Behind the Scenes | Tuesday, April 17, 2018
DDNC Public Policy Forum Q&A With Kim Foley
The Digestive Disease National Coalition (DDNC) Public Policy Forum brings together patients, healthcare providers, industry representatives, lawmakers and their legislative staff for two days of educational programs, legislative updates and advocacy training. The main objective is to brief participants from around the country on federal healthcare legislation and policy and provide the opportunity to educate members of Congress on issues of concern to the digestive disease community.
In an effort to increase SGNA’s representation at the Public Policy Forum, SGNA has made available a number of scholarships to offset travel and housing costs of attending the forum. Here is what scholarship recipient Kim Foley, BSN, had to say about her day on the hill.
How would you describe the significance of this event as it relates to improving public policy and increasing public awareness with respect to diseases of the digestive system?
Participating in the Public Policy Forum (PPF) accomplishes two things. First, it allows me the opportunity to advocate for legislation that will directly benefit our GI patients. This year's focus is access to care and there are 3 bills in particular which address the barriers that prevent patients from vital medications and procedures they need, some of which are life-saving. Secondly, it allows networking with other organizations sharing the same goals thereby increasing the outreach to patients to increase their awareness of the resources available to them for their well being.
Please talk about the importance of advocating for GI issues in general and what motivated you to apply for the scholarship.
It is important for us to advocate for GI issues on many levels. Research may be the most important reason. NIH, the CDC, and the Department of Defense are all dependent on Congressional funding for their programs. It is important that we visit our Congressmen and request funding and support for these agencies. Many medical advances have come from these research projects prolonging and improving the quality of life for many of our patients. Prevention and screening programs are another reason. Our visits raise awareness of legislation and appropriations needed to support and sustain these vital agencies and their work.
What role has SGNA played in helping you elevate your efforts and interest in professional advocacy?
I first became involved with advocacy as Director of Legislative Activities when I served on the national SGNA board. From the very beginning, I loved it! I saw the importance of advocacy and thought a larger SGNA presence would benefit our patients by providing a larger voice for GI issues and help establish our role of leadership in GI nursing. Without hesitation, the Board decided to offer scholarships to defray the cost of attending the Public Policy Forum. They also formed the Healthcare Policy Committee and encouraged all SGNA members to consider attending the PPF to advocate for their patients.