‘Advocating Even If Your Voice Shakes’ | Advocacy at PCOM
Skip to main content

‘Advocating Even If Your Voice Shakes’ 
Second Year Clinical Psychology Student Discusses Passion for Supporting Others

April 20, 2023

Sarah Fox (PsyD ’26) headshotWhen Sarah Fox (she/her, PsyD ’26) had the opportunity last year to share her passion project to a room full of peers at Advocacy Day, she had no idea it would transform her life. Her project, titled “Gender-Affirming Care: How to Help Medical Providers Best Support Queer & Trans Communities,” detailed tangible ways for medical providers to more successfully treat LGBTQIA+ patients. Anti-trans care legislation has been prioritized by state legislatures across the country in recent years. As of February 2023, The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) noted more than 300 anti-LGBTQIA+ bills across the country. Ninety of those bills specifically prevent trans youth from accessing age-appropriate, medically-necessary, best-practice health care. Understanding the gravity of such policies, Fox felt that everyone left the event having learned something new and feeling the power of advocacy—herself included.

Sarah Fox leads a group discussion during Advocacy DaySince presenting, Fox has worked to create more opportunities for students to engage in discourse through outreach and events. “I’ve really found a passion for advocacy coming out of Advocacy Day last year,” she said. The annual event, hosted by Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine’s (PCOM) School of Professional and Applied Psychology’s Department of Clinical Psychology, focuses on interprofessional education (IPE). “We want students to enjoy learning and advocating,” shared Ashley Poole, PsyD ’20, assistant professor, clinical psychology. “It’s not intended to be super formal. The discussions are really to facilitate dialogue.” Calling the event “informative, exciting, and memorable,” Poole expressed her pride in seeing students come together in community again this year during the event on Friday, April 14. “I appreciate the infusion of advocacy because although it may not be required, it’s something that we prioritize and instill in our students. Seeing it come to fruition is exciting.”

Fox’s own Advocacy Day experience came full circle at the event, where this year she worked as a facilitator. Leading two group discussions, she focused on fostering an open, honest, and non-judgmental environment for students to reflect on the various projects shared. For Fox, this experience, accompanied with an event she coordinated earlier this month, is a demonstration of her commitment to helping people.

Group of students and faculty at Advocacy DayFox worked with Family Medicine at PCOM physician LeeAnn Tanaka, DO ’14, Alexa Bonacqusiti, PhD, PMH-C, department of Clinical Psychology, as well as seven interdisciplinary PCOM student organizations* to host an event in recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. With the assistance of AccessMatters staff members Sasha Faust, trainer and sexual health educator, and Shannon Criniti, PhD, MPH, vice president of strategic initiatives, the event centered around trauma-informed care and gender-inclusive care.

It has been in moments like these where Fox realizes her true calling—supporting others. “I always end up going back to the importance of speaking up and advocating, even if your voice shakes. That’s one place I feel I’ve been in quite a bit, but we will continue to advocate, whether it’s for ourselves, our field, or our patients throughout our entire careers and the rest of our lives.”

*The April awareness event was co-hosted by PCOM’s American Medical Women's Association (AMWA), PCOM Pride, Gender Care & Sexual Health (GCSH) Collective, Primary Care Progress Club, Family Medicine Club, Student Government Association (SGA) Wellness, and Psychology Council, supported by the PCOM Equity & Title IX team, and co-sponsored by the Office of Diversity and Community Relations.

You May Also Like:

  • Balancing Act: Integrating AI as a DO
  • ‘When Life Isn’t in Your Hands, You End Up Appreciating It More’
  • Annual DEI Awards Celebrate Faculty, Staff Contributions
  • About Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

    Founded in 1899, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) has trained thousands of highly competent, caring physicians, health practitioners and behavioral scientists who practice a “whole person” approach to care—treating people, not just symptoms. PCOM operates three campuses (PCOM, PCOM Georgia and PCOM South Georgia) and offers doctoral degrees in clinical psychology, educational psychology, osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, physical therapy and school psychology, and graduate degrees in applied behavior analysis, applied positive psychology, biomedical sciences, forensic medicine, medical laboratory science, mental health counseling, non profit leadership and population health management, organizational development and leadership, physician assistant studies, school psychology, and public health management and administration. PCOM students learn the importance of health promotion, research, education and service to the community. Through its community-based Healthcare Centers, PCOM provides care to medically underserved populations. For more information, visit pcom.edu or call 215-871-6100.

    For more information, contact:
    Liandra Larsen
    Public Relations Manager
    Email: liandrala@pcom.edu
    Office: 215-871-6325 | Cell: 267-964-0199

    Connect with PCOM