ASH members now have the chance to nominate a colleague or themselves for the 11th annual Advocacy Leadership Institute (ALI), a two-day workshop aimed at equipping hematologists with the skills and knowledge needed to become effective advocates for their patients and their profession. Scheduled to be held in Washington, DC, on October 16-17, 2023, the event will bring together hematologists from across the country to learn from policy experts and advocacy professionals. To discover more about the ALI, The Hematologist sat down with the Chair of the program, Dr. Jennifer Holter-Chakrabarty. In addition to chairing the ALI, Dr. Holter-Chakrabarty is also the Chair of the ASH Committee on Government Affairs and practices at the University of Oklahoma Medical Center in Oklahoma City.
Dr. Holter-Chakrabarty highlighted the importance of the workshop in empowering hematologists to become effective advocates: “Advocacy is critical to advancing the interests of our patients and our profession. By bringing together hematologists from every corner of the United States and providing them with the tools and training they need, we can make a real difference in the lives of those we serve.”
The ALI covers a range of topics, from the basics of advocacy to more advanced strategies for influencing policy and shaping public opinion. Participants will hear from speakers with diverse backgrounds and expertise, including policy experts, government officials, and congressional staff.
Participants also will have the opportunity to travel to Capitol Hill to further develop their advocacy skills and put what they learned into practice. The workshop culminates with a day of meetings with the offices of senators and representatives, where participants can share their stories and concerns and advocate for policies that support their patients and the field of hematology.
Dr. Holter-Chakrabarty also emphasized the value of the Capitol Hill visits, saying, “Meeting with congressional offices is an incredible opportunity for our members to have their voices heard. By sharing their experiences, they can help shape policies that impact the field of hematology and the patients we treat. These meetings are a powerful demonstration of the influence that advocates can have on policy, and the importance of engaging directly with policymakers.”
To prepare for these meetings, participants receive training and coaching on how to effectively communicate their messages, build relationships with policymakers, and make a compelling case for their advocacy priorities. They also are given detailed information on the issues and policies they will be discussing and briefed on the current political landscape and legislative process.
“We are proud to offer the ALI as a way for hematologists to learn and become effective advocates,” said Dr. Holter-Chakrabarty. “We hope that our participants will take what they learn here and continue to advocate on behalf of hematology, both at home and in Washington.”
How to Apply
Nominations are now open until June 15. Visit the ALI website at hematology.org/advocacy/ali to learn more, read testimonials from past participants, and submit a nomination. The ALI is open to U.S. citizens and all ASH members in good standing at any stage in their career. There is also no cost to attend the ALI as it is a benefit of your membership to the Society.
ASH members may nominate multiple colleagues to participate or submit a self-nomination. ASH is looking for a diverse group of participants from across the country and a mix of researchers and practitioners. “We want to showcase the broad field that hematology covers and let Congress see all aspects of our profession,” explained Dr. Holter-Chakrabarty.
Other Ways to Get Involved
While the ALI provides an intensive and unique experience in advocacy, there are other ways for hematologists to become involved in ASH’s advocacy efforts. ASH members can also join the Grassroots Network, a nationwide group of hematologists who work to advance the interests of the hematology community.
The ASH Grassroots Network provides a platform for hematologists to stay informed about policy issues affecting their field and to act on issues that matter to them. Members of the Grassroots Network receive the monthly Advocacy Update keeping them advised of legislative and regulatory developments and are encouraged to engage with policymakers through calls to action, social media campaigns, and other advocacy efforts.
Another way for hematologists to become involved in advocacy is through the ASH Advocacy Center (hematology.org/advocacy). This online platform makes it easy for hematologists to contact their legislators directly and advocate for key priorities. ASH members need only to input their address and the Advocacy Center will provide customizable templates for emails and tweets that hematologists can send directly to their senators and representatives.
“However hematologists choose to be involved, it’s important to recognize the power of their voices and the impact they can have on policy,” said Dr. Holter-Chakrabarty. “Advocacy is critical to advancing the interests of our patients and our profession. By becoming involved in advocacy efforts, hematologists can make a real difference in the lives of those they serve, as well as help shape the future of the field of hematology.”
Visit hematology.org/advocacy for more information on the Grassroots Network and all of ASH’s advocacy efforts.