Top 4 myths about advocacy

| Chris Paoli

Advocating for patients is an integral part of the NPF mission to improve the lives of those with psoriatic disease. Our advocacy and government relations team, powered by a nationwide network of volunteers, fight to improve access to care and out-of-pocket treatment costs.

If you’ve considered getting involved with advocacy, but hesitated because of your (perceived) lack of expertise or busy schedule, think again. With the help of Brittany Duffy-Goche, NPF state government relations manager for the western region, let’s bust some common misconceptions about volunteering with advocacy.

Myth #1: You need a law degree

Fact: Your understanding of the issues (which, to be fair, can get pretty complex) has little bearing on the impact you can have by standing up for better health care.

You don’t need to be a legal expert – we already have those. What we need are personal stories of how the current law affects your access to treatment.

“I can discuss statistics with representatives until I’m blue in the face, but it’s the personal stories from our volunteers that really bring home how these issues impact their constituents,” says Duffy-Goche.

She says that stories carry incredible weight and, on occasion, have ended up on the floor of the House or Senate when a representative is making the case to Congress.

Myth #2: You need to be a strong public speaker

Fact: You don’t need to be a member of Toastmasters.

Advocacy staff help you every step of the way. The goal is to inform and persuade policymakers in a brief window of opportunity. Staff assist you in boiling down decades of experience living with psoriatic disease into a concise, powerful story that can have a massive impact in a short amount of time.

Further, many volunteers need not be present to share their stories. We can help you write your story and testimony and get it in the hands of those that can push for change.

Myth #3: You must be prepared to travel

Fact: Whether you’re 15 minutes from your state capitol or hundreds of miles away, you don’t need to leave your home.

NPF has the tools to help you write to your representatives, including boilerplate letters and tips to increase your impact. You can sign up for news alerts or join weekly calls with other volunteers so you can stay abreast of the issues important to you. Our region-based advocacy team works with you to find the best way to contribute, no matter your location.

Duffy-Goche suggests another way you can be an agent for change is by writing a letter to the editor of your local paper (which NPF can help you write). Creating action in your community can have a ripple effect that can reach Washington, D.C.

Myth #4: You need a big time commitment

Fact: Whether you have 10 hours or 10 minutes a month, there are options to fit the level of engagement you are looking for.

If you’re ambitious and enthusiastic about the cause, but your schedule is tight, we will find a way to get you involved.

“Due to the busy lives we all lead, a lot of people say, ‘I’m just one person – what can I do?’ And the answer is: a lot,” says Duffy-Goche.

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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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