If you have the chance to speak on behalf of the inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) community: would you take it? At first, volunteer and Crohn’s disease advocate Keri Flaccomio wondered if she had a right to attend a day on the hill event with the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation and lobby in Washington DC on behalf of the IBD community. Her experiences while she was on the hill helped her to understand that not only did she have the right, but she also had a responsibility to tell her story — and the stories of others living with IBD. Learn how Keri made her hill meetings more effective and how they helped her to become empowered as an activist.
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Patient advocacy groups often take part in “Day on the Hill” events. This is when an organization sends a group of people to Washington DC to meet with the offices of federal representatives. I’ve attended several hill day events over the past several years with different patient advocacy groups. At this point, I’m ready to let you know some of my tips and tricks so that when you’re ready to get started and do this work, you’ll be prepared.
How does an IBD patient attend Day on the Hill events and meet with the offices of congressional representatives in Washington DC? What is it like to go to these events? In this episode I describe how I got involved in hill day meetings, why I do it, and what the process is like to attend. I also offer you my tips on how to make the best of the time spent in the capital in order to make the biggest impact on the people who can affect change in the lives of IBD patients.
We tend to think of politics as being for adults. But how do adults become engaged citizens who take part in their community? They start as children, learning from parents about the importance and benefit of volunteering, voting, and understanding the challenges and opportunities in their community. There’s so much that parents can do to raise children to be active community members. In addition, some of the many skills that are learned along the way, include public speaking, networking, teamwork, strategy, and communication. Continue reading →
Working with our local elected officials is important to having our voices heard. But attending local town hall meetings held by state or federal congressional representatives is daunting, especially if you’ve never done it before. Shawntel Bethea of Chronically Strong describes her journey from sending an email to asking for support from her Congresswoman at a meeting in her district. She gives her tips on how you can make an impact in your community for people living with IBD.
For this first episode of my limited series, Summer of Activism, I’m answering a question that I hear regularly: how it is that I go to medical meetings such as Digestive Disease Week, Advances in IBD, or Crohn’s and Colitis Congress. I give you the answer as well as tips on how patients, bloggers, podcasters, and vloggers can work towards attending these, and other, scientific meetings. Here’s a spoiler: it takes dedication to improving the lives of people with IBD, commitment to doing the work consistently, and some professional networking.