Advocating for a Cure

Arthritis Foundation Advocates Descend on Capitol Hill for 2015 Summit

WASHINGTON – The Arthritis Foundation hosts its annual Advocacy Summit this week in Washington, DC, to raise awareness and build congressional support to treat and cure a disease that impacts one in five Americans and one in four veterans.

On Mar. 23 and 24, Arthritis Foundation Advocates will engage their legislators and focus on championing federal regulations that will improve the lives of the more than 50 million adults and approximately 300,000 children living with arthritis in the United States. The top legislative priorities for this year’s summit include:

  • Building awareness for the imparity of U.S. military personnel and veterans living with arthritis in order to secure guaranteed Department of Defense funding for arthritis-related research
  • Advocating for the Patients’ Access to Treatments Act, which would limit the medication cost-sharing requirements for biologics and other vital arthritis medications
  • Asking members of Congress to join the Bicameral Congressional Arthritis Caucus, a group that serves as a clearinghouse for information on arthritis and a bipartisan forum to aid Congress in working together to address arthritis

“The work of our Advocates is incredibly important because, for too long, arthritis has been viewed as an inconsequential disease that only affects older populations,” says Sandie Preiss, vice president of Advocacy and Access for the Arthritis Foundation. ”But this couldn’t be further from the truth.

 “The fact is, two-thirds of people living with arthritis are under the age of 65,” she adds, “and our veterans and military servicemen and servicewomen are developing arthritis at twice the rate of their civilian counterparts in some cases. We need to make sure our legislators understand the importance of increased funding for arthritis research, but also the importance of protecting Americans’ access to existing treatments so they can overcome everyday battles and focus on living full lives.”

Kids’ Summit

The two-day Advocacy Summit opens with a special session for the organization’s youngest advocates the afternoon of Mar. 23. Child advocates will focus on preparing for Capitol Hill visits and teaching other children with arthritis and their siblings to advocate for themselves.

Awards Dinner

Proving advocacy isn’t always a thankless job, the Arthritis Foundation will take time to honor its top Advocates at the 2015 Advocacy Summit awards dinner the evening of Mar. 23. The annual awards highlight the work of volunteers and policymakers who have performed exceptional service in support of the Foundation’s mission. This year’s awards feature the Arthritis Foundation Advocacy Leadership Award and marks the first time it is being given to a member of each political party for their bipartisan work in building a strong congressional Arthritis Caucus. Additional awards include the Edward M. Kennedy Advocacy Leadership Award, the Emerging Leader in Advocacy Award and Platinum Ambassadors Awards.

The 2015 Arthritis Foundation Advocacy Summit is made possible through generous corporate sponsorships from Pfizer, Amgen, Lilly and Smith & Nephew. To learn more about arthritis advocacy and access issues, please visit: www.arthritis.org/advocate

About the Arthritis Foundation:

The Arthritis Foundation (www.arthritis.org) is the largest and most trusted nonprofit organization dedicated to addressing the needs and challenges of those living with arthritis, the nation’s leading cause of disability. Since 1948, the Foundation has remained committed to leading groundbreaking research for better treatments and a cure; fighting for patients’ access to affordable and effective health care; and providing trusted information and resources to the more than 50 million adults and 300,000 children living with the disease.