Membership in The Endocrine Society provides many benefits, including a unified voice on policy issues that affect endocrinologists. We know that members place a high value on the Society’s advocacy work, which can influence our professional lives, endocrine research, the practice of endocrinology, and public health. Our advocacy agenda is shaped to address the evolving needs of all of our constituencies.
Biomedical research funding, health disparities, physician reimbursement and access to endocrinologists, endocrinology workforce issues, obesity, and diabetes comprise the 2012 Advocacy Agenda. The Society also focuses on emerging issues including endocrine-disrupting chemicals, clinical research regulation, grant policies, and physician incentive programs.
The Society develops its advocacy tools—The Value of Endocrine Research, scientific statements, and position statements, among others—through a rigorous consensus process to ensure that official Society policy represents the consensus of its members and the field of endocrinology. The Society maintains a constant presence on Capitol Hill through the work of its staff and members of the Advocacy and Public Outreach Core Committee. By visiting congressional offices, holding briefings for members of Congress and their staff, and nurturing relationships, the Society has educated legislators and established itself as a leading resource on the issues that affect endocrinology and for those working in the field.
Society Employs Multifaceted Advocacy Approach
Although Congressional impact on policy is clear, many policies affecting endocrinologists are developed through the regulatory process under the President’s Administration. The Society is active throughout the development of regulations on many issues and has been proactively approached by the Administration to be a part of the process. Engaging with the Administration is a key component of the Society’s advocacy program.
The Society’s reputation is strong on Capitol Hill and with the Administration, but there are cases in which many voices speaking together are stronger than the William F. Young, Jr. M.D., M.Sc. individual. Therefore, the Society is active in numerous advocacy-focused coalitions, including the American Medical Association and the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. The Society has a leading role in these coalitions, and it ensures that the interests of endocrinologists are addressed.
A comprehensive advocacy program uses all of these components to approach a specific issue. For example, the Society is focused on diabetes at all levels, from funding for research to payment for physician services and prevention programs. To this end, the Society’s advocacy work has included promoting the renewal of the Type 1 Diabetes Strategic Plan, co-sponsoring Capitol Hill briefings and meeting with members of Congress on diabetes research and prevention programs, funding of the National Diabetes Prevention Program at the level of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, maintaining active membership in the Diabetes Advocacy Alliance, developing a position statement on access to affordable diabetes testing supplies, and participating in the development of recommendations on gestational diabetes screening with the United States Preventive Services Task Force. These efforts have resulted in a greater understanding of the diabetes epidemic and the role endocrinology plays in the fight against diabetes, funding for the expansion of the National Diabetes Prevention Program, and renewal of the Type 1 Diabetes Strategic Plan through 2013.
The Society has had many successes in the past year in its advocacy work, but member participation is vital for reaching its goals. I encourage you to become active participants through visits to your members of Congress or by responding to alerts for action from the Society. Together, we can use the tools we have created to have a meaningful impact on issues of concern to you.
New FLARE Program Launched
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to recognize one of the Society’s newest efforts in strengthening the pipeline of biomedical scientists through the Future Leaders Advancing Research in Endocrinology (FLARE) program. Read more about the FLARE program in Endocrine News (page 46). If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
William F. Young, Jr., M.D.
President, The Endocrine Society