Wei-Jen Hsieh, MD, FAAP
Trustee, Washington Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics
I always find Advocacy Day to be incredibly invigorating. This year we hoped to carry forward the energy generated in Olympia and continue to meet with our legislators locally after the end of the legislative session. Earlier this month, a group of WCAAP members, including many early-career pediatricians, met with Senator David Frockt at the home of a chapter board member to hone our advocacy skills. Many participants shared their experiences testifying during this legislative season and reflected that while the idea of testifying in front of our legislators can be very daunting, the actual experience was much less intimidating. We had several residents from Seattle Children’s in attendance, many of whom had the experience of testifying in Olympia this session and shared the excitement of getting to tell their patient stories in support of greater mental health coverage for youth throughout our state. In addition, we had several seasoned advocates present to remind us that testifying isn’t the only way to advocate for your patients, and that there are many other ways for us as pediatricians to give voice to our patient stories.
Throughout the evening, Senator Frockt helped us to craft our messaging so that we can be most helpful to our legislators. I left the evening feeling empowered and with a plan to keep track of my compelling patient stories, so that when the next opportunity arises to speak up for kids, I will be ready.
If you are interested in meeting with your local legislators closer to home now that legislative session has come to a close and would like help arranging a meeting, please reach out to Jennifer Donahue at firstname.lastname@example.org. She can help you schedule a meeting or a clinic visit and help you prepare. You can also share patient stories with Jennifer!
*Editor’s note: Our 2020 Advocacy Day is scheduled for January 14th! Registration is now open, so sign up today!