Advocate for Our Speciality
Our resident advocacy expert, Dr. Allen Meadows, offers tips on the best ways to stay informed, be heard and get involved:
1. Be informed
Read the editorials in your local newspaper – This is the best way for you to feel the pulse of your community.
Read opposing opinions – Another way physicians should be involved is to read the opinions of those who are proposing changes in our health care system on both sides of the issue. Former Senator Daschle has written a book which details the plan supported by the Obama administration for comprehensive health care reform. Former Congressman Gingrich has also written an outline for comprehensive health care reform.
“What should I do today to impact health care?” I am frequently asked by physician friends, “How can I be more involved?” or “How can my involvement have an impact?” Physicians cannot simply sit back and believe everything will work out. I see three basic tenets to political involvement by physicians: Stay informed, be heard, and get involved.
– J. Allen Meadows, MD, FACAAI
2. Be heard
Attend town hall meetings in your area – When your congressmen and senators come back to the district, see them and talk to them.
Talk to your patients – When patients ask you your opinions of health care reform, take the time to tell them. A letter to a congressman from a patient is far more meaningful than a letter from one of us that may seem self-serving.
Write a letter to the editor – This is probably the single best way to communicate directly with your congressman and senators. Each day, staff members from congressional and senate offices pour through local newspapers, especially the editorial page, and compile a stack of articles for the congressman or senator to read. Writing a letter to the editor, published in the newspaper, almost guarantees that your senator and congressman, him or herself, will actually read your letter. Don’t think your article will never get published. At least once a month over the last three months, long editorials from physicians – including one from me – were published in my local newspaper.
E-Mail your Congressman or Senator – The letters sent by e-mail directly to congress and senate offices are likely to be read by staff members. Summaries are presented to the elected officials, and the staff members keep a tally of pro and con. Writing twice a month would not be overkill.
3. Be involved
Travel to Washington, D.C. – For practicing physicians, this is a tremendous expense, but the congressmen know that it is a sacrifice, and often set aside time to see you themselves, not just their aides.
Give to ALLERPAC – Many of us don’t know allergy has a PAC (Political Action Committee). ALLERPAC allows us, as allergists, to speak with one voice, although not many of us have been involved in the past. When the letter comes asking you to make a contribution, don’t put it off; just do it.
Make a contribution – As a politician once said, “You are either at the table or on the menu.” The best way to be at the table is to make political contributions. Political contributions are best given to the candidate in person at a fundraiser.
Support physician congressmen – Who on Capitol Hill can better understand our issues than another physician? Support our Congressional leaders (especially those who are also physicians) whenever you can.
Join the Strike Force
Each spring the Advocacy Council hosts a contingent of allergists who march on Washington and bring our issues directly to Congress. If you’re interested in learning more and joining the Strike Force, add your name to our mailing list. We’ll contact you with more details about how to get involved.
Contact the House of Delegates
The House of Delegates (HOD) is your direct link to leadership. If you have an issue or concern about your practice, contact your regional Super-delegate or State Delegate to report it.
Find Your Legislator
Want to share your concerns with your local, state or federal representative?
Defend the Allergy Specialty – Be a Hero (DASH)
The specialty of allergy continues to be bombarded with ever changing medical and practice requirements, rules and regulations. While the Advocacy Council fights to protect our members and the specialty, costs of this constant work can be overwhelming and outside of our normal operating budget. Contribute today to help us defend the allergy specialty.
Become an Allergy Superhero
Learn to advocate for allergists with our archived webinar: “How to be an advocate for allergists” by Stephen Imbeau, MD, FACAAI and John Seyerle, MD, FACAAI
This webinar addresses how allergists can impact issues important to the future of allergy by advocating at the local, state and federal level. Topics include:
- Getting to know your local, state and federal representatives
- Know the issue(s)
- Tips for meeting with elected officials