What Can You Do?
There are numerous ways to get involved with advocacy today. Your individual efforts are extremely important in helping to shape public policy. Whether you are an experienced advocate or someone who just wants to learn about becoming an effective advocate, the following tips will help you and your colleague’s transition into a more robust advocate regarding important health care issues in your community. These pages contain tips, resources and terms to get you started.
Join the ACOEP Governmental Affairs Committee
ACOEP is always looking for physicians to join forces and speak on behalf of emergency medicine physicians. The governmental affairs committee combs through legislation, networks with organizations, and provides timely policy resources and information to the members of ACOEP.
Contact Jaclyn McMillin, Senior Coordinator Chapter Affairs, at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in joining the committee.
Make a Bigger Impact
A few simple tools and tricks will help to make your impact much greater!
Let your colleagues and peers know what issues you’re most passionate about; talk to people, explain the issue, and share with them what they can do to make a difference.
Share Your Experience
Is there a certain health care topic that has affected your or one of your patients? Use your story to influence others.
Contact Your Local, State, or Federal Representatives
Writing a letter, making a phone call, or setting up an appointment with your local, state, or federal representatives will help spread your message and show your representatives the urgency of your issue. Please see below for letting writing tips and in-person communication tips.
Attend Local, State, or Federal Events
Make your presence know. Throughout the year there are several events local and state events that pertain to health care issues. There are also various federal events. Please see our advocacy events section to learn more information.
Keep up to date on your issue and continue to contact your representatives for voting information, pending legislation, and more. In our resource section you’ll find websites that can help you track bills, voting histories, pending legislation, congressional schedules, and more.
Change doesn’t happen overnight. Redefining and shaping public policy issues take time, sometimes even years. Make sure to stay passionate about your topic and continuously write letters and schedule meetings. The more people you reach, the more your topic will be heard.
Tips for Contacting Your Legislator
Visit our resource section for links to help you locate your representatives or legislators.
Decide if you want to write a letter, make a phone call, or schedule an appointment.
While we encourage you to contact your legislators throughout the year, make sure to contact them on your issue before there is a vote or committee session.
Make a notes page for your reference that you can glance at before, during, and after your appointment. Click here to see an example of a notes page.
Send a follow-up thank you note and continue to reach out throughout the year.
It’s crucial to understand the language of political advocacy in order to fully participate in national, state or local debates. Take a moment to familiarize yourself with some key terms in order to create a more powerful message.
Advocacy is referred to public or individual support for a particular cause, proposal, or policy.
Health advocacy promotes health and access to health care in communities and the larger public. Advocates supporting a particular cause or policy in regards to health care are typically supporting and promoting the rights of the patient, the rights of physicians and other health care professionals, helping to build community health and enhance public policy, and focuses on safe and quality care.
Policy is a statement of intent and is implemented as a procedure or protocol. A Policy differs from rules or law, as policy merely guides actions towards the most desired outcome.
Decisions, plans, and specific actions that are undertaken to achieve specific health care goals within a society. Health policy can achieve numerous outcomes; defines a vision for the future, outlines priorities and expected roles of different groups, and builds consensus and informs people. (WHO, 2015).