Spring—and ASHA Advocates—Arrive in D.C. In Washington, D.C., spring arrives with a burst of beauty—snowy cherry blossoms, lemony tulips, hot-pink azaleas. But for ASHA the most beautiful sights this spring are the hundreds of member advocates who traveled to Capitol Hill to advocate on behalf of services for people with communication disorders. With more than ... ASHA News
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ASHA News  |   April 01, 2009
Spring—and ASHA Advocates—Arrive in D.C.
Author Notes
  • Marat Moore, managing editor of The ASHA Leader, can be reached at mmoore@asha.org.
    Marat Moore, managing editor of The ASHA Leader, can be reached at mmoore@asha.org.×
Article Information
ASHA News & Member Stories / ASHA News
ASHA News   |   April 01, 2009
Spring—and ASHA Advocates—Arrive in D.C.
The ASHA Leader, April 2009, Vol. 14, 1-19. doi:10.1044/leader.AN1.14052009.1
The ASHA Leader, April 2009, Vol. 14, 1-19. doi:10.1044/leader.AN1.14052009.1
In Washington, D.C., spring arrives with a burst of beauty—snowy cherry blossoms, lemony tulips, hot-pink azaleas. But for ASHA the most beautiful sights this spring are the hundreds of member advocates who traveled to Capitol Hill to advocate on behalf of services for people with communication disorders. With more than 300 members visiting congressional offices in five separate delegations, this campaign is one of the largest turnouts of grassroots advocates on Capitol Hill in ASHA’s history—and one of the most strategic.
Education, Health Care
“Education and health care reform are on the agenda of the new administration—and we’re excited that our members are such a visible and vocal force on Capitol Hill this spring, when new bills are being introduced,” said ASHA President Sue T. Hale.
“We continue to build our base of grassroots advocates who can lobby on issues that affect our professions and the people we serve. ASHA advocates will make a difference as education and health care are addressed in this Congress.”
The delegations reflect the diversity and the breadth of governance and professional expertise within ASHA, including members of the Board of Directors, Audiology Advisory Council, and Speech-Language Pathology Advisory Council; member experts in health care financing and governmental policy; members of the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association; academic program representatives; participants in ASHA’s Health Care Conference/Business Institute; and D.C.-area audiologists.
Preparation
The visits are spread across two months, from mid-March until May 15. Member advocates have contacted their representatives in advance to set up their legislative visits, and they researched their legislators’ background before making the call. Sample scripts were provided, along with other resources from ASHA’s easy-to-use Take Action Web site. Visits were scheduled with representatives or with education or health care legislative assistants, who often recommend to legislators which bills they should consider supporting.
Each member advocate reviewed issue briefs and talking points on legislative issues important to audiologists and SLPs: direct access to audiologists, speech and hearing services in high-need schools, student loan forgiveness, Medicare therapy caps, early hearing detection and intervention (EHDI), the hearing aid tax credit, telepractice, and classroom acoustics.
When members of the larger delegations arrived in the D.C. area, ASHA held legislative issue briefings and the popular “Capitol Hill Advocacy 101,” with role-playing opportunities for members.
For more information about ASHA’s spring advocacy effort on Capitol Hill, contact Katie Bromley, director of grassroots and congressional advocacy, at kbromley@asha.org. And don’t forget to visit the Take Action Web site.
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April 2009
Volume 14, Issue 5