How to make your voice heard by local, state and federal governments

| Angie Thies
Represented by NPF volunteers from across the nation, each of NPF’s three Advocacy Action Networks (AANs) serve to identify issues of importance to our patients and opportunities to talk with lawmakers, facilitate engagement and ensure NPF advocacy work translates into real gains for individuals living with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. 
The networks began in the Northeast during the 2016 legislative session. As legislation was being considered in New York and other states, a group of passionate and committed individuals recruited and trained by the NPF came together to educate legislators about health care issues impacting the psoriatic disease community. They wrote emails, joined coalitions, testified at hearings and worked to expand access to care.
By the end of 2016, the newly dubbed Northeast Advocacy Action Network had many victories, among them successfully lobbying Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York to sign the step therapy bill into law. Not only was the group instrumental in the passage of legislation, the members had fun, made new friends and found a cause they believed in.  
Building on these successes in the Northeast, two additional networks were established shortly after – the West and Central. Each is managed by an NPF advocacy staff member.
  • Amy Prentice, Associate Director, State Government Relations, leads the Eastern region
  • Angie Thies, State Government Relations Manager, leads the Central region
  • Brittany Duffy-Goche, State Government Relations Manager, leads the Western region
To this day, the networks capture the same spirit that led to their founding. Being involved in NPF advocacy work “has positively impacted my life in that I am doing something about having psoriasis. I can take the negative of dealing with psoriasis and turn it into a positive,” says Vickie Wilkerson of Louisiana.
With their many voices, the AANs make the mission of NPF attainable – they elevate the patient voice, engage in the legislative process and ensure that each step of the way our work stays connected to individuals facing psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis.  
So, whether you have been advocating and engaged forever, or you have a newfound desire to do something – we need you and your voice. The most valuable tool you bring is you – your story and your willingness to help by tweeting, meeting with your elected officials, making a call, sending an email or speaking with fellow psoriatic disease patients. Will you share your voice and your story? 
Photo: NPF Vice President of Government Relations & Advocacy​ Patrick Stone and volunteer advocates Tara Tingle, Vickie Wilkerson and Wilson Liao, M.D., between meetings in Washington, D.C., during our annual Capitol Hill Day, March 18, 2018.

Driving discovery, creating community

For more than 50 years, we’ve been driving efforts to cure psoriatic disease and improve the lives of those affected. But there’s still plenty to do! Learn how you can help our advocacy team shape the laws and policies that affect people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis – in your state and across the country. Help us raise funds to support research by joining Team NPF, where you can walk, run, cycle, play bingo or create your own fundraising event. If you or someone you love needs free, personalized support for living a healthier life with psoriatic disease, contact our Patient Navigation Center. And keep the National Psoriasis Foundation going strong by making a donation today. Together, we will find a cure.

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