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Avanti Bergquist, MD

Representative, Renton School District, Washington (2017- )

Biographical Info (hometown, experience, specialty):
Child and adolescent psychiatrist practicing in Bellevue, WA

Which Program (Campaign School/Candidate Workshop) did you attend? 2012 Campaign School

Have you run for public office? What was the result?
A long-serving director on my local school board unfortunately passed away in 2017, and I was appointed to his seat in July 2017, then subsequently was elected to this position in November 2017.

Have the programs helped in your political careers? How?
My husband, Steve Bergquist, and I both attended the AMPAC Campaign School in 2012. He was planning a run for an open seat in the Washington State House of Representatives. He was elected that year, thanks in large part to the education we gained at Campaign School. After he was elected, I began to see how playing a role in policy-making creates important change in the system, and particularly that I could help create positive change for mental health and children’s mental health. This led to me getting more and more involved in state, federal, and local mental health advocacy. It naturally followed that I developed strong credentials and a path to be elected myself. Steve and I even wrote an article about this in the journal JAACAP Connect: https://els-jbs-prod-cdn.literatumonline.com/pb/assets/raw/Health%20Advance/journals/jaac/connect6_1-1565792913290.pdf.

Have the programs helped in your medical/advocacy careers? How?
As above! The program started out my advocacy career and it has only grown from there!

What was the most important thing you learned from AMPAC programs?
Preparation, preparation, preparation. It was also incredibly helpful to do the hands on activities in the program, to prepare us both for campaigning, such as giving speeches and asking for support.

What would you say to members of the medical community thinking about becoming involved in politics?
Do it! It is never too early or too late to get involved in policy-making. I’m always happy to help others, and I’m sure there are people in your community who would be willing to help, so reach out and ask! Every little bit makes a difference!