2013 August Recess Outreach Resources

Congress will be on August Recess, meeting with constituents in their home states and districts, between August 3 and September 8, 2013.  It is critically important for members of the Parkinson’s community to talk to their elected officials about protecting investments at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Defense Parkinson’s research program, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)  – especially at a time when our nation’s fiscal future is so uncertain.

Why it Matters:

  • The NIH is the largest single funder of Parkinson’s research in the world ($154 million in FY 2012).
  • The FDA plays an essential role in speeding access to safe and effective therapies for Parkinson’s and other diseases.
  • The Department of Defense Parkinson’s research program has funded over $350 million in biomedical research grants that examine how to best protect military personnel from possible causes of Parkinson’s disease.
  • Sequestration has and will continue to result in cuts to federal biomedical research spending – for example the NIH lost $1.5 billion in funding in 2013 alone.
  • The House and Senate are more than $91 billion apart in agreement on spending for Fiscal Year 2014.

What You Can Do:

1.    Schedule meetings with your Members of Congress or their staff

Click here to enter your address and obtain contact information for your Members.  We’ve provided sample talking points below as well as leave-behind materials you can give your Member or their staff. Print them out and take them with you for your visit.

•    Talking Points
•    Leave-behind Materials:
          o    Federal Funding Overview
          o    NIH funding
          o    FDA funding
          o    Defense Parkinson’s research

Please feel free to use as few or as many of these resources to help tailor your message for your Member – and most importantly, remember to share your story. It’s the most powerful tool you’ll have in your meetings.

If it’s your first time meeting with your Member of Congress and/or their staff or if you would just like a refresher, here are a few quick tips to help your conversation go smoothly. Also, do not be discouraged if your meeting is with a staff member.  Treat your meeting with them just as you would a meeting with the Member, whom they are there to represent.

2.    Send a message via social media

Connect with your Members of Congress over Facebook and Twitter and share with them the priorities of the Parkinson’s community. Sample messages and contact information for your Members are below:

•    Sample messages
•    Find your Representative and Senators on Facebook and Twitter.

3.    Send a letter to the editor of your local newspaper

We’ve provided a template to customize and send to the editor of your local newspaper. 
Check your newspaper’s website or editorial/letters page for instructions on how to submit letters to the editor.

•    Letter to the editor template

If your letter is printed – we’d love to see a copy!  Please send the letter directly to Kristina Gawrgy Campbell, Senior Outreach Manager, at kcampbell@parkinsonsaction.org.

4.    Attend a town hall meeting or invite your Member to attend an event

Check your Member’s website, social media accounts, or call their office for a town hall schedule. We also encourage you to consider inviting Members to attend a local event or a support group while they are in town as a way to directly engage and educate them about Parkinson’s disease.

Please let us know how it went! Click here to complete a quick and easy feedback form so that we can learn from your activities and your interactions with your Members of Congress and their staff.