Foundation Hosts 2022 Advocacy Leadership Symposium
Earlier this week, the Lupus Foundation of America virtually brought together dozens of lupus advocates from around the country to participate in the first-ever Advocacy Leadership Symposium. The two-day event provided advocates with updates on the latest initiatives from the Foundation as well as advocacy trainings to prepare them to meet virtually with their members of Congress on the event’s second day.
March is a critical month in the congressional calendar as members of Congress begin the process of funding the government for the next fiscal year. While the National Lupus Advocacy Summit is typically held in March and provides the platform for lupus advocates to have their voices heard at the earliest stages of the budgeting process, due to the ongoing challenges presented by COVID-19, the 2022 Summit was moved to June.
The Advocacy Leadership Symposium was created to ensure the voices of lupus advocates continue to be heard throughout the year, despite COVID-19, while also giving lupus advocates represented by members of Congress who serve on their chamber’s respective Appropriations Committee the opportunity to advocate in support of funding for critical lupus research and education programs.
Symposium attendees held more than 30 virtual meetings with members of Congress on Tuesday, sharing their lupus story and advocating for fiscal year 2023 funding for vital lupus programs, including:
- $12 million for the National Lupus Patient Registry at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention;
- $15 million for the Lupus Research Program at the Department of Defense;
- $2 million for the Lupus Program at the Office of Minority Health;
- Continued strong support for the National Institutes of Health.
The Symposium represents one of the very first steps in our advocacy efforts to ensure the federal government supports lupus research and education in fiscal year 2023. In the coming weeks, the Congressional Lupus Caucus co-chairs will circulate their annual Dear Colleague letter to generate support for these same programs among their colleagues in the House of Representatives.
While this event was targeted to reach only a specific small group of members of Congress, as the appropriations process moves forward there will be many opportunities for lupus advocates around the country to engage with their elected officials. To ensure you don't miss one of those opportunities to advocate for the lupus community, and to receive updates on the congressional budgeting process, sign up as an advocate!