During the second week of October, the California Coordinating Body (CACB) held its 9th annual diabetes conference, adding an extra day for advocacy training. Over half of the 140 attendees participated in the advocacy day. Since this was the first time the CACB had attempted anything like this, we had no blueprint to follow, and some members were skeptical about the success of this particular event. With the combined efforts of the CACB, and Kurt Anderson and Ashley Urisman, the advocacy team at AADE, we were able provide a very positive day.
Our advocacy day began with three excellent presentations. Laura Preston provided an introduction to advocacy that included the importance of building relationships, how to message your advocacy, and tips for successful advocacy. Lorraine Stiehl followed with an enthusiastic presentation regarding the role we must play in diabetes advocacy, including drug/device development and treatment innovation. Kurt Anderson completed our morning session and provided us with information on how to advocate for the future of diabetes education.
We then took an enjoyable walk to the Capitol on a lovely fall day and met with legislative staff members that represented our districts. We were each armed with diabetes prevalence and cost data broken down by zip code. Each participant met with a State Senator staff member,
In the spirit of our advocacy training, we obtained over 100 signatures on a letter supporting the signing of bill AB 447: CGM Coverage for People with Diabetes on Medi-Cal from conference attendees. This signed letter was personally delivered to Governor Jerry Brown’s office.
Unfortunately, he vetoed this legislation, but we are formulating our next plan of action with some of the people we met during our capitol visit. We are determined to work together to get this bill passed!
We received a lot of positive feedback from the participants of our advocacy day. They told us that it empowered them to go back to their community and connect with their district legislatures to advocate for people with diabetes. It truly was a transformational event.
Stay up to date with AADE’s Advocacy efforts, by visiting the Legislative Action Center.