Be an Advocate for Arthritis
In North Carolina, the Arthritis Foundation maintains a grassroots network to impact state and federal issues of importance to people with arthritis. The Public Policy & Advocacy Committee watches state legislation from January to April during the legislative session. When bills are presented that impact people with arthritis, the committee takes action by writing letters or calling on network members to write, call fax and e-mail their legislators. Issues frequently include: the cost of prescription medication, Medicare matters, parking and other disability concerns. You can help by joining the network effort.
The Arthritis Foundation Public Policy Office in Washington keeps us abreast of national issues that require our attention too. We lobby yearly for increased funding for arthritis research at the National Institutes of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases. In 1998, the Arthritis Foundation urged Congress to allocate $10 million in the budget for the Centers for Disease Control to fund the National Arthritis Action Plan. That money is now being shared with State Health Departments to underwrite costs for state initiatives. In the Mid Atlantic Region we are gathering data on the prevalence of arthritis in each state. As that data is analyzed the State Health Department, the Arthritis Foundation and other partners will gather to discuss effective methods and programs to meet the needs of Americans with arthritis.
Visit www.arthritis.org/advocate/ for tools you need to become informed about the issues and to make your voice heard. You will find issue "backgrounders," Arthritis Foundation position statements, as well as links to other Web sites that may be helpful.
Become An Advocate -- Join the Arthritis Foundation Advocacy Network
Arthritis Advocacy Priorities -- Read about the issues