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All Politics is Local

Chicago Medical Society’s Key Contacts Program

THE CHICAGO MEDICAL Society’s effectiveness in the legislative arena depends on members who are fully engaged, who advocate with their societies on key issues.

So vital is member participation that CMS is launching a “Key Contacts” program to encourage and train physicians to form personal connections with their local elected representatives.

As a Key Contact, members learn to cultivate meaningful relationships with lawmakers or someone running for elected office. Those who know a legislator, either personally or professionally, are encouraged to build on their connection. CMS will mentor Key Contacts who request support or guidance on building such relationships.

Specific duties of a Key Contact include periodically communicating information and conveying CMS’ views on specific legislation or other advocacy activities, as well as CMS events and goals. Key Contacts also may interact with legislative staff and report on their efforts to their Districts and CMS leadership. The two-way information exchange keeps Key Contacts up to date on issues within their communities.

Physicians can get acquainted with an official by supporting a campaign, or by involving themselves in a campaign. Hosting a fundraiser in one’s home for the candidate or elected individual is a prime example.

Key Contacts may access legislators through less formal routes. Elected officials often live in the same community as a Key Contact, frequent the same clubs, civic organizations, or religious institutions, have children in the same school, share some type of family relationship; be alumni of the same school or university; or have received the CMS member’s personal support for their election to office.

Whatever the relationship, access creates an opportunity for more effective communication. And the greater our access, the more opportunities we have to influence health care policy. Our organizations’ ability to shape health care delivery depends on a cadre of Key Contacts.

CMS encourages members to sign up for the Key Contact program. To learn more, please contact Christine Fouts at 312-670-2550, ext. 326; or email

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