Alzheimer’s advocates share their stories with Congress

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Over 70 volunteer advocates and staff from our chapter traveled to Washington, D.C., last week. They participated in the Alzheimer’s Impact Movement Advocacy Forum.

More than 1,200 individuals from across the country attended. The Forum started with a roll call of the states, giving representatives from Alabama to Wyoming a chance to highlight their state policy successes.

After a day of training on the issues, advocates went to Capitol Hill. They met with members of Congress and/or their staff.

Our advocates shared their personal stories of how Alzheimer’s and other dementias have impacted their families. They shared data on the personal and financial costs. Advocates asked their senators and representatives to take the following actions:

  • Tell House/Senate leadership that they support an additional $425 million in fiscal year 2019 for Alzheimer’s research at the National Institutes of Health
  • Cosponsor the BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act (S. 2076/H.R. 4256) to create an Alzheimer’s public health infrastructure across the country
  • Cosponsor the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act (S. 693/H.R. 1676) to ensure an adequate, well-trained palliative care workforce

Asking and thanking

In some cases, our volunteers had a chance to thank members who had already taken one or more of these actions. Three of our volunteers met with Congressman Ami Bera. Congressman Bera had already signed on to the palliative care bill and was supportive of the proposed research funding increase.

Barbara, Jackie and David shared the details of their visit.

 

Chapter awards and speakers

Vanessa, Erin and Elizabeth with the award

The Alzheimer’s Impact Movement gave an award to the Alzheimer’s Congressional Team of the Year. Our very own team for California’s Second Congressional District won the award. Vanessa Carter, our volunteer Ambassador, accepted the award along with team members Erin Kane and Elizabeth Santos.

Pam Montana from Danville, an Early-Stage Advisor and member of the Alzheimer’s Association Board of Directors, shared her story with the attendees. Pam was diagnosed with younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease in 2016.

Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, of Nevada, received an Alzheimer’s Impact Movement Humanitarian Award for her leadership on the BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act. Senator Susan Collins of Maine received the other Humanitarian Award.

Forum highlights

Throughout the Forum, participants had a chance to hear from Alzheimer’s Association staff, key advocacy volunteers, persons living with Alzheimer’s and caregivers.

Some of the featured speakers included:

  • Francis Collins, Director, National Institutes of Health
  • Bradford Fitch, President & CEO, Congressional Management Foundation
  • Jon LaPook, MD, Chief Medical Correspondent, CBS News
  • Richard Lui, News Anchor, NBC
  • Alexandra Socha, Actress
  • Marcia Gay Harden, Actress
  • Susan Collins, Senator from Maine
  • Catherine Cortez Masto, Senator from Nevada

We put together a slideshow of photos from the Forum.

 

Advocacy is rewarding and fun

Sometimes volunteers who are thinking about getting involved with advocacy are a little nervous about meeting with legislators. To help prepare our volunteers, we provide training, supply resource materials and send advocates to meetings in teams.

We thought that it would be helpful to show you what a meeting is like. Congressman Jim Costa was kind enough to let us record our advocates’ meeting with him.

Next year’s Advocacy Forum in Washington, D.C., will be held on March 31 – April 2, 2019. We’d love to have you join us. We also have state advocacy events in California and Nevada. To learn more, visit alz.org/norcal or call 800.272.3900.

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