Swathi Damodaran, MD: 2018-19 Executive Committee Candidate


CIR has made an incredible impact on my hospital. From improving the work-place environment for residents, to supporting projects that enrich direct patient care, to helping residents build skills in leadership, CIR has a tremendous influence on promoting the mission of my hospital and enhancing the training experiences of our interns, residents, and fellows. One of the most exciting CIR experiences I have been a part of was participating in a collective action workshop where residents brainstormed ways we could help our immigrant patients. Being a part of this advocacy work was energizing and reminded me of the larger ways in which we can improve the lives of our patients as physicians.

As a CIR member, I have learned how to be a better advocate and leader both for my patients and for my colleagues. I have learned the steps needed for collective action and come to appreciate more the power of having a unified voice in improving our work.

One area in which I think CIR can improve is reaching a broader array of residency programs. Right now, most CIR hospitals are all along the coasts and we are missing a critical voice by having no representation in the middle of the country. To truly be a national voice for residents, we need to understand the needs of residents working in all areas of the United States.

While the main goal of CIR is to empower our nation’s residents and fellows, I believe that this work is most effectively done at the local level. For me, that means strengthening the Massachusetts CIR hospitals in their ability to organize and advocate for issues affecting the work and training of CIR members as well as improving the healthcare system for our patients. I hope to help our organization grow by supporting the leadership development of CIR members in Massachusetts and by creating a structure of organization for collective action between all of the Massachusetts CIR hospitals that is sustainable beyond the tenure of current CIR members.

CIR must be an active leader in facing attacks on organized labor. The threats we have against us are real and concerning. We should use our collective action power to partner with other unions, including the larger SEIU family, to not only fight against those who want to dismantle unions, but to also remind our country why organized labor is so important to service sectors like ours.