2014 Annual Report: State Advocacy: Connecting the Dots
As part of the AAO-HNS 2013 strategic planning and budgeting process, the Academy implemented program changes to strengthen its Member grassroots involvement and increase leadership opportunities in its state legislative activities.
As part of the AAO-HNS 2013 strategic planning and budgeting process, the Academy implemented program changes to strengthen its Member grassroots involvement and increase leadership opportunities in its state legislative activities. With the help of the Board of Governors and state societies, the Academy recruited more than 80 volunteer “state trackers”in 42 states to be the boots on the ground for state legislative affairs. The volunteer trackers are now the backbone of the program, as they monitor daily email reports and alert the Academy if assistance (letters/testimony) is needed on legislation.
Because of the active and engaged volunteer base, this new program had a smooth transition and a successful first legislative session. This has enabled the Academy to begin the next phase: “Connecting the Dots.”This stage involves introducing state trackers, if necessary, with leaders and staff from their state otolaryngology societies and state medical societies. Through these introductions, there will be improved collaboration and communication between states and the AAO-HNS, which should help ensure better legislative outcomes in the coming years. In addition, the AAO-HNS will be updating its records with the names of Academy Members currently serving on state licensing boards for audiology, hearing aid dispensing, and speech language pathology. These key contacts should prove helpful as the 2015 state legislative session begins.
Finally, to support our volunteer state trackers, AAO-HNS staff will continue to host conference calls from December until May—the “busy season” for state legislatures. Conference calls for the 2015 legislative session will begin in December for society leaders, state trackers, and state lobbyists. These calls are a great opportunity for advocates to share their experiences from past legislative sessions, identify national trends, and develop strategies for the upcoming year.
Trackers are still needed in eight states: Alaska, Idaho, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, and Wyoming. Anyone interested in volunteering for this advocacy opportunity should email firstname.lastname@example.org.