Advocacy Tools and Resources

Every ACR/ARHP member can Advance Rheumatology! by being an advocate for rheumatology issues, practices and patients. Use the tools and resources on this page to find out how.

Federal Advocacy Tools & Resources

Set Up a Meeting with Your Elected Officials Locally

Every member of Congress has at least one local office in the district, and most have several. These district offices are staffed with people whose jobs revolve around communicating with constituents like you. There are fewer barriers to stopping by the local office and developing relationships with the Senator or Representative's staff. In fact, these staff members would welcome you! Elected officials depend on their staff to keep a finger on the pulse of what's happening in the district and advise them on local issues.

Reach out to your local district office staff today to schedule a meeting during the August recess. Lawmakers' schedules fill up quickly and planning ahead is important.

Check out ACR’s easy Guide for Local Congressional Meetings. This guide includes also includes:

  1. Step-by-step process to schedule a meeting
  2. Sample meeting request email
  3. Sample thank you email
  4. Directions to locate your lawmaker’s district office

Medical Office Tours and Visits

Another great way to meet and educate lawmakers is to invite them to visit your practice. Most members of Congress are not aware that rheumatologists receive years of additional training to provide expert care to patients with arthritis and rheumatic conditions. What better way to show your legislators about the specialized care you provide your patients than inviting them to visit your office?

Use the Office Visit Sample Letter to get started, and send to the district office which can be found in ACR's Legislative Action Center.

Contact Elected Officials about Specific Issues

Phone. Calling your members of Congress is one of the easiest ways to bring the issues of the rheumatology community to their attention. Use the AMA's Grassroots Hotline at 800-833-6354.

Email. Email is another quick and effective method of getting your message to your elected officials. Use the ACR's Legislative Action Center and make sure to personalize your message.

Letters. Letters are an important and effective way to introduce yourself and tell your legislator your stance on multiple issues. Short, handwritten letters are best and make sure to include your full address so that they know you live in their district. As mail to Congress may take time, you should fax the handwritten letter in addition to sending it via U.S.P.S. You can find contact information for your members of Congress on ACR's Legislative Action Center.

Social Media. Most members of Congress are now on Facebook and Twitter, and monitor social media interactions very closely. Reach out to your member about an important issue by “tagging” them or posting on their sites. Be sure to also follow ACR on Facebook www.facebook.com/rheumatology, and Twitter: @ACRheum to see what is trending for and repost messages.   

Meetings in Washington, DC

ACR hosts two annual advocacy days in Washington where ACR/ARHP members visit congressional offices to advocate on the most timely and relevant issues. In May we bring the ACR Board of Directors, Government Affairs Committee, RheumPAC Committee, and Affiliate Society Council for the Advocacy Leadership Conference.

In the fall the ACR hosts the Advocates for Arthritis Capitol Hill fly-in, which is open for applications to all ACR/ARHP members, as well as patients. Find out more about Advocates for Arthritis. 

ACR Issue Briefs and Background

Be sure to arrive at any meeting prepared to discuss specific issues and have concrete ways your representative can take action. To assist with this, review and share ACR Issue Briefs. As always, feel free to contact ACR Government Affairs staff 404-633-3777 or advocacy@rheumatology.org.

State Advocacy Tools & Resources

Meetings at the State Capital

During the legislative session legislators can often be found in their offices or around the legislative building. These offices are staffed with people whose jobs revolve around communicating with constituents like you. There are fewer barriers to stopping by and developing relationships with the Senator or Representative's staff. In fact, these staff members would welcome you! Elected officials depend on their staff to keep a finger on the pulse of what's happening in the district and advise them on local issues. In some instances meetings may occur in the hallway or on a walk between committee meetings. In those cases it is important to have a clear concise message and examples to share regarding ACR priorities.

If you are planning a trip to the state capitol reach out to your legislator’s office today to schedule a meeting and begin building your relationships to Advance Rheumatology! Remember to follow up with an acknowledgement after the meeting.   

Meetings in the Community

Most state legislatures are not in session all year and traveling to the state capitol is not always logistically possible. Consider attending a local event that will include elected officials or offer to host them at your office and provide a tour of your facility or practice.

ACR’s easy State Advocacy Guide can also be helpful for state legislative meetings. This guide also includes:

  1. Process to schedule a meeting
  2. Sample meeting request email
  3. Sample thank you email

Contact Your Elected Officials 

Phone. Calling your elected officials is one of the easiest ways to bring the issues of your practice, patients, and the rheumatology community to their attention. In many cases you can simply provide your name, address and support or objection to a specific bill. Legislative staff compiles a report for members on calls received. We need the tally to be in our favor so your call makes a difference even if it is brief.

Email. Email is another quick and effective method of getting your message to your elected officials. Use your state’s legislative website to access member emails and make sure to personalize your message.

Letters. Letters are an important and effective way to introduce yourself and tell your legislator your stance on multiple issues. Short, handwritten letters are best and make sure to include your full address so that they know you live in their district.

Social Media. Most elected officials are now on Facebook and Twitter, and monitor social media interactions very closely. Reach out to your member about an important issue by “tagging” them or posting on their sites. Be sure to also follow ACR on Facebook, and Twitter (@ACRheum) to see what is trending and repost messages.