D.C. Lobby Day Yields Letters to NIH
The Association’s 15th Lobby Day set records for participation and the number of meetings conducted on Capitol Hill. A total of 80 volunteer CFS advocates met with representatives of 94 members of Congress during the May 15 event. The two key objectives of the Capitol Hill meetings were to “close the credibility gap” and to request support for “sign-on” letters to National Institutes of Health (NIH) director Dr. Elias Zerhouni.
Lobby Day advocates utilized new materials summarizing key data from the scientific literature and compelling quotes from the November 3, 2006, press conference to erase any lingering doubts that CFS is a serious and widespread medical condition that warrants expanded research and education. You may find these materials useful in your own advocacy, whether with lawmakers or personal contacts. Click here to download your own copy.
Senate and House versions of a letter written to Dr. Elias Zerhouni were led by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Representatives Jan Schakowsky (D-IL-9) and Sue Myrick (R-NC-9). Both letters ask Dr. Zerhouni to use new authority granted under the 2006 NIH Reform Act to make CFS a higher research priority. The Senate letter garnered 12 signatures and the House letter reflected the support of 34 members. Click here to view the group letters and two sent by individual members of Congress. We will be following up with NIH leadership to gauge their response to these letters of request.
Virtual Lobby Day Generates 5,653 Messages
Online advocates strengthened Lobby Day’s calls for action by participating in the Association’s fourth annual Virtual Lobby Day conducted through the Grassroots Action Center. Five action alerts were posted and advocates sent more than 5,600 messages to 326 members of Congress, Secretary for Health Michael Leavitt, NIH Director Zerhouni, CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding and 1,406 local media outlets. Participation in this year’s event surpassed 2006 totals by more than 40 percent.