Grassroots Advocacy Tool Kit - Courtesy of BMS



Personal advocacy can be done by an individual on their own behalf or for a family member or a friend. An individual or personal advocate looks out for the best interests of a patient as they move through the treatment of their disease. A personal advocate can be a family member, close friend, co-worker, or healthcare professional. An advocate can help ensure a patient understands the different types of medications that are prescribed, assist in tracking the side effects of medications, and listen closely when meeting with members of the patient’s healthcare team. This individual can also help a patient understand their rights and ensure those rights are upheld. Advocating at the federal or national level within the legislative regulatory processes is equally important. On a legislative front, it can be accomplished in your elected official’s home district or on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. Within the regulatory process, it can be accomplished through patient interaction with the FDA, other government agencies or national organizations. It is important that the people who are part of the legislative and regulatory processes hear stories from those who are personally affected. It is your personal story tied in with facts about your own experience that can bring elected officials and regulators to become emotionally engaged with a particular issue. Your advocacy efforts may focus on a letter campaign or petition for change, or they may focus on a congressional ‘call-in’. There are multiple ways to ensure your voice is heard within the legislative and regulatory processes. For examples of ways to advocate within the legislative process, reference chapter on Engaging with Elected Officials. For examples of ways to advocate within the regulatory process, reference chapter on Engaging with Regulators. FEDERAL / NATIONAL ADVOCACY

There exist opportunities to engage with elected officials and regulatory agencies at the state level. Research and determine if there are any state- level advocacy organizations or associations that are already tackling your issue before starting this journey on your own. The collective voice can be very powerful, and this may be a more effective way of accomplishing your goal than going it alone. Communication with your state legislators and regulators can have a significant effect on healthcare issues. As a resident of your state, you are a constituent to whom elected members of the legislature have a responsibility. Elected officials and their staff carry out that responsibility by meeting with their constituents and hearing their stories or concerns. On the state level, regulatory agencies carry out their responsibilities through state health departments, state insurance agencies, state medical and pharmacy boards and other agencies. An advocate’s voice can make a difference within all of these agencies, and on all of these boards. To learn about advocating within these regulatory bodies, reference chapter on Engaging with Regulators. Local community advocacy involves bringing attention to a particular issue that might affect others within your community. It can involve the creation of programs and services to educate your community and raise awareness of the cause. Through this type of advocacy, partnerships and collaborations can develop that help influence both the development and implementation of public policies. By bringing people together in your local area or organizing a town hall meeting, you can increase the awareness of a healthcare issue through collective voices. To learn more about organizing a town hall meeting, reference section on Engaging with Elected Officials. LOCAL COMMUNITY ADVOCACY


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