ritze)






11. Understand that you cannot run a full-time practice and be a full-time politician. Make arrangements with employers, partners and friends for coverage and back up well before you take office. (Canfield)






10. Politics needs to be something that’s fun for you because it’s going to take up a lot of your free time.  This work needs to be energizing, to fulfill something in you. (Aguilar)






9. Establish a political base long before you enter a race. When political vacancies come up, you need to hit the ground running in a campaign. (Ritze)






8. Consider the cost: political campaigns are expensive, with state house races costing upwards of $50,000.  Physicians are hit doubly, as they cannot earn money while taking time off to run for office. (Ritze)






7.  Learn how to delegate. You can’t do everything – in your practice or in your political endeavors – by yourself. (Aguilar)






6. Recruit people to help you.  There are lots of people who would be happy to help you – find them and get them on your team.  Tap retired professors, law students and others who would like to volunteer. (Aguilar)






5. Establish clear boundaries with patients that when you’re seeing them for medical issues, that you will not be addressing their political issues. (Canfield)






4. Don’t use your medical office for political discussions. Not that political issues won’t come up, but take care that it doesn’t become a regular occurrence. (Canfield)







3. Think of all the time you spend with your patients as doing constituent outreach. This will help you to really know in your heart of hearts what people are concerned about. (Aguilar)





2. If you can take care of your patients, you can take care of your constituents. Physicians are good listeners, and good politicians are also good listeners. (Ritze)





1. Protect your ability to practice medicine. In this time of term limits and/or if you get defeated in a future election, you need to be able to return to practice. Work in medicine at lease minimally. Keep up with CME and licensing requirements, as they could sneak up on you. (Canfield)


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