Finding legislators to sponsor bills and presenting yourself as an expert resource for Hill staffers are two tenets of successful advocacy, participants in the Public Interest Directorate's federal advocacy training session in September learned. Two dozen attendees from the directorate's seven committees--Aging; Women in Psychology; Children, Youth and Families; Disability Issues in Psychology; Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Concerns; Ethnic Minority Affairs; and Psychology and AIDS--came for an all-day workshop at APA's headquarters that was part tutorial and part advocacy on the Hill.
The day began with a short overview of the legislative process and effective ways to conduct Hill visits.
Participants then broke out into three working groups to discuss the status of several bills and to talk strategy for planned meetings later in the day with selected offices of the House of Representatives. The bills included the Positive Aging Act/Older Americans Act, the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency Act, the Children and Media Research Advancement Act, and the Lifespan Respite Care Act.
The first two bills were approved by the House of Representatives later that day, and several participants were invited by their representativesto watch the proceedings. "Lobbying on the hill is one of the most meaningful things that we do," said Sari Dworkin, PhD, a participant representing the Committee on Women in Psychology. "I intend to continue to do advocacy work and hope that other psychologists will take the plunge. It really is fun."
To read more about these bills, go to www.thomas.gov.