As COVID-19 has compelled all associations to rapidly adapt their advocacy operations to function in a new and challenging environment, grassroots engagement has never been more critical. While large-scale “Hill Days” and in-person town halls are currently on hold, developing connections between PA education advocates and their elected representatives remains a cornerstone advocacy strategy for PAEA to meet the needs of programs, faculty, and students.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the PA education advocacy community has exceeded expectations for the Association’s calls to action. More than 6,000 messages have been sent to Capitol Hill via PAEA’s Grassroots Advocacy Network, resulting in the inclusion of key priorities such as aid to institutions of higher education and protections for student borrowers in the CARES Act. Advocacy partnerships between program directors across the country and PAEA staff have also led to the addition of new cosponsors to pending legislation to bolster workforce capacity and diversity in response to COVID-19.
To build on this momentum, today PAEA is releasing the Grassroots Advocacy Resource Guide — a new, comprehensive toolkit intended to provide all stakeholders with the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively advocate on behalf of PA education and the profession both during and after the pandemic. The guide includes handy, detailed tips and advice on key advocacy strategies such as:
- Engaging in effective federal advocacy meetings
- Arranging program visits with elected representatives
- Drafting compelling op-eds
- Hosting virtual advocacy days
- Conducting in-district advocacy
- Facilitating state-level lobby days
The release of the Grassroots Advocacy Resource Guide is the latest in a series of initiatives intended to bolster the leadership capacity of PA faculty and students. In April, the Government Relations team announced the availability of customized policy and advocacy trainings for PA programs seeking to provide new skills to students. In September, PAEA will be hosting the seventh-annual Student Health Policy Fellowship to cultivate the next generation of PA policy leaders.
Faculty and students with questions about the Grassroots Advocacy Resource Guide or PAEA’s policy initiatives should contact Tyler Smith at tsmith@PAEAonline.org.