Many of us know the Endocrine Society best through attending meetings and reading journals, but there are other areas in which the Society works hard to meet the needs of its members. We have a very active program in advocacy, in which we reach out to policy makers to influence decisions that have relevance for our members. The Society’s Advocacy and Public Outreach Core Committee (APOCC), of which I am a past member, works with our advocacy staff to set and carry out this important agenda.
Now as president, each weekend I receive what I fondly refer to as “my homework” of letters and positions to review and approve before they are sent. I am impressed by the breadth and depth of our efforts to encourage lawmakers and federal agencies to fund and support the work that our members do in research and clinical care. I want to highlight some of these advocacy efforts for you:
- Research Funding — Our Society is a strong and vocal advocate for increasing federal support for biomedical research. We recently conducted a Hill Day in which members of APOCC and the Research Affairs Core Committee came to Washington, D.C., and met with their congressional delegations. This was to support the funding of research, and the Society submitted testimony to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees urging Congress to fund the National Institutes of Health at $32 billion and to protect research from further funding cuts.
- Research Affairs — We regularly weigh in on the enactment of policies relevant to research. Recently, we provided comments to Congress on chemical safety, rules on government travel to scientific conferences, and the inclusion of female animals, tissues, and cell lines in basic research.
- Global Advocacy & EDCs — Our work on endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) is providing us with the opportunity to expand our advocacy efforts beyond the U.S. and work with the European Union and global policy makers. This is particularly important, as 41% of our membership is international. In June, the Society will be participating in a meeting with the European Commission on developing criteria to define endocrine disruptors. This fall we will be participating in a global policy conference on chemical management to share the endocrine perspective.
- Physician Payment — We successfully advocated for passing legislation in April that finally repealed Medicare’s flawed payment formula, the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula. This was a prolonged and intransigent problem resulting in 17 temporary fixes over 12 years, and it was a relief for all to have a permanent solution to prevent a 21% cut in Medicare payments to doctors.
- Coverage of Diabetes Technology — We continue to engage with federal agencies, Capitol Hill, and private insurers to improve access for all patients to diabetes technologies.
- Media Outreach — We are working consistently with the media to share information about endocrine issues,
provide experts for reports, and respond to breaking news.
Now that you have a sense of the different areas of involvement of the Endocrine Society, it is important to realize what a vital role each of our members plays in this process. For areas in which you have an interest or an important stake, it is vital for you to lend your voice and participate by contacting your elected representatives. I cannot stress enough what a difference it makes to have constituents in the Congressional and Senate districts who weigh in on these issues. When the Society sends out Advocacy Alerts, you can quickly and efficiently send a form letter to your representatives. You are welcome to edit the letter, but you don’t need to, as the responses for and against each piece of legislation are tallied and influence the responses of your elected officials.
In addition, if you have a question or concern about an area of advocacy, or want to encourage input into a new area, please contact the Endocrine Society’s government affairs team at firstname.lastname@example.org.