Thursday Policy Workshop

If you are interested in attending the Full Day Policy Workshop on Thursday, June 21st, fill out this survey, where you can choose your off-site excursion preference. Don't wait! Space is limited and on a first come, first served basis!

Policy and Advocacy Workshop Overview

With our Annual Conference being in Washington DC this year, we have the privilege of interacting, learning, educating, and making connections with organizations, policymakers, and legislators involved in health care decision making. Participants in this workshop will have the opportunity to gain the tools they need to take action either nationally, or in their own communities.

Since what happens between the four walls of the clinic only contributes a small percentage to health, it is important to recognize the role of social and structural factors. These include policies that impact our patients’ abilities to live healthy, productive lives. If we truly want to advance health equity, we as clinicians and healers must focus on the social determinants of health, and it is also important that we engage in policy and advocacy efforts.

The morning session of this workshop will be made up of didactic presentations looking at policy and advocacy on both a legislative and grassroots level. Participants will learn the basics of advocacy including how to speak to policymakers on Capitