How Your Voice is Heard: The Mechanics of NACDD National Advocacy

By: Mehul Dalal, M.D., president, NACDD Board of Directors and chronic disease director at the Connecticut Department of Public Health.

Noise and confusion seem to be the baseline operating conditions in Washington these days, but I wanted to share with you the ways that NACDD is breaking through that noise, on your behalf, so that your voice can be heard and your constituents better served. During the last few months, I’ve had the privilege of representing our work to key Washington stakeholders. Although the federal commitment to chronic disease prevention and health promotion remains uncertain, NACDD is working strategically to protect funding for our work, relying on the following principles:

NACDD employs an inclusive and bipartisan approach. Through our strategic partnership with Cornerstone Government Affairs, our messages are heard (and resonate) on both sides of the aisle.

NACDD works diligently to align messages with partner organizations, harnessing the power of consistent messaging across multiple advocacy groups.

NACDD commits to relationship building with our Washington contacts, serving as a credible and trusted source of information on chronic disease prevention and control, and health promotion.

Because of the way we advocate and align with our partners, we have seen a few important successes occur recently.

While a myriad of voices were competing for the limited attention and time of legislators in key committee roles, NACDD has been working strategically and diligently to build value relationships with key legislative staffers.

This targeted approach helped to ensure that NACDD was one of only about two dozen organizations selected to testify before the House Labor HHS appropriations subcommittee, which provides and oversees CDC funding. I had the honor of delivering our testimony to that subcommittee, and thanks to the government relations team that crafted an inclusive, compelling, and bipartisan message, our testimony was received positively by both Chairman Tom Cole (R) and Ranking member Rosa Delauro (D).

In May, at CDC’s request, NACDD hosted a national partners’ meeting to review the president’s budget proposal for the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Major national organizations including ASTHO, NACCHO, the American Diabetes Association, the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, and Y-USA were part of the meeting. As the group discussed a plan for a collective response to the budget proposal, it was clear that the NACDD-Cornerstone partnership was vital to informing a collaborative, calibrated, and strategic response.  As result of that meeting, NACDD led a sign-on letter addressed to the House and Senate appropriations subcommittee, which garnered almost 300 signatures. The letter was characterized by a positive tone, demonstrating strong alignment among diverse partners.

Your work matters to every day Americans and to our country’s future. I am honored to serve on your behalf to share your successes with our nation’s leaders. And we will continue to make the case on the Hill that chronic disease prevention and control and health promotion are critical tools to promoting a strong and thriving nation.

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