A Special Message from Sean Tipton, Chief Advocacy, Policy and Development Officer, ASRM and Barb Collura, President and CEO of RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association
|Sean Tipton address advocates at the 2015 RESOLVE Advocacy Day|
There is no question we are in, to put it mildly, a unique moment in America’s political history. This week ASRM and RESOLVE got together to compare notes, share intel, and discuss our ideas for approaches each organization might take on some pressing policy issues. What we noticed is that things “out there” felt different. ASRM and RESOLVE have witnessed many more people reaching out and wanting to know how they can make a difference.
Of course, we’re concerned about the recent policy developments triggering this passion, but there is also a part of us that is thrilled by the sounds of activism we are hearing from physicians and those that struggle to build their families.
No one can have more impact on policy in reproductive medicine than a skilled hard working group of patients and professionals. You have the power to attest firsthand how policy proposals and legislation will impact you, your health, your quest to have a child, or your ability to help others in those quests.
Being fired up is good. Being fired up, smart, and effective is even better.
We are here to help you with the latter.
First of all, both organizations are hosting events all over the country where you will have the opportunity to interact with your state and/or federal lawmakers. Two of the most important events are happening in Washington, D.C., where you are invited to come, learn how to advocate and spend time sharing your views directly with policy makers. ASRM’s Advocacy Academy is March 8-10 and RESOLVE’s Advocacy Day is May 17-18. We urge you to come to one or the other, or as we will, both!
RESOLVE is also hosting two important state Advocacy Days, one February 7th in St. Paul, MN and the other April 25th in Albany, NY.
And lastly, RESOLVE will invite state and federal lawmakers to their Walk of Hope events happening in 9 cities this year. You deserve the chance to interact with your elected officials, and both ASRM and RESOLVE are happy to provide that to you.
Information is key and raising our voices together with a consistent message is powerful. We will continue to work together to keep you informed with facts, figures, and ways to share your story in a meaningful way. Make sure you keep in touch with us on our websites, sign up for our emails, and act when we ask.
Now, let’s get back to the rest of that “smart and effective” part.
Like most other things in life, advocacy is a “you get back what you put into it” sort of activity. Sure, it’s not a bad thing to Like a post on social media, but it’s not enough to turn the vote of a Member of Congress. It helps to send a quick message to congressional offices in the ways we were just talking about. But if you are really feeling the passion, and really want to have an impact, you have to step up your game. We can help you with that.
Go right now and find all the contact information for your elected representatives, state and federal. Write down their phone numbers and email addresses, sign up for their newsletters, and follow their social media accounts. Now that you have that info, use it. Communicate with them. Let them know if you are for or against specific bills. Go to town hall meetings or other public events and ask them where they stand on these issues. For Members of Congress, call their office in your town and to set up an appointment with the staff there. Invite them, the elected official, and their staff, to your place. Let them see the work you do, let them attend a patient event you put on or support group you host. There is no better way to educate folks than to spend time with them and let them see the issues face to face.
It’s tempting to respond to every twist and turn in the policy process, trust us. But that’s where you can be assured that your support of ASRM and/or RESOLVE is a good investment. We will help you sort out what needs to be acted on; we just ask that you take action when we ask that you do.