Creating Social Change Medical Whistleblower

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An essay on creating social change through the whistleblowing experience.

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Creating Social Change Medical Whistleblower

  1. 1. Creating Social Change Elements of a Model for Social Change: This model allows us to identify which elements are already being fulfilled in our advocacy as Medical Whistleblowers , and identify gaps on which to concentrate resources. The seven elements are - 1. Knowledge 2. Desire 3. Skills 4. Optimism 5. Facilitation 6. Stimulation 7. Reinforcement 1. Knowledge/awareness: The most obvious first step is that people must:  Know there is a problem;  Know there is a practical, viable solution or alternative. This is important. People are practical - they will always demand clear, simple, feasible road maps before they start a journey to a strange place.  Identify the personal costs of inaction and the benefits of action in concrete terms people can relate to (i.e. they 'own' the problem).
  2. 2. An awareness campaign aims to harness people's judgment. 2. Desire - imagining yourself in a different future Change involves imagination. People need to be able to visualize a different, desirable, future for themselves. This is different to being able to recognize rational benefits. Desire is an emotion, not a kind of knowledge. Advertising agencies understand this well - they stimulate raw emotions like lust, fear, envy and greed in order to create desire. However, desire can also be created by evoking a future life which is more satisfying, healthy, attractive and safe. To design a campaign that harnesses our stakeholder’s imaginations, we will have to start by liberating our own. 3. Skills - knowing what to do Being able to easily visualize the steps required to reach the goal. This is not about emotion - it is purely rational. People learn skills best by seeing someone else do them. The best way to do this is to break the actions down into simple steps and use illustrations to make visualization easy. It's amazing how many campaigns for social change forget this element.
  3. 3. We, as Medical Whistleblowers, need to have those who have gained particular skills mentor others in what they have learned. Each of us has a unique personal history complete with a set of transferable skills. 4. Optimism (or confidence) The belief that success is probable or inevitable. The repeated losses of legal case appeals in the lower courts and also the Supreme Court, as well as lack of consistent support from the US Legislature, concurrent with lack of enforcement by the DOJ of criminal intimidation and civil rights violations, has left our Medical Whistleblower disheartened. Often I send words of encouragement to just let them know that somebody cares and to keep their spirits up. True successes are few and far between, so we need to create our own successes. Strong political or community leadership is probably an important ingredient of optimism. 5. Facilitation - having outside support Most people are busy with limited resources and few choices. They may need accessible services, infrastructure and support networks that overcome practical obstacles to carrying out the action. There are real and significant obstacles facing our Medical Whistleblowers, such as financial insecurity, employment blacklisting, emotional trauma and alienation from their professional and personal comrades, loss of
  4. 4. support from their religious faith community, loss of support from family and friends, and the need to retool in a totally different professional field. If personal behavior change is blocked by real-world obstacles, then all the communications on earth will be ineffective. The role of an education strategy might therefore need to be expanded to involve the establishment of new services and infrastructure. I believe that this is an area where a small cash grant would be essential. For example, money to provide monthly webinar services which would allow a flexible schedule with real time personal contact with Medical Whistleblowers from all over the USA and potentially the world. Also a website interface (perhaps provided by a collaboration with another NGO) could be helpful which would rapidly allow our Medical Whistleblowers to express their views to the press, the State and Federal Legislature and to administrative governing bodies. We also need to empower our Medical Whistleblowers by giving them back their own self esteem through creative opportunities in employment, successful partnerships with law enforcement, and entrepreneurial enterprises to increase financial security.
  5. 5. 6. Stimulation - having a kick-start When faced with retaliation we tend to pull back into areas where we feel secure. So in the immediate throes of Medical Whistleblower retaliation trauma we often withdraw rather than move forward to assert ourselves. This is a natural consequence of what we have experienced and so in order to truly use the human potential of this talented group of people we must overcome a level of inertia and maybe even fear. There are two ways to compel people to act, either by threat (either personal or direct) or by inspiring them. Medical Whistleblowers are already motivated by direct and personal threats on their professional and personal lives, so this is a strong motivating force for them. But we must also endeavor to raise the inspiration consciousness of our Medical Whistleblowers. The inspirational happens in a collective context - based on our human social instincts. So the stimulation to compel our Medical Whistleblowers to take action and get involved could be an imminent threat (like the loss of a job, loss of their home, threat to their medical license, concern for patient abuse), a special offer or competition, or, better still, some communally inspirational shared event which galvanizes action (e.g. a telethon, a rally, a public meeting, a festival). 7. Feedback and reinforcement We are all bombarded with a host of voices, situations and institutions daily wishing to compel us to act, we tend to ignore many of these
