The 2012 DHA Advocacy Day took place June 19–20, 2012 in Washington, DC. Digestive Health Alliance advocates from across the country gathered in the nation’s capital for the annual, twoday event to educate Members of Congress about the needs of the functional gastrointestinal and motility disorders (FGIMDs) community.
A networking dinner on Tuesday evening featured an update on federal research at the National Institutes of Health by Stephen James, M.D., Director, Division of Digestive Diseases and Nutrition, NIDDK, and a review of the 2012 DHA legislative agenda.
On Wednesday, advocates visited nearly 40 offices meeting with House and Senate staff and Members of Congress to urge support for a legislative agenda focused on bolstering research into functional gastrointestinal and motility disorders and improving patient care. The digestive health advocates represented many different disorders. They shared their personal stories in urging Members of Congress to take action on 3 specific and critical issues:
The day concluded with a briefing we sponsored for congressional staff members where many more offices also learned about functional GI and motility disorders. The briefing featured testimony from a practicing physician and two people who live with digestive conditions.
Elisabeth Vink from IFFGD/DHA and Albena Halpert, M.D., Asst. Professor of Medicine at Boston University School of Medicine described the widespread and complex nature of these disorders, their social and economic costs, the lack of satisfactory treatments, and the need for expanded research. Reneé Pickle, who suffers from IBS and GERD; and Hollie Moots, who suffers from gastroparesis, described in compelling everyday terms the challenges and burdens of living with chronic FGIMDs.
During the discussion that followed, several other advocates, as well as some Congressional staff members, shared personal experiences of living with a FGIMD and supporting the need for improved care.
Please add your voice. You can tell your story and ask your House Member to support the Functional Gastrointestinal and Motility Disorders Research Enhancement Act of 2011 (H.R. 2239) by going to our web page at www.iffgd.org/2239action. It only takes a minute or two to make a big difference.