Developing the Next Generation of Physicians as Policy Advocates to Advance Health Equity (IDEAS) - January 31

Recorded On: 01/31/2024


All policy is health policy. Healthcare providers who act as advocates have the potential to contribute to the overall quality of life of their community. Through advocacy, education, and collaboration, physicians, residents and medical students are uniquely positioned to influence those who shape and enact policy at the local, state, and federal level.

Panelists will discuss why it is important for health professionals to be involved in shaping policy, provide examples of advocacy, and walk through the AAMC’s new toolkit designed to assist health professions learners in Washington, DC to leverage their role to drive positive social change as they advocate with and for their patients and communities. Although this toolkit was designed for learners in the District of Columbia, the principles could be applied in other regions nationally.

The AAMC IDEAS (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Anti-racism) Learning Series provides actionable information about DEI strategies that you can put into practice to become a more effective and successful leader, educator, and member of the academic medicine community.

C. Anneta Arno, PhD, MPH

Director of the Office of Health Equity
District of Columbia Department of Health (DC Health)

Dr. Arno is an experienced public health professional with a track record in the field of health equity. This includes work promoting community collaboration to transform views and perspectives related to root causes of health disparities, the integration of health equity concepts into healthcare delivery systems, and racial equity through a public health lens.

Dr. Arno held previous leadership roles in Communicable Disease Prevention & Public Health Preparedness at the City of Kansas City (Missouri) Health Department, the Center for Health Equity in the Louisville (Kentucky) Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness, and at the University of Louisville School of Public Health & Information Sciences.

Peter Bowling

MD Candidate
Georgetown University School of Medicine

As a member of the Health Justice Scholar Track at Georgetown University School of Medicine, Mr. Bowling worked with a team of medical and legal students to develop a legislative advocacy project, culminating in the Capitol Hill Advocacy Day, where he and his team presented to several Congressional offices. He also worked as a researcher in the MedSTAR Trauma Unit at Washington Hospital Center to examine the impact of law enforcement presence on health delivery and patient outcomes in the trauma bay. Mr. Bowling believes in the importance of the integration of medical education with policy advocacy to address social determinants of health and advance health equity. 

Olanrewaju (Lanre) Falusi, MD, MEd, FAAP

Medical Director of Advocacy Education, Child Health Advocacy Institute
Associate Program Director, Pediatric Residency Program | Director - Leadership in Advocacy, Under-resourced Communities and Health equity (LAUnCH) Track
Attending Physician, Children's Health Center at Columbia Heights - Goldberg Center for Community Pediatric Health 
Associate Professor of Pediatrics, George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences 
Children's National Hospital

As Medical Director of Advocacy Education in the Child Health Advocacy Institute of Children’s National Hospital, Dr. Falusi develops community-based curricula for trainees and faculty and researches the health outcomes of governmental policies. She is an Associate Program Director in the Children's National Residency Program, directing the LAUnCH Track, which trains pediatric residents to become leaders in advocacy and community healthcare delivery. Dr. Falusi's interests are focused on medical education, social determinants of health (including immigrant health), and advocacy.

Dr. Falusi is a past president of the DC Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and is a member of national AAP’s Council on Immigrant Child and Family Health Executive Committee. She is a Spokesperson for the AAP, and she co-hosts a podcast on health and parenting. She has spoken at conferences, in Congress, and in the media on topics including poverty, immigrant health, and antiracism. Dr. Falusi attended medical school at the University of Virginia and completed residency and chief residency at Children’s National. She lives with her husband and three daughters who keep her on her toes!

Alex Villeda, MD

3rd Year Pediatrics Resident
Children's National Hospital

As a pediatrics resident at Children’s National, Dr. Villeda is in the Leadership in Advocacy, Under-resourced Communities and Health Equity (LAUnCH) Track, which aims to train residents to incorporate community partnerships and public health concepts into the daily practice of medicine in service of under-resourced and marginalized communities. His passions include youth development and pathway programming with a focus on health justice education. His current passion project is called Project Insight, a program that aims to foster leadership and advocacy in collaboration with youth from D.C. and Prince George’s County. Learn more at

Jaylan Weaver

Community Engagement Specialist

Mr. Weaver is responsible for assisting with developing, implementing, and monitoring constituent-informed programs and mutually beneficial partnerships. With a degree in Public Health Education from North Carolina Central University, he is dedicated to using his knowledge and expertise to improve the health outcomes of historically marginalized communities. As a Certified Health Education Specialist, Mr. Weaver is committed to collaborating with the local communities in Washington, DC to create educational opportunities advance health.

Malika Fair, MD, MPH (moderator)

Senior Director, Equity and Social Accountability

Dr. Fair develops programs and initiatives with multidisciplinary partners and local communities to advance equity, racial justice, population health, and accountability through a continuous equity improvement lens. Within the AAMC Strategic Plan, Dr. Fair leads one of the 10 action plans for the AAMC: Equipping Academic Medicine to be More Inclusive and Equitable. Within this action plan, Dr. Fair oversees the plan to address and eliminate racism within Academic Medicine. Her work assists the academic medicine community in becoming anti-racist leaders who acknowledge and understand systemic racial inequities and cultivate evidence-based policies and practices that promote racial justice and equity in our communities, education and research institutions, and health care systems.

Dr. Fair is also an Associate Clinical Professor of Emergency Medicine at The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. Dr. Fair completed her residency training and chief residency at Carolinas Medical Center, received her medical and Master of Public Health degrees from the University of Michigan, and Bachelor of Science from Stanford University.

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