  6. 6. messages. So effectively advocating for social change is about continuous recruitment and reinforcement of messages - with regular communications which report back to people on the success of their efforts and the next steps which are expected of them. Many NGOs (ACLU, Amnesty International, Sierra Club, Public Citizen) have learnt this lesson and devote considerable resources to continuously feeding success stories and updates to their contributors, as well as new calls for support and action. Thus we need a much more robust system to report back to our Medical Whistleblower shareholders in a meaningful and timely way. The importance of empowerment Empowerment is the feeling of confidence that you can be a cause of genuine change. In practice, it's an elusive mixture of many ingredients - like skills, optimism, leadership, belief and experience. Empowerment can be built in a social advocacy campaign by maintaining a close association with the Medical Whistleblowers and Patient Advocates and the other stakeholders in the community. Listening carefully to their needs and responding to their requests. It is also important to give them a sense of ownership and ability to direct the efforts of the Medical Whistleblower leadership.
  7. 7. However empowerment is surprisingly fragile. It can easily be destroyed by dishonesty or mixed motives. We in the Medical Whistleblower group have experienced this first hand with the hostilities that erupted within the Semmelweis Society International this year and the drawn out lawsuit for control of the SSI financial assets, name, and website. Karma Not many advocates for social change suffer from hubris because they know their task is tough and there are few unequivocal success stories out there. That's because real social change is not made by advocates. It's made by history. Sustained social change is made by our natural responses to the inspired communication of our social leaders, the will of the people that leads to great historical events and circumstances. It's impossible to fabricate the inspirational factor of a Dalai Lama, a Mahatma Gandhi, a Martin Luther King, or a Desmond Tutu. Those who wish to create meaningful social change need to be alert to, and go with the social flow. Engineers and managers, however, often
  8. 8. don't appreciate this. They expect that they can engineer change - but the truth is they can only influence changes which are already occurring. It is much easier to direct the flow of change than it is to get the ball rolling. Educators therefore need to be alert, flexible and opportunistic for ways to connect their campaign to social shifts and movements as they occur. Conclusion In conclusion, my message is that we need an education strategy for Medical Whistleblower that actually works, as opposed to one that looks good on paper. This educational plan is likely to involve a lot more than just communication techniques. We need look forward and to think of the long term goals and ensure that necessary resources are available to repeat and reinforce our messages. If we really want to affect social change in how Medical Whistleblowers are treated and how their allegations of Medial Fraud, Patient Abuse and Neglect and Human Rights Violations are addressed, we must do more than awareness communication. We must determine what concrete changes in policy and protocol are necessary, but also what changes in attitudes and beliefs. We must help people visualize new futures by creating for them the context in which that new destiny can be framed. But we also need to be mindful of the bricks and mortar
  9. 9. necessary for that new construction of protocols and actions. We need to work with partners from other disciples, those with different skills than we have as medical professionals. We will need legislators to help change laws. We will need health and human services managers and administrators to help implement the laws. We will need law enforcement officials and officers to enforce the laws. We will need politicians and diplomats to provide leadership and build bridges of communication between diverse groups. We need more than medical professionals who have suffered Bad Faith Peer Review and want to right the wrongs done to them in their own lives. I wish in this first National Medical Whistleblower Conference to create a sense of a special inspirational event, an event which will provide us with the opportunity to have meaningful face to face discussion of our goals for social change. Sincerely, Janette Dr. Janet Parker, DVM, Executive Director, Medical Whistleblower P.O. Box C, Lawrence, KS 66044 MedicalWhistleblower@gmail.com

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