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donor of the month

Susan Hogeland, CAE is the Family Physicians Political Action Committee’s September Donor of the Month! She is CAFP’s retiring Executive Vice President, a role she has filled for the past 27 years. During her tenure at CAFP, Susan has been involved in pretty much every CAFP political activity. She helped create FP-PAC with the CAFP Board, working with enlightened leaders who shared a vision of family medicine being a significant force in California elections. She is a Key Contact for Senator Feinstein and Speaker Pelosi. She is an annual contributor to both FP-PAC and AAFP’s FamMedPAC. As she notes, “I didn’t just drink the Kool-Aid; I mixed it and served it to others.” We are immensely grateful for her dedication, foresight and her decades of advocacy and ongoing support!




Why do you contribute to FP-PAC?


I’d be a big hypocrite if I didn’t! I started the San Francisco Medical Society (SFMS) PAC way-back-when; when I left, 19 percent of members contributed. CAFP’s FP-PAC hasn’t quite hit that mark, but with so many more members than SFMS, we raise a lot more money to support candidates and elected officials who understand the importance of family medicine and primary care. We’ve come a long way, but it’s time to get to a new level at such a crucial moment in the history of health care.



What would you say to someone who may be hesitant to contribute to a Political Action Committee?


To be blunt, get over yourself. I’m too much of a pragmatist to think PACs aren’t effective. Being effective doesn’t mean being evil or corrupt – you’ve got to get in the door to be heard. Only FP-PAC can participate in legislative elections; CAFP cannot. Our PAC is the way for the large majority of family physicians who don’t have time to get involved in politics to make a big difference – help open the door for FP-PAC and let us do the rest.



Less than five percent of family physicians contribute to FP-PAC. Why should more family physicians contribute?


Please see points one and two above. Those of us most involved in family medicine advocacy pound our heads against the wall trying to understand why a $100 contribution is such a barrier for FPs. I give to a number of PACs because each represents concerns I have in specific areas – women’s reproductive health, the environment, FAMILY MEDICINE. It’s not so hard – just take out your card or checkbook and get it done, please.



Have you ever attended an FP-PAC event or represented FP-PAC at a fundraiser? If so, what did you learn by attending the event?


Oh, goodness. I’ve been to a few, but as I am not a physician, it’s usually as staff making sure physicians meet five people, including the candidate, before they start talking with their friends. You quickly learn that elected officials and candidates are just people. You needn’t be awed or intimidated by them. They are happy to have your expertise as a family physician.



What was one of the earliest advocacy/PAC activities you undertook in medicine?


On behalf of medicine, I’ve been doing advocacy/PAC work since working with the California Medical Association. As their Federal Legislative Analyst, I organized the annual trip to Washington, D.C. and arranged all the meetings and a massive reception for the entire California delegation. At SFMS, we worked at the Board of Supervisors level, proving the old “all politics is local” adage. I actually heard a member of the Board criticize electroshock therapy by saying it made a patient’s brain swell to ten times its normal size….that’s the kind of nonsense physicians must fight. I did have the opportunity to tell that supervisor that your head would explode if that happened!