Glen McClane at the University of Cincinnati College of Law

Legal Advocate. Healthcare Warrior.

Empowering physicians and patients to advocate for change.

It’s an interesting time for healthcare, Glen McClain (JD ‘22, MD ‘25) recently put it. As a student on track to earn dual JD and MD degrees, Glen took the bar exam this February and will return to UC College of Medicine this coming fall to complete his final two years of medical school. 

Being the only JD/MD currently at the university and one of a handful among his colleagues at the American Medical Association (AMA), Glen is a rarity, and uniquely poised to make a difference. 

Since starting medical school and throughout his time as a law student, Glen has engaged in advocacy work regarding abortion care and other patient-specific issues through both the AMA, the largest medical organization and physician lobbying group in the country, and the Ohio State Medical Association (OSMA). Within these organizations, he helps advance policies and resolutions that aspire to disentangle physicians from regulations that make it more difficult to stay focused on helping the patient.  

“As physicians and patients, we deal with the effects of these policies every day, but a lot of us are totally unaware that there are ways we can advocate to change them. The status quo is not the way it always has to be,” he said. “If we want to make healthcare better for patients and decrease physician burnout, we need people to be empowered.”  

Glen describes his upbringing in Springfield, Illinois as “ordinary.” Growing up with three sisters on a cul-de-sac in the Midwest, it wasn’t until undergrad that his eyes were more fully opened to the larger, seemingly intractable societal issues across the globe. As a pre-med student at Notre Dame, he learned about social determinants of health, or non-medical factors (such as economic stability and healthcare access) that influence health outcomes. Taught through the lens of Catholic social justice teachings, this new awareness brought on a desire to disrupt the status-quo.  

Glen McClain (JD ‘22, MD ‘25)

It was then that he began to wonder about a career in law.  

“A lot of these larger health issues would require a technical understanding of government regulations and policies that affect people on a systemic level,” he said. “I wanted to find ways to improve health policy and work within marginalized populations, and I thought having a law background would be a useful way to possibly address these issues.” 

Glen went on to enroll in his number one choice for medical school, UC College of Medicine, after undergrad. But the thought of law school lingered. Whether it was the social medicine class he took his first year, or the AMA resolution he worked on, opposing educational gynecological exams on nonconsenting and unconscious patients during surgery, the thought finally won him over.  

Around the time he began to prepare for his Step 1 Medical Licensing Exam, Glen took the LSAT. Shortly thereafter he took leave from medical school and enrolled at UC Law–a decision he has not regretted since.  

“Having the legal education has really helped me in my medical advocacy work,” Glen said. “It’s been helpful in pushing policies forward, especially when not all the physicians or medical students understand the total complexity of the policy.” 

“What I like about the College of Law is that they really hammer on developing your legal skills outside of the classroom. If I hadn't had these real-world experiences, I would have a lot less transferable skills."

Glen McClain

Since the start of law school, Glen has been part of leading two major wins in healthcare policy.  

The first win was the passing of “Policy 15 - 2022 Opposing the Criminalization of Self-Managed Medication Abortion” for the OSMA in April last year, just months before the Dobbs decision came out. This policy opposes any statutory or regulatory attempt to interfere with self-managed medication abortion, which is currently considered part of the standard of care. This policy, while not approved at the state or federal level, will serve to guide the medical association's lobbying efforts at the state legislature for years to come. Looking back, Glen can hardly believe they were able to get it passed before the overturning of Roe v. Wade.  

“It is quite a big deal. The OSMA traditionally had not taken a stance one way or the other on abortion,” he said. “Now that healthcare and abortion rights are being put on the states, it's important that these state medical associations have strong stances.” 

The second major health law effort Glen worked on was in his role as the delegation chair for Region Five of the AMA Medical Student Section, representing students from Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, West Virginia, and Kentucky at the AMA House of Delegates. There, he helped  students and residents bring forth two resolutions: one, declaring abortion care as healthcare and two, declaring healthcare as human right. To his surprise, the resolutions passed with hardly any opposition.   

“It was exciting. Physicians organized behind a unified voice that abortion is a human right. For a traditionally conservative organization to take such a radical stance on abortion, it really felt like we can actually make a difference,” he said. “Physicians and patients should not be criminalized for trying to access care that every major medical association in the country believes to be good quality care that is medically necessary for a lot of people.” 

“It has certainly influenced states and other organizations since,” he added. 

"I know that advocacy work is not something that ends once I get my law degree or my medical degree . . . I'm going to have to keep working on these issues for the rest of my life."

- Glen McClain -

Glen McClain (JD ‘22, MD ‘25)

Completing his JD six months earlier than the typical law student, Glen did not waste time or opportunity in law school. Along with his medical advocacy work through the AMA, OSMA, and the Pride Group at UC Med School, Glen fulfilled law school externships and internships at Kroger Health, TriHealth, and Latham BioPharm Group, where he worked on an 8-billion-dollar federal contract for their client, Moderna. 

“What I like about the College of Law is that they really hammer on developing your legal skills outside of the classroom. If I hadn't had these real-world experiences, I would have a lot less transferable skills,” he said. “And the professors who teach health [and public health] law here are world class. Having gained this legal knowledge will be a huge advantage.”  

With this advantage, Glen hopes to empower physicians and patients alike by helping them understand ways they can advocate on the federal and state level for change. First, by bringing their actual experiences to the table when regulations are being discussed, and second, through patient education. 

“One of my goals is to be that intersection between medicine and law,” he said. “Physicians need to be at the table having conversations with the people making these [regulatory] decisions. And there needs to be more patient education, there’s a lot of misinformation out there.” 

With a law degree under his belt and two more years of medical school to go, Glen is in it for the long haul. What keeps him motivated is being part of these broader changes, and the knowledge that these issues will continue to need his distinctive skill set throughout his lifetime. 

“I know that advocacy work is not something that ends once I get my law degree or my medical degree,” he said. “There's always something new to tackle, and I think that's what keeps me going through all of this. I'm going to have to keep working on these issues for the rest of my life.”  

Glen McClain

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Author: Katie Bachmeyer

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