Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Arthritis Advocacy Summit 2006

In life, the road first traveled is usually an anxious yet exciting experience. On the road previously traveled the experience is awakening and exhilarating. My second visit to our nation's capital for the Arthritis Advocacy Summit February 28 - March 1, 2006 turned out to be just that.

This year's summit had many new and some familiar faces, 271 in all representing 44 states to build on the accomplishments from last year's summit. During the 2005 summit 31 Senate and 119 House were secured to cosponsor the Arthritis Prevention, Control, and Cure Act. https://www.arthritis.org/advocacy/priorities/priorities_2005apcca.asp This year we were given the task of obtaining an additional 15 Senate and 69 House cosponsors. We obtained 4 Senate and 19 House but still need your help in Indiana. Senator Evan Bayh signed on to cosponsor in 2005. After two visits Senator Richard Lugar has not chosen to cosponsor yet. Out of 7 districts in Indiana we have two cosponsors from the House, Congresswoman Julia Carson and Congressman Mark Souder. Please write your representatives and share your personal story of how arthritis needs their attention and ask them to cosponsor the APCC Act. http://capwiz.com/arthritis/issues/?style=D&

My arrival to the registration desk turned out to be an exciting one. I was not the only representative from Indiana to speak on behalf of the 1.7 million Hoosiers with arthritis. Marva Stanford from the National Arthritis office who lives in Indiana, the Bonham family with their daughter Lyris (Indiana walk honoree), the Bickel family with their daughter Suzie (Indiana walk honoree) and Dr Kara Schmidt, Fellow for Pediatric Rheumatolgy at Riley Children's hospital were all here to put a face to arthritis and create change.

While our Indiana representation had increased over the 2005 visit we can still do better. Out of 7 districts we had three represented. In lay mans terms that means we had three face to face scheduled meetings with our House of Representatives out of a possible 7. In those three meetings we had one success with Congresswoman Julia Carson agreeing to cosponsor the Arthritis Prevention Control and Cure Act.

In general our requests were the same from 2005.

Cosponsor the Arthritis Prevention, Control, & Cure Act of 2005.
In brief, this legislation would:
Improve coordination among federal agencies and the public with regard to the federal investment in arthritis research and public health activities.
Accelerate research that will lead to improved treatments for juvenile arthritis.
Invest in a nationwide public health campaign designed to reduce the pain and disability of arthritis through early diagnosis and effective treatment of the disease.
Ensure kids with arthritis have access to specialty care by addressing the nationwide shortage of pediatric rheumatologists.

Support additional funding for arthritis research at the National Institutes for Health (NIH).
Support increased funding for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) arthritis program.
Thank you all for you support and part in this historical time in those lives effected by arthritis.

If you would like to get even more involved please contact me. I am this year's Arthritis Walk Event Chair and am a team captain again this year and am looking to increase my team size and awareness in Indiana with your help.

K. David

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