Wayne State Up to PharmD team and APIA-Vote MI hold Democracy Town Hall

Friday, Nov. 18, is the last day to vote for the Wayne State Up to PharmD team in the national Up To Us Competition, and they need just 50 more votes to make it into the finals! It takes under a minute to cast a vote for our team today!

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Submitted by the WSU Up to PharmD team

This past semester, a team of Wayne State University student pharmacists joined the Up to Us Competition to spread awareness about the national debt and how responsible legislation can address this issue. From classroom presentations, events on and off campus, social media advocacy posts, and partnerships with college and community organizations, the WSU Up to PharmD team culminated their educational campaign this month with an impressive string of initiatives.

“The Up to Us Competition is a national leadership development program that aims to increase the public's awareness and understanding of the United States' fiscal and economic challenges. Our team proudly took action this semester to ensure a strong future by addressing our nation’s fiscal challenges,” said Up to PharmD team member Evan Johnson. “Whether you’re passionate about health care, higher education, clean energy technology, or national defense, each American has a vested interest in making sure we get our fiscal policy on a sustainable path.”

As one of the Wayne State team’s "Days of Action" for the Up to Us Competition, they partnered with APIA-Vote MI to hold a Democracy Town Hall to discuss the importance of civic engagement and reaching out to legislators, and how these actions can advocate for responsible policymaking. Local and state officials were in attendance to talk about the importance of getting out to vote and to encourage today’s generation to play a participative role in the democratic process.

A collage of photos from the Democracy Town Hall
Clockwise from top left: Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, Senator Stephanie Chang, Up to Us team leader Joseph Paul Javier, Macomb County Commissioner Mai Xiong, Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist II with PharmD student Johnie L. Bailey, and APIA-Vote MI Executive Director Rebeka Islam and Representative Padma Kuppa.

Joseph Paul Javier, Up to PharmD team leader and co-chair for the Michigan Democratic Party Asian Pacific American Caucus,  and his WSU teammates communicated their campaign’s key messages while video presentations on local fiscal issues played during the town hall event.

“As future pharmacists, we related our campaign messaging to health care issues that are important to medical professionals and patients,” said Javier. “While making sure to educate our colleagues on the basics of the national debt, our team wanted to zoom in on how health care impacts government spending and how responsible policymaking can make a difference in our country’s health care outcomes. Whether it’s reproductive health on the ballot, supporting pharmacy organizations like the MPA and their legislative priorities, or communicating with legislators to promote policies that will make a difference, we want to promote a healthy economy and legislation to protect the health of our citizens.”

More photos from the Democracy Town Hall
Left to right: John Purdie and Evan Johnson discuss the power of policymaking and MPA’s legislative priorities, Obioma Opara presents on the $31T national debt and advocates for a sustainable fiscal future.

“One of the primary drivers of America’s long-term fiscal challenges is our inefficient healthcare system. Combined with the demographic realities of an aging population, America’s health care system leaves us with an unsustainable fiscal future,” added Up to PharmD team member Obioma Opara. “Not only will more Americans qualify for federal health care programs like Medicare in the coming years, but older people, on average, need more health care. Consequently, without reform, the federal budget will bear the cost of rapidly growing health care bills.”

As the final push for the WSU Up to PharmD team, they worked with Wayne State PharmD alumnus and previous Up to Us participant Dr. Fadi Manuel to create a podcast episode supporting their campaign. Dr. Manuel is currently an AESARA HEOR/Market Access Fellow and hosts their Change Before Change Podcast. Given the Up to Us focus on government spending and responsible legislation, Dr. Manuel’s podcast is a timely discussion with Chad Patel and Phoenix Riley about the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and its potential impact on the health care and pharmaceutical industries. 

Listen to the podcast episode here: https://rb.gy/cn7s9m

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