APTA members from across the country met with their legislators on Capitol Hill this week to discuss issues impacting the physical therapy profession as part of the APTA Federal Advocacy Forum, a 3-day event that focuses on the importance of educating legislators on the role, value, and interests of physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs).
The Forum featured several speakers, including Brad Fitch from the Congressional Management Foundation, Stephanie Cutter, host of CNN’s Crossfire, and Rep Jackie Speier (D-CA).
Fitch shared strategies for building relationships with members of Congress and tips for attending events with legislators, and later led a breakout session on how to turn patient stories into effective advocacy tools. Cutter discussed the political climate in Washington, DC, and its impact on health care policy. Speier rallied attendees by sharing her experience with physical therapy and the profound impact it has had on her life.
APTA also presented the 2014 Public Service and Federal Government Affairs Leadership awards at the Forum. Sen Mark Kirk (R-IL) was the recipient of the Public Service Award for his support of the physical therapy profession and for helping bring the benefits of physical therapy to a national stage. The Federal Government Affairs Leadership award was given to Mark Anderson, PT, MPT, from Utah. Anderson has been advocating for the profession for 21 years and during that time has built meaningful relationships with Utah legislators. He also helps mentor students and other Utah members who are getting started in advocacy at the federal level.
The Forum ended April 8, but APTA members can get involved and advocate for the profession by scheduling a district meeting or attending a local town hall event. The House and Senate will be in recess April 14 through 25, and members of Congress will be in their home states and districts during this time. Members who are interested in getting involved in advocacy and grassroots can also join the PTeam to stay up-to-date on the latest legislative issues.
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