Newswise — Due to his longstanding work advocating on behalf of electrodiagnostic (EDX) medicine, AANEM has selected Raghav Govindarajan, MD, as the recipient of the 2018 AANEM Advocacy Award.
Upon receiving this news, Dr. Govindarajan said, “This is the highlight of my career. I would like to thank the AANEM, its board, staff, and members for bestowing me this honor.”
Dr. Govindarajan explained that he began advocating for EDX medicine as a resident.
“Advocacy is essential to maintaining the value and utility of EDX for the present as well as for future generations, so that our patients get the best care possible,” he noted. “EDX is a powerful tool, and in the right hands, can make a big difference. But EDX can be detrimental to patients when done and interpreted poorly. It is up to us to maintain standards in our analysis and reporting and actively identify and report bad apples who are hurting EDX medicine and more importantly harming patients.”
Dr. Govindarajan sees advocacy as a continuum.
“It involves teaching and exposing learners to the fascinating world of EDX medicine, providing quality EDX care to patients, serving as a resource to referral providers, advocating at a grassroots level, and finally, advocating nationally.”
One of Dr. Govindarajan’s advocacy projects has involved working with private insurers to help curb the spread of mobile EDX labs in Missouri.
“Working with private insurers has been a steep learning curve. It is very slow and frustrating with dead ends in many cases. However, persistence is the key. If you show up enough times, are pleasant, and have resources that can help them save money, they will eventually come around and listen. Missouri is the SHOW-ME state and I was eventually able to show the private payers the waste and, more importantly, the harm mobile labs were causing through various examples of studies I had collected.”
As a member of AANEM’s State Liaison Committee, Dr. Govindarajan has actively participated in AANEM’s “Day on Capitol Hill” for the last 4 years.
“AANEM Hill Day is one of the highlights of my AANEM membership. It was intimidating at first to go to Congress to advocate about EDX medicine, but with experience, it has become easy, satisfying and even fun,” he said. “Just a few years ago, the staff in Congress was not even aware of the existence of EDX medicine; now, they are becoming very aware of it and the issues plaguing us. The AANEM staff has done tremendous work and thanks to the work of AANEM’s past presidents like Peter Grant, Vincent Tranchitella, and members like Mohammad Saeed and Ben Warfel, we have made significant headway.”
In addition to his participation in Hill Day, Dr. Govindarajan’s advocacy involvement has included serving as a speaker in the advocacy sessions at recent AANEM Annual Meetings.
“The AANEM annual meeting is the premier neuromuscular event in North America that attracts members from all over the country. I strongly feel that the meeting is the right venue to spread awareness about quality in EDX and highlight the advocacy work being done so members are aware of it and more members participate,” he noted.
“Rag has been fantastic to work with in AANEM’s advocacy efforts. I’ve worked with him on a variety of projects designed to promote quality EDX medicine over the past 4+ years,” said Millie Suk, JD, MPP, AANEM Health Policy Director. “His energy and drive to ensure patients receive only quality EDX care from qualified providers has been inspiring. He is always looking for ways to improve and increase patient access to quality EDX care. I very much look forward to our continued efforts in this regard.”
Dr. Govindarajan completed his residency at the Cleveland Clinic and a neuromuscular fellowship at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. He is an Assistant Professor at the University of Missouri in the Clinical Neurophysiology department. He has been a member of AANEM for the last 5 years and has served on numerous AANEM committees. His past AANEM awards include the Best Abstract Award, the President's Research Initiative Award, and the Residency and Fellowship Member Recognition Award.
Based in Rochester, Minnesota, the American Association of Neuromuscular & Electrodiagnostic Medicine (AANEM) is the premier nonprofit membership association dedicated to the advancement of neuromuscular (NM), musculoskeletal and electrodiagnostic (EDX) medicine. The organization and its members work to improve the quality of patient care and advance the science of NM diseases and EDX medicine by serving physicians and allied health professionals who care for those with muscle and nerve disorders.