APA member Nadine Kaslow, PhD, made a significant difference for APA's Public Policy Office (PPO) this year on federal legislation to address racial and ethnic health disparities.

Kaslow had an appointment already scheduled with her congressman, Rep. John Lewis (D­Ga.), when she received an action alert from PPO. The e-mail alert asked APA members to contact the sponsors of the "Health Care Fairness Act" (HR 3250), because the bill only directed the National Institutes of Health to conduct biomedical, not behavioral, research, and it did not include graduate programs in psychology for the loan forgiveness program.

She made such a convincing case that Lewis went through the bill with her line by line to ensure that behavioral health was included.

"Her meeting was the first real breakthrough we had on the bill," says Lori Valencia Greene, PPO's senior legislative and federal affairs officer. "We had met with staff several times, and they were not supportive of our proposed changes."

Ultimately, virtually all of APA's changes were included in the bill, which has since been approved by the House Commerce Committee. At press time, the legislation had just been approved by Congress and was awaiting President Clinton's signature.