What Doctors Think Is Worth Fighting For

Shelly Reese


February 24, 2016

In This Article

Planting the Seeds of Change

For many activists, Dr Duncan says, the decision to take action is an amalgamation of many forces. It's about serving family and community, righting wrongs, and addressing frustrations. But above all, she says, it's about the future. "They have a desire to make the world a better place or to leave a legacy."

Over the years, Roberta Gebhard, DO, a hospitalist in Jamestown, New York, and a board member for the American Medical Women's Association (AMWA), has become comfortable asserting herself. She traces the seeds of her political involvement to an experience 6 years ago.

Dr Roberta Gebhard

"I wanted my daughter, who was 12 at the time, to realize she could have an impact," she recalls. At the time, Dr Gebhard was AMWA's representative to CARE, a humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. So when she and other AMWA representatives traveled to Washington to lobby on behalf of CARE, she took her daughter along.

"She loved to travel and to go to the meetings," Dr Gebhard says. "I don't think she fully understood what we were doing at first, but she learned to speak up."

Today, Dr Gebhard is a frequent visitor to Washington, where she lobbies on such issues as pay equity two or three times a year. Her daughter is a college student contemplating a career in diplomacy or politics. They still make an annual trip to Capitol Hill to represent CARE.

It's not easy to find the time to be socially active, Dr Gebhard says, but not finding the time would be far worse.

"Sometimes I think you don't have time not to be involved," she explains. "It's so important to have your voice heard. If you don't, then you have things happen to you that you don't want to happen. You want to be in a position to change things."


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