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Research Mentor Name

Ijeoma Nnodim Opara, MD

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Research Abstract

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Introduction: Many healthcare policy-related issues were hot topics during this unprecedented election year. Healthcare workers took it upon themselves to play a major role in the election by introducing voting as a topic of discussion within the patient encounter. At Wayne State University School of Medicine (WSUSOM), the Voting is Healthcare (VIH) Taskforce was created in order for students, residents and faculty to assist patients with voter registration. The Taskforce’s major partner was VotER, a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to helping patients register to vote through a user-friendly and easily-accessible online platform.

Methods: The VIH Taskforce distributed badge-backers with QR codes that patients could scan with their phones to learn more information regarding voter registration, polling location, and absentee voting. Codes were utilized in in-patient settings, clinics, and through tele-health encounters. The VIH Taskforce spearheaded a training session for the WSUSOM community where VotER representatives and local community partners across Michigan spoke.

Results: Per VotER records, the VIH Taskforce and WSUSOM community helped 84 patients vote. Of those patients, 34 were previously unregistered and 50 cast absentee ballots.

Conclusions: In order to increase voter turnout, the VIH Taskforce opened up the patient encounter to include the topic of political advocacy. This is an unprecedented accomplishment, but it is a necessary addition to the social history portion of the visit. Future studies aim to make the link between civic engagement and positive health outcomes explicit.


Medicine and Health Sciences | Public Health

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