An emergency room doctor in Boston is assembling thousands of voter registration kits for distribution at hospitals and doctor’s offices. Later this month, students at Harvard and Yale´s medical schools are planning a contest to see which of the Ivy League rivals can register the most voters. And a medical student in Rhode Island has launched an effort to get emergency ballots into the hands of patients who find themselves unexpectedly in the hospital around Election Day.Amid the dual public health crises of COVID-19 and racism, some in the medical community are prescribing a somewhat nontraditional remedy: voting. Hospitals, doctors and healthcare institutions across the country this month are committing to efforts to engage Americans in the election process as part of Civic Health Month, a nationwide campaign that kicked off Aug. 1.Hospital networks in Arizona, Kansas, Missouri, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Wisconsin and elsewhere are among more than 60 institutions participating, along with thousands of individual physicians. Benjamin Ruxin, a Stanford University graduate student who heads the campaign, said the coronavirus pandemic underscores the importance of ensuring everyone can vote and help shape healthcare policy for the challenging times ahead. Voter registration rates are down almost 70% in some states this election cycle because the traditional ways of registering voters have been curtailed by the pandemic, including DMVs and in-person registration drives, he said.Alister Martin, an emergency room doctor at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, said he founded VotER to provide medical professionals voter registration resources after years of seeing patients struggling from the health consequences of poverty, drug addiction, homelessness and other social ills. “We´ve been trained to solve these really complex health problems, but not everything we see can be treated with a prescription,” he said. “The healthcare system does not work for vulnerable people – full stop. We have to help them get involved in the political process if we hope to change any of this.” The sheer number of organizations and the range of efforts being proposed during the monthlong campaign shows that the medical community is increasingly shedding its reticence at civic engagement, said Kelly Wong, a medical student at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.