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2012 August Recess Outreach Resources

2012 August Recess Outreach Resources

Congress will be on August Recess, meeting with constituents in their home states, between August 6 and September 7, 2012.  It is critically important for members of the Parkinson’s community to talk to their elected officials about the benefits of an increased investment in biomedical research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), as well as the potentially devastating impact of funding reductions and/or across-the-board cuts (sequestration) currently set to go into effect in January 2013. 

Here’s why this matters to our community:

  • NIH funding for biomedical research benefits people living with Parkinson’s – in Fiscal Year (FY) 2011, NIH funding for Parkinson’s research totaled $151 million.
  • Boosting investment in research is critical to improving the health of all Americans and powering our local economies.
  • NIH needs $32 billion in FY 2013 (a 4% increase over FY 2012 levels) to maintain its current work to find treatments and a cure for Parkinson’s and other diseases.
  • If Congress fails to act and sequestration goes into effect, the NIH faces up to an additional 8% budget cut.  This would mean a quarter of all the grants that NIH issues in FY 2013 would not be funded – and treatments and cures for Parkinson’s may be delayed.

Three things to do:

  1. Schedule meetings with your Members of Congress or their staff.
    To do so, you can either visit your Members’ websites or call their district offices.  Click here to enter your address and obtain contact information for your Members.  Do not be discouraged if your meeting is with a staff member.  Treat your meeting with them just as you would a meeting with the Member, whom they are there to represent.
    Here are talking points you can use for your meetings.  Also, be sure to share your personal experience with Parkinson’s.  This is the most powerful tool you have when explaining to Members of Congress or their staff why an increased investment in NIH research funding is critically important. 
  2. Send a letter to the editor of your local newspaper.
    We’ve made it easy. Here’s a template to customize and send to the editor of your local newspaper.  We’ve bracketed and capitalized the areas for you to customize (to find out how much NIH funding went to your state in Fiscal Year 2011, visit the NIH website).  It’s especially important to include the name of your Senators and Representative in your letter to the editor.  That gets the attention of the Members’ office.  Also, please note that most newspapers have a word limit for letters (usually 200 words), so we’ve kept the message short and to the point.
    Check your newspaper’s website or editorial/letters page for instructions on how to submit letters to the editor.  Many newspapers have an automated letter-submission page on their websites, while others provide an email address for you to use.  Remember to include the text of the letter in the body of your email to the newspaper – emails with attachments go right into their spam folders and are often not seen or considered.
    Finally, let us know if your letter is printed – we’d love to see a copy!  Please send the letter directly to Carol Blymire, Director of Communications, at cblymire@parkinsonsaction.org.
  3. Find and attend a town hall meeting.
    To find out when and where these are being held, check your Members’ websites, Facebook and/or Twitter accounts, local newspapers, or call their offices.  Some town hall meetings are held telephonically.  Don’t be afraid to ask your questions on the phone or in person.  Here are questions you can ask.

Remember to let us know how it went!  Click here to complete an easy feedback form so that we can learn from your conversations and discussions with your Members of Congress and their staff.

Need More Information on Sequestration?

As a part of the Budget Control Act of 2011, Congress was charged with finding an agreement that would cut the budget deficit by $1.2 trillion over 10 years, or automatic across-the-board cuts (sequestration) would go into effect.  Because biomedical research grants are often multi-year, it would be nearly impossible to reverse the effects of sequestration if it occurs.  If NIH funding is cut, even for just one year, decades of critical research on a cure for Parkinson’s and other diseases could be wiped out.  Congress can still act to prevent these devastating cuts, and that is why it is imperative to reach out to your Members over August Recess.  For a more in-depth summary of sequestration, click here.



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