INMD 7019

Health Policy and Advocacy Elective


Juliana Milhofer, JD
Course Director/Coordinator

Curriculum Focus
Clinical Level
MS Year
Terms Offered

Completion of all MS3 core clerkships


Catalog description:  The four week course will be offered as an elective for fourth year medical students during the Minnesota legislative session. Students will be able to participate in the legislative process, engage with community stakeholders, and interact with MMA staff via remote communications. This course will offer students a hands-on opportunity to learn more about health policy and advocacy, and how the Minnesota Medical Association (MMA) functions as a unified voice of physicians for advancing the practice of medicine, the profession and patient health.

This course will provide medical students with experience in the following areas:

  • Physician involvement in health policy
  • Legislative process and state/regulatory policy development
  • Role of the courts and federal policy development
  • Grassroots advocacy

Health policy is a topic medical students are increasingly passionate about. Exposure to the various components of health policy is needed in order to fully understand how health policy affects physicians and their patients.  To accomplish this goal, students will write and present a health policy issue brief/research memo to MMA staff, engage with policy makers and community stakeholders, gain an understanding of the various advocacy tools available, and at the end of the rotation, students will complete a reflection piece on what they have learned about the health policy process.


Site Code

Site Name



Unspecified Site for Academic/Research Purposes

Primary site will likely be the MMA office space; this should be finalized by fall 2022. 

Required session attendance: Day 1 9am Introduction and Orientation at which point remaining required session attendances will be determined

Typical weekly schedule/Delivery mode:  8-4, M-F

Direct patient care:  No

Consent requirement: Open to student scheduling

Course objectives:  

In the area of Oral Communication, students will be able to:

  • communicate to policymakers, regulators, etc. on how proposed legislation/health policy proposals will affect physicians and their patients.
  • concisely relay the power of patient stories as they relate to potential legislation/ health policy proposals.
  • present an issue brief/research memo they have prepared which focuses on an assigned health policy topic/ issue at an MMA advocacy meeting.

In the area of Written Communication, students will be able to:

  • develop background research for a particular health policy topic.
  • prepare an issue brief/research memo that focuses on an assigned health policy topic/issue, and present this to MMA staff during an MMA advocacy meeting.

In the area of Health Policy Development Process, students will be able to:

  • gain an understanding of the various advocacy tools available (i.e., letters to the editor, social media, messaging, etc.)
  • develop background research relevant to a specific health policy topic/issue.
  • navigate the health policy process by spending time with MMA advocacy staff and other partners in settings that will include (but not be limited to), the following:
    • Legislature
    • State and regulatory agencies
    • Courts
    • Community partners

At the end of the four week rotation draft a reflection piece that demonstrates what the student learned about health policy, advocacy, and the power of the physician’s voice, via their various interactions in these health policy spaces.

Graded components: Students will be graded on a pass/fail basis through weekly evaluations on MyProgress given by a designated staff member at the MMA. Additionally, students will be required to submit outcomes from the three course objectives by the end of the four weeks which will also be graded on a pass/fail basis.

Grading scale:  P/N


Allow repetition of course: Repetition not allowed

Limited to Student Type:  N/A

Course equivalency:  N/A

Related curricular experience: N/A

Secure exam:

Course evaluation: MedHub