If our #SaveAHRQ campaign efforts this past fall taught us anything, it's that we can achieve real impact—even in unlikely circumstances—when we come together and speak out in the name of a shared goal. In the absence of a persistent, steady drumbeat of noise from the community on the issues that matter to them most, policymakers believe they can target key federal programs and agencies with no real implications.
Understanding that advocates need to make their voices heard year round on Capitol Hill, AcademyHealth each February arranges for members of its Committee on Advocacy and Public Policy, a standing committee of the AcademyHealth Board of Directors, and the year's Presidential Scholars for the AcademyHealth Institute on Advocacy and Public Policy to go on a 'Hill Day.' The purpose of a Hill Day is for constituents to meet with the congressional staff from their home state and to advance their advocacy priorities. Our 2016 attendees furthered the advocacy priorities for our field — namely funding for health services research through dedicated funding to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the only federal agency with a congressional mandate to conduct this critically important work.
This year's Hill visits took place on Wednesday, February 3, following the 2016 National Health Policy Conference in Washington, D.C. Not only are these visits important for building our members' relationships with those on Capitol Hill, but it's also an opportunity for us to remind staffers of the role AcademyHealth plays as a non-partisan broker of evidence and a translator of research into policy and practice.
We're thrilled that this year's visits were a success, and that our attendees enjoyed spreading the message about the importance of AHRQ as well as why it's imperative that the federal government continue to fund this agency moving forward. Some of the attendees were even fortunate enough to meet with their elected officials!
Committee on Advocacy and Public Policy member Karoline Mortensen met with Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen, R-FL (image one); Committee on Advocacy and Public Policy members Danielle Lloyd and Meryl Bloomrosen met with Senator Ben Cardin, D-MD (image two); and Washington Representative Emily Holubowich with Danielle Lloyd and Meryl Bloomrosen met with Congressman Chris Van Hollen, D-MD (image three).
AcademyHealth looks forward to continuing to be the voice of health services research in Washington this year and values the support of our members and partners who help us in this effort.
AcademyHealth welcomes the opportunity to connect our leading experts with their members of Congress. If you are an AcademyHealth member and making a trip to Washington, D.C. this month, email our advocacy team to find out if you are from a key district, and we may be able to arrange some meetings on your behalf.