No travel necessary to make an impact
Every August, Congress recesses for the entire month. The purpose of this “district work period” is for lawmakers to gather information and ideas for the remainder of the legislative session. This can include multiple public events with their constituents or more private meetings with local business leaders to discuss the effects of certain legislation.
Every August, Congress recesses for the entire month. The purpose of this “district work period” is for lawmakers to gather information and ideas for the remainder of the legislative session. This can include multiple public events with their constituents or more private meetings with local business leaders to discuss the effects of certain legislation. One thing remains constant—legislators take their job of collecting information over the August recess very seriously, thereby providing AAO-HNS Members with a great opportunity to meet with lawmakers locally with no travel necessary!
This is where the Academy’s In-district Grassroots Outreach (I-GO) program becomes a useful benefit for you. The I-GO program was created to help AAO-HNS Members meet with their legislators to discuss important initiatives affecting their practices and their patients without the inconvenience of traveling to Washington, DC. AAO-HNS staff will assist in scheduling the event, and provide you with the materials needed to prepare for the meeting. As detailed below, the structure of these meetings can vary, depending on your available time and preferred level of commitment.
Town halls and office visits
By far, the most effective method of advocating on behalf of the specialty is meeting face-to-face with policymakers. Legislators make this possible through town halls or by hosting open office hours in their district offices.
You will often see elected officials visiting small or new businesses in their districts as “site visits.” These visits provide an opportunity for the official to hear directly from stakeholders (and potential voters) regarding certain legislation or regulations impacting the business. In addition to a great photo opportunity for all involved, this venue provides physicians with the comfort of discussing healthcare issues on their own “turf.”
One constant in politics is the need to raise money. Whether it is federal or state politics, all politicians must hold fundraisers to get the resources they need to fund their campaigns. Fundraisers are generally more intimate gatherings, which means they are a great opportunity to get quality “face time” with candidates.
Telephone town halls
Some legislators have very large districts, so in an effort to maximize their coverage, they host large telephone meetings. Generally, participants will hear a brief update from the Member of Congress before they are allowed to ask questions (often through a screened process). These tele-town halls generally last an hour, and participants can join from their home or office.
The AAO-HNS is trying to simplify the numerous ways for its members to engage and advocate. Take advantage of this unique opportunity by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to start scheduling your August I-GO event.