Interested in Impactful Grassroots Advocacy? Invite Legislators into Your World

As COVID-19 vaccination efforts prompt a gradual return to pre-pandemic activities, a new environment of hybrid grassroots advocacy has begun to emerge. Based upon lessons learned during the pandemic, the future of grassroots advocacy will involve both traditional in-person elements and virtual engagements, opening participation in the policymaking process to a broader audience than ever before. However, regardless of whether advocates participate in person or at a distance, the connections formed between elected representatives and those they serve will continue to be a critical component of achieving legislative progress. For this reason, the Government Relations team is launching a new effort to make bringing legislators into your world as easy and seamless as possible. 

While there are many effective forms of grassroots advocacy, PA program visits are particularly conducive to long-term relationship-building due to the level of direct interaction that takes place between legislators, faculty, and students. During district work periods, members of Congress frequently visit schools, businesses, and other community venues to interact with constituents and gain a better understanding of the needs of their districts. Feedback conveyed by participants at these events ultimately has a demonstrable impact on policy proposals developed by legislators once they return to Washington, and visits to PA programs can significantly advance PAEA’s advocacy agenda through the development of new congressional champions. 

Although in-person program visits have had the most significant impact on legislators historically, recent PAEA Student Health Policy Fellows have proved that virtual events can be just as effective. In the spring of 2020, Sydney Adams of the Radford University PA program organized a Zoom event with Representative Ben Cline (R-VA), while Delilah Dominguez of the Quinnipiac University PA program hosted an interprofessional panel event with Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT). These and other virtual events have played a critical role in strengthening the reputation of PA education on Capitol Hill. 

To build upon this progress, PAEA’s Government Relations team has created a simple method via the Grassroots Action Network in which faculty and students interested in arranging an event with a legislator can obtain strategic guidance and support from Association staff. Once advocates provide additional information about their interest and availability, a staff member will provide step-by-step guidance on connecting with a congressional office, navigating the internal planning process, and conducting appropriate follow-up to ensure a successful event. Interested parties are invited to complete this form, and a staff member will be in touch to help you develop the best approach to your program visit.