Even with limited time to spend away from your practice, you can have an impact on issues important to rheumatology! Congress is elected by you to represent your interests in Washington, but you also have to be sure that your voice is heard. Here are a few helpful resources to do just that when you return home from Chicago:
Legislative Action Center
The ACR maintains ready-to-send and easily customizable messages on top policy priorities in the Legislative Action Center (LAC). The LAC also sends legislative alerts when it is critical for congressional offices to hear from you. Congressional offices use constituent letters, faxes, phone calls, and emails to gauge constituent opinion on specific issues. The more personalized the message, the more weight it is given. Access the LAC by visiting rheumatology.org/Advocacy/Legislative-Action-Center.
The ACR can help you set up a meeting with your lawmakers in the district office nearest to you when they are in recess. Members typically can spend more time meeting with constituents in the state, and such meetings tend to be more focused and meaningful.
Friend or follow your members of Congress
Members of Congress are using social media for a number of purposes: Publicizing town halls and local events, soliciting constituent opinions, or announcing developments on legislation. By becoming a member of your legislator’s social network, you can stay up to date on the latest happenings and express your opinions on issues affecting your district and the rheumatology community.
Rheumatologists should consider inviting a member of your congressional delegation to your office, hospital, or clinic for an on-site visit. By showing them examples of the day-to-day concerns of patient care delivery, you enable them to become especially sensitive to practice issues.
Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper
You can find your local newspaper’s letters to the editor (LTE) submission instructions on their website. Here are some additional tips for submitting LTEs:
- Obey your newspaper’s word limit, sometimes as low as 150–200 words.
- Paste your letter into the body of an email or use the submission form on the newspaper’s website. Do not send the letter as an email attachment—editors typically disregard emails that contain attachments.
- Many newspapers require that letter writers include contact information (such as home address and phone number) when submitting their letter. This personal information won’t be published; it is just to verify your identity.
- Consider submitting to a smaller local paper, not just the nearest big city paper. You’ll have a better chance of getting published.
Utilize the ACR website
Keep up with the latest news and take advantage of the tools and resources available on the ACR’s website by visiting rheumatology.org/advocacy.