By Mark Hendrickson
A recent survey by two non-partisan groups of Congressional staff adds more urgency to NCPA’s call to pharmacists to “Get Involved!”.
Two non-partisan groups, the Congressional Management Foundation and The Partnership for a More Perfect Union, released a joint report titled Perceptions of Citizen Advocacy on Capitol Hill analyzing the effectiveness of advocacy efforts with Congressional staff. The report surveyed several hundred staff members to determine their opinions and how they handle constituent communications.
The study’s findings echo what NCPA has been telling pharmacists and patients: contact your elected officials! You have an important and unique story to tell, personal messages about your experiences often drive home the unintended consequences of proposed legislation or existing federal laws and regulations. Moreover, most Congressional staff said that in-person meetings in the district and/or Washington offices exert a good deal of influence over undecided members.
Letters to the editor, attending a town hall meeting, writing letters to members, sending emails and social networking are all effective methods to use when communicating with your elected officials. This study also asserts that it is not just how a message is delivered, but what the message says that counts. NCPA typically provides some language to start your communications. What is important, however, is to take a moment to personalize your correspondence … making it unique, adds power to your argument.
For beginners, advocacy can be as simple as clicking on our web links, entering your information and communicating with your lawmakers. You and your community elect these officials; they need to hear what you have to say. Pharmacists can click here to enter the NCPA Legislative Action Center; patients can make their voices heard via the Fight4Rx patient advocacy program at www.fight4Rx.org. NCPA members can access even more information in our Grassroots Toolkit.