Last week, I was lucky enough to attend the Allergy & Asthma Network Asthma Blogger Summit. Thanks Tonya and AAN! Who is Allergy & Asthma Network?
"Allergy & Asthma Network is the leading nonprofit organization whose mission is to end the needless death and suffering due to asthma, allergies and related conditions through outreach, education, advocacy and research."A big part of what they work on is advocacy. What is advocacy? It's talking to your legislators about important topics for allergies and asthma.
As you can see from the slide, there are several things Allergy & Asthma Network are working on:
- Safe, effective and affordable medication
- Affordable and high-quality healthcare and insurance coverage
- Nurses in all K-12 public schools
- Appropriate funding for allergy & asthma health and research programs
- Access to innovative therapies and technologies to advance medical treatment
- Mitigate environmental health hazards and address climate change
- End health disparities and move toward greater health equity
I was able to meet with my legislators during Allergy & Asthma Day on Capitol Hill (AADCH). It wasn't as scary as it sounds. I'm not a lobbyist (they are usually paid to meet with ask for people and try to convince members of congress to support their interests.)
With advocacy, we talk to our legislators and educate about problems (it's hard for us when the school nurse isn't there to help my child when they have an asthma attack or allergic reaction to a food because the school nurses oversee 5-9 schools, it's important to have stock asthma inhalers in schools to treat students who forget theirs or have an asthma attack for the first time, it would be VERY helpful to have epinephrine autoinjectors in airplane medical kits, etc.)
Many families go and share stories about how their life is impacted by allergies or asthma. It makes it real for the legislators to see what their constituents are dealing with.
In fact, did you know that education and advocacy helped get laws passed in all 50 states that allow kids to carry their asthma inhalers in school? Since schools are drug free zones, students were not able to carry their inhalers with them. Now they can (check with your state, you usually need to fill out a form each school year.)
The legislators have so many different problems that they are working on, that it helps when their constituents talk to them and educate them about different issues. I educate about allergies and asthma all day long, every day! They affect my life and my kids. So, it's easy to talk to my legislators.
Want to get involved? You can! Contact Charmayne Anderson at 1-800-878-4403 or CAnderson@AllergyAsthmaNetwork.org.
You can help make a difference!