The COPD Foundation is hosting a series of August Recess District Visits in collaboration with other U.S. COPD Coalition member organizations to recruit new members for the Congressional COPD Caucus and to recognize the hard work and dedication of current COPD Caucus members.
As we know, it is your Congressman or womans job to represent you. They cant represent you if they dont know what you are concerned about. Educate them about COPD and you will see that it is a fact that constituent contact makes a difference in the way a member of Congress votes, Miriam ODay, senior director of public policy at the COPD Foundation, says.
These visits allow you to meet your representatives and share your COPD story. As a member of the COPD community, you can help them learn about COPD and how it affects people. The visits also give you the opportunity to tell them why it is important to support COPD legislation, awareness and education.
Karen Deitemeyer, an individual with COPD and advocate, participated in the District Visits last year, and plans to do so again this year.
Elected officials dont [often] know about COPD, and dont know about us. We need to educate them to help with funding for research, Deitemeyer says. Remember, when you have that meeting with an elected official, keep in mind they are just a person, just like we are. You have a right to be theretheyre working for us.
Through these meetings, you will be able to provide your representative with facts, informationyour Faces of COPD story which they can take back to Washington to begin facilitating a dialogue with other members of Congress, ultimately encouraging more national COPD awareness and legislation.
You will also introduce your representative to the new Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data recently released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, highlighting state COPD prevalence data. Never before have we been able to see state by state COPD data, which demonstrates the importance of integrating COPD awareness and disease management programs into states public health chronic disease programs.
We need members of the COPD community to visit their representatives to encourage Congress efforts to support and pass COPDrelated legislation. This is a great opportunity to have your voice heard and ensure your representatives are working for you.
The COPD Foundation will help you in every way: scheduling the meeting, locating others to participate with you, providing talking points, and sending staff to attend with you, but the Foundation depends on your involvement to make these meetings a success.
For more information, or to get involved in District Visits, please contact Aimee Bulthuis at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 866-731-2673 ext. 459.