Let me recommend to you that you consider spending a bit of your own money in the way that I just spent $100.
I received an e-mail from Richard Bruno, med student, Class of 2013, Oregon Health & Science University. He responded to my recent published commentary on the AAFP-Coca-Cola controversy and added that he was a member of a group of students, representing a number of medical schools, that are planning an action at this weekend's meeting of students and residents interested in Family Medicine at the AAFP headquarters in Kansas City. He asked me to donate $100: "Specifically we want to set up a table, pass around a petition, have buttons and stickers, and have people sign postcards that we will send to the AAFP board of directors. We are very passionate about ending this conflict of interest and exploring healthier partnerships for the sake of our members and our future patients....$100 could provide us with 300 postcards, 100 buttons, and 100 stickers to pass out at events and at a table."
When I replied to indicate my interest, he informed me of two ways to get him the money: 1) send a check to Richard Bruno, 2164 NW Aspen Ave, Portland, OR 97210; or 2) send the money via PayPal to email@example.com.
Now, I am an old-fashioned skinflint, and generally parting with a hundred bucks would not leave me in a good mood. So why am I so upbeat about this particular expenditure? First, I am quite impressed (as readers of this blog know) at the immense power that med students have exerted in the conflict-of-interest debate generally, as evidenced most impressively by the AMSA Pharm-Free campaign and their brilliant PR ploy of "report cards" giving med schools failing grades if they allowed too much coziness with the drug industry. I can testify as to how much stock AAFP puts in the student/resident contingent, as that is the entire future of our specialty, so these folks can get the attention of the AAFP leadership in a way that old fogeys like me never could. Finally there is the donation multiplier effect of the fact that med students work incredibly cheap. A dollar donated to a student group goes a long way farther than a dollar donated to a group of, well, people like me.
So go get 'em, Richard and friends, and let this blog hear from you how the meeting goes in Kansas City!