Did you know that clinicians can and should play a crucial role in empowering patient civic engagement? The medically underserved are among the least likely to vote, and it is always important for us to encourage our patients to civically engage. Studies show that a prime motivator for nonvoters is education and encouragement by trusted contacts and among the most trusted are health care providers. Because of this, clinicians have a unique opportunity to encourage patients to vote safely even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Join the Association of Clinicians for the Underserved and our partners in bringing attention to healthcare institutions and providers’ ability to help their patients get ready to vote. Not sure where to begin? Get started by viewing our two archived webinars to help you become a catalyst for increasing patients’ voter participation through legal, nonpartisan civic engagement activities:

Patient Civic Engagement Webinars

A Role for Providers in Promoting Voting and Census Participation Among the Underserved

The medically underserved are among the least likely to vote or respond to the Census, but clinicians have a unique opportunity to promote civic participation by their patients. This is especially true in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Studies show that a prime motivator for nonvoters is education and encouragement by trusted contacts and among the most trusted are health care providers. This webinar will outline ways that clinicians and their organizations can be catalysts for a dramatic increase in voter participation through legal, permissible, nonpartisan civic engagement activities: voter education, get-out-the-vote (GOTV), and census participation.

Using the Healthy Democracy Kit to Empower Your Patients, Colleagues, and Staff

With VotER

In partnership with VotER, ACU highlighted their new service to empower patients to vote safely in upcoming elections: the Healthy Democracy Kit. To help create a better healthcare system by empowering those most hurt by the system to vote, VotER has created this new kit featuring badgebackers and lanyards that allows patients to easily use their own phone to register to vote or request a mail-in ballot to vote from home. Learn more about how this kit walks patients through either process in 90 seconds or less while providers go on to see their next clients.

Why Providers Should Encourage Patients' Civic Engagement

Shareable Infographics

Click on the image to the left to download our new “Why Providers Should Encourage Patients’ Civic Engagement” infographic. This image is free for dissemination on social media or newsletters, and we encourage you to link from it to our civic engagement resources. 

Relevant Articles

  • Kelly, Amanda P., & Wetherhorn, Marc. 2020. “Civic Engagement for the Underserved—A Clinician Imperative.” Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved 31(4): viii-x. “If there is a true commitment to addressing the social determinants of health, there must be an equal commitment to educating and engaging staff and patients on ways to fulfill their civic responsibilities.”
  • Kelly, Grace; Pennington, Jordan; Segev, Yonatan, Henize, Adrienne; Kahn, Robert S., & Beck, Andrew F. 2021. “Voter Participation is Associated with Child Health Outcomes at the Population Level.” The Journal of Pediatrics 235: 277-280. “For every 10% increase in voter participation, there is an approximately 10% reduction in the number of days children spend hospitalized. A 10% reduction of bed-days during the 5-year study period would have equated to >20,000 fewer days children from our county spent in the hospital.”

Further Resources

Find more patient civic engagement and voter registration resources—including the Healthy Democracy Kit—at VotER, one of the ACU’s key civic engagement partners. Other organizations such as the League of Women Voters and Vote 411 can further assist your efforts. Have questions or need assistance? Please contact Amanda Pears Kelly.

With these resources, you can get started by asking your patients and community if they are registered to vote and have a plan to vote safely. And remember: sometimes simply “asking the question” of whether they are or would like to register to vote—and if they plan to do so—can provide an entry point to their civic engagement. You can also go further by joining us as an advocate for health equity!

Remember: all civic engagement activities done at/by a 501c3 non-profit, as well as by its staff and representatives, must be entirely non-partisan and cannot advise patients on or endorse electoral candidates.