2) Speak out—Make your voice heard
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Explore This IssueSeptember 2015
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We call our legislators. To contact members of Congress, you can use the AMA’s Grassroots Hotline at 800-833-6354 and bring the issues of the rheumatology community to the attention of your representatives. We send e-mails—especially effective when we all go to the ACR Legislative Action Center (www.rheumatology.org/Advocacy/Legislative-Action-Center) and flood lawmakers’ offices with personalized messages focused on a single, important issue. Most members of Congress are now on Facebook and Twitter, and monitor social media interactions closely. Reach out about an important issue by tagging your member or posting on their sites. Follow the ACR on Facebook and Twitter to see what’s trending.
3) Step up—Support your team financially
We show up with support for RheumPAC. RheumPAC has grown over the past several years to the point that we raised over $135,000 in 2014, enabling $113,000 in contributions to legislative champions for rheumatology. I’ve gotten to see the effectiveness of RheumPAC and how it opens doors for us to have conversations with key lawmakers. We’ve made all of this progress with donations from only 4% of ACR and ARHP members. Can you imagine how much more influence rheumatology could have in Washington, D.C., if all of us gave to RheumPAC? Step up, and make your contribution to see what we can do together as a team.
Organizing the Team
Succeeding in the advocacy arena may seem like a daunting task. We are coalescing these efforts into a new ACR advocacy program called Key Contacts. As a Key Contact, whether you already have relationships with elected officials or would like to develop a relationship with your senator, representative or insurance commissioner, the ACR will provide support to cultivate that relationship. The ACR’s success on Capitol Hill and in state legislatures is dependent on our ability to educate elected officials. Nobody knows the issues of rheumatology and your patients better than you. As a Key Contact, you will be an important liaison and advocate for rheumatology. The ACR will provide you with advocacy updates, helpful tools and the information necessary to develop and maintain relationships. Key Contact members are also recognized in ACR publications and events.
I trust all members of our team will step up for rheumatology and get involved in this effort. We can continue to make progress for our patients, and we can turn challenges and risks into opportunities and strengths, but we can only do it by working together. Join the team, and do your part. Go to the advocacy pages of the ACR’s website, and find the link to the contact form at the bottom of the page. Enter your information, check the boxes beside your advocacy or issue interests, and click Submit. That’s it!