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donor of the month

Patrick Dowling, MD, MPH is the Family Physicians Political Action Committee’s July Donor of the Month! Dr. Dowling earned his medical degree from the University of Toledo College of Medicine, his public health degree from the University of Michigan and completed his family medicine residency at Cook County Hospital. In 1998 he was named as the first permanent Chair of the Department of Medicine at UCLA. Dr. Dowling has been a consistent donor to FP-PAC since 2007, serves as a Legislative Key Contact, and has attended the All Member Advocacy meeting in Sacramento. Dr. Dowling has also served for several years on the national legislative committee of Associate of Departments of Family Medicine, which is the organization of department chairs.




Why do you contribute to FP-PAC?


I believe in Family Medicine and the people and organizations that work to support the specialty. The office and staff of the CAFP are a skilled and dedicated group of individuals. They closely monitor all the legislation being introduced and debated in Sacramento and ensure the voice of Family Medicine is heard.


What would you say to someone who may be hesitant to contribute to a Political Action Committee?


Health care is the biggest industry in the US, accounting for almost 18 percent of the GNP! We need both state and federal money to maintain our medical student and residency programs to ensure they will continue to exist. The major funding sources are the state and federal governments, guided by the policies which these government bodies enact. Given that, it is imperative that the important contributions of Family Medicine to healthcare in America are understood and valued.


Less than five percent of family physicians contribute to FP-PAC. Why should more family physicians contribute?


If you want the crucial work of Family Medicine/Primary care, which is the foundation of any high-quality cost-effective health care system, to continue, you need to have a voice with the politicians. I note that the nursing lobby is very strong in both DC and Sacramento.


Have you ever attended an FP-PAC event or represented FP-PAC at a fundraiser? If so, what did you learn by attending the event?


I have attended several events, primarily in Washington DC. I was part of the legislative affairs group that met with our two senators and select congressional representatives. One thing I learned is that you actually rarely meet with the representatives unless you are a major donor, but you do meet with their staffers, most of whom are the age of medical students. Most members of congress are fed up with the physician groups asking for more money (we were once confused with a group of anesthesiologists!) and it is refreshing for them to hear directly from family doctors who are trying to provide care for the nation. As such, you can become a valuable resource for them and they will call on you. Although Family Medicine is never a big donor, both state and national representatives need to run for reelection every two years, so even small group donations are recognized and appreciated.