|Hill Day 2009 participant Craig Belon poses with Francis Collins, whom he met in April at the American Physician Scientist Association meeting.
What are you doing now?
I am an M.D./Ph.D. student at New York Medical College. I defended my thesis in June and have returned to medical school. I completed my psychiatry rotation and currently am doing my OB/GYN rotation at Westchester Medical Center.
What is your impression of your Hill Day experience one year later?
Participating in Hill Day was a valuable and unique experience that gave me wonderful insight into the political process. Several of the faculty at my college recognized me from the article in ASBMB Today and asked me about my experiences, giving me an opportunity to discuss policy and science funding with people with whom I otherwise never would have addressed the subject.
What has your participation in Hill Day inspired you to do in terms of advocacy?
I am a member of our school's “No Free Lunch” advocacy group, which aims to end pharmaceutical industry sponsorship of medical school activities. Unfortunately, with the pressures of finishing my dissertation and beginning clinical rotations, I've been less of an advocate lately than I’d like!
What would your advice be to future Hill Day participants?
Science in this country, particularly life science, largely is funded by the U.S. federal government. As a Hill Day participant, you are in a unique position to speak directly to policy makers and show them that the taxpayers’ money is going to a good place and is being used for a good cause. It is especially important that young scientists participate in Hill Day because we are the future of science in this country, and politicians very much listen to and respect our unique perspectives and accomplishments.
See what Craig said before Hill Day 2009.
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