Thursday, April 23, 2009

You're the Cure on the Hill 2009

This was my 4th year to attend as a staff member for the American Heart Association’s You’re the Cure on the Hill National Lobby Day in Washington, D.C. It has always been an enjoyable experience, but this year was probably the most memorable yet. For a number of reasons, I felt the advocates from Texas really had a meaningful impact on furthering our policy initiatives. We had a group of around nine advocates and staff that touched all 34 offices in the Texas delegation including 32 Congressional offices and two Senate offices. Some of our volunteers included Dr. Clyde Yancy, incoming President of the AHA, Dr. Amit Khera, M.D., preventative cardiologist, UT Southwestern, and Connie Kerr, seasoned advocate from Arlington, Texas. We had over 15 meetings with congressional members and staff and really got our core “messages” out.

Our messages included increasing NIH funding for research and education, CDC funding for prevention including a $74 million ask for our Heart and Stroke Prevention program, a $37 million ask for our Heart for Women Act and a formal request to sign a letter to the President requesting the same. We also had a general request for health care reform by providing more accessible, affordable and higher quality care than is currently being provided in this country.

In addition to the wonderful visits we had on Capitol Hill, Dr. Khera and I had the privilege of being invited to present at a breakout session on Monday afternoon and spoke about how the American Heart Association’s national policy priorities are used to create statewide legislative priorities, agendas and implementation. I gave the staff’s perspective and Dr. Khera gave the volunteer’s perspective.

I found this Lobby Day to be the most rewarding yet and it reminded me why the AHA’s mission of fighting cardiovascular disease and stroke is so important.

Douglas Dunsavage
Government Relations Director, AHA



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