The ACR Government Affairs Committee and ARHP Advocacy Subcommittee met in Washington, DC, on September 26 to discuss current legislative priorities and to participate in their annual legislative reception on Capitol Hill. Committee members and staff exchanged ideas on ways to increase advocacy and political involvement from ACR/ ARHP members. Increasing advocacy is a primary focus for the Government Affairs Committee (GAC) and Advocacy Subcommittee because it is essential that Congress be aware of the magnitude of our concerns.
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Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA) hosted the reception Tuesday evening and spoke on a personal note on his battle with arthritis. Senator Isakson, a co-sponsor of the Arthritis Prevention, Control, and Cure Act of 2005 (S.424/H.R. 583), spent time talking with ACR/ARHP members and patients about their concerns with arthritis and other rheumatic diseases. A number of Congressional staff attended the reception to learn more about the ACR, physician issues, and rheumatic diseases. Those attending the event had the opportunity to receive a heel DEXA screening compliments of ACR board of directors member David Borenstein, MD. The ACR’s legislative reception and Capitol Hill visits are valuable approaches to promote the needs of rheumatologists and their patients.