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Action Bulletin: AANP Invites You to Legislative Training, Lobby Day in Capitol, May 2-4, 2009 PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Weeks   

Action Alert: AANP Invites You to Legislative Training and Lobby Day in Nation's Capitol, May 2-4, 2009

Summary:  Interested in making a difference in U.S. health policy? Curious how to formulate a message and take it to your Congressional representatives and their staff? Wish to hob-nob with literally hundreds of legislative staffers? If the answer is yes, you've a chance to do so May 2-4, 2009. The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) has stepped out of the typical professional box and is opening its "DC-FLI" - Federal Legislative Initiative - to any individuals who have interest in the federal legislative process. As Integrator adviser and AANP board member Bill Benda, MD, writes in his invitation from the AANP: "Wellness and prevention are on the agenda for healthcare reform. Whether they become law is another matter, and essentially depends upon applied political pressure – by us." The agenda, I am told, is not naturopathic centric, but health-centric. Here's hoping that many of you will take advantage of these training sessions on a range of themes, a lobby day and a Congressional Reception and Health Fair which last year drew 300 staffers and a handful of Members of Congress and staff, sumptuously fed by Whole Foods Natural Markets. Take a look at this unique invitation and schedule of events! Perhaps it will appeal and serve your needs.
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Joint action in the Capitol
Last year,
a historic coalition which included the American Holistic Nurses Association, the Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine, Integrated Healthcare Policy Consortium, American Holistic Medical Association, American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, leadership of the American Medical Students Association, Naturopathic Medical Students Association, the American College for the Advancement of Medicine and the Natural
The AANP's "reception and health fair"
drew over 300 Congressional staffers
in 2008 together with a handful of
Members of Congress. This year this
event, which concludes the "Federal
Legislative Initiative," would be expected
to give participants and even more rich
opportunity or hobnobbing.
Products Association was organized. The coalition was organized late in the session around House Concurrent Resolution #406 (H. Con. Res. 406) to promote quality wellness programs in any healthcare reform effort. The Resolution was discipline neutral. The goal was a shared philosophic and practical focus on quality wellness programming.

The driving force behind the efforts was the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP). This was the first time so many guilds and stakeholders in the integrative practice arena had formally chosen to move together legislatively. 

This year, the AANP - which is reintroducing the H. Con. Res. 406 as House Concurrent Resolution 58 (H. Con. Res. 58) - is taking shared action another step. The AANP is inviting all who wish to join the training, action and reception with Congressional staffers known as their "DC FLI - Federal Legislative Initiative."
Besides H. Con. Res. 58, other legislative issues, according to the note from Bill Benda, AANP board member, below, are:Image

  • Redefining of the whole primary care provider to include additional, qualified healthcare professions.
  • Promoting wellness and health-oriented approaches.
  • Support of Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act
  • Improving childhood nutrition, and food safety.

Then of course, there is the always pleasurable Congressional Reception and Health Fair, sponsored by Whole Foods Natural Markets  with Congressional staff, which drew over 400 people including a handful of members of 4 Members of Congress and over 300 Congressional staff. I hope this will provide valuable to many of you. To register, click here.


Time to FLI:

An open invitation to participate
in the AANP’s Federal Legislative Initiative (FLI)
advocacy and lobbying training

Bill Benda, MD
Board Member, AANP
Integrator Editorial Adviser & Columnist

Bill Benda, MD - board member for AANP and AHMA; Integrator adviser
There is one thing the Institute of Medicine’s Summit on Integrative Medicine made clear to every individual in the auditorium: wellness and prevention are on the agenda for healthcare reform.  Whether they become law is another matter, and essentially depends upon applied political pressure – by us.

For the past three years the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians has hosted a three-day training in political activism, culminating in participants visiting the Congressional offices of their personal representatives.  Last year 100 students and practitioners attended, meeting with more than 200 Congressional offices and speaking with more than 400 staff and Members at our highly popular reception.

This year Karen Howard, Executive Director of the AANP, has chosen to invite all individuals and organizations interested in learning the fundamentals of political activism while actually affecting healthcare change. By opening this event to all, we collectively have an opportunity to greatly expand support for real change in health care – change that will redefine primary care as we know it – change that honors the patient’s authority and the inherent ability of the human body to heal.

The event takes place in Washington, DC on May 2-4 of this year.  Registration includes in-depth training on the legislative process (where attendees will be grouped according to their experience and comfort level with the political process), keynotes presentations, and meals.   Congressional visits will be scheduled by AANP staff and group assignments will be disseminated during the training. 

All attendees will be thoroughly briefed on the content of the messages which we are currently prioritizing and given ample opportunity for practice.  Specific topics will include the wellness resolution, support of DSHEA, improving childhood nutrition, and food safety, and the importance of wellness and health-oriented approaches. The core message will continue to be a redefining of the whole primary care provider to include additional, qualified healthcare professions. For those of you seeking to organize around additional, unique and aligned interests, we will assist you with your messaging during our training.

Hopefully you will plan to stay for our Monday, May 4th Congressional Reception where we mingle and educate staff and Members of Congress on the power of food, herbs, botanicals, and supplements while staffing an educational reception with a large variety of wild salmon, wine and dark chocolate, and other offerings catered by Whole Foods

To register, click on:


Schedule of Events: May 2-4, 2009

Saturday, May 2  -  12:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Lunch and Opening Session  -  “A Lobbyist’s Look at the Power of Grassroots”                 
  • Legislative Training in the Round for Beginners, Junkies and Experts
  • How a Bill Becomes a Law (or Not)                                          
  • Influencers and Interlopers 
  • War and Peace - the Strategy                                               

Sunday May 3, 7:30 am – 6:30 pm

Breakfast and Opening Session  -  “What the Heck is This All About?  Making the Ask”

  • Content Training via Legislative Fact Sheets

Lunch Presentation  -  “A Day on the Hill, from a Congressional Staffer”

Monday, May 4 7:00 am – 7:00 pm

Breakfast Session  -  “The Power of Persuasion”
Congressional Visits

Reception:  5 pm Congressional Reception and Health Fair

Comment: Various organizations have federal lobby days. The chiropractors have them annually. The Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine hosted one a couple years back. But this is the first time that I have seen one guild open its doors to others, to interested individuals or practitioners from other professions, to learn from their lobbying, to perfect messaging, and of course, to develop relationships. I chose to publicize this because the AANP's decision to do so followed active work over the last 3 years to develop cooperative collaborative healthcare policy action with numerous other national professional associations. Their work has been precedent-setting, as is this invitation.

In my best of all possible worlds, as I shared with Benda and Howard, this gathering would have been co-sponsored by these other associations, or with the Samueli Institute or another national organization, with perhaps an already-agreed-upon shared mutual agenda. Perhaps that time will come. Meantime, the list of AANP priorities for the D.C. FLI are concerns that cut across many disciplines. Here's hoping many of you will take advantage of this opportunity. Let new relationships form! I look forward to your reviews of the events.

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for inclusion in a future Integrator.

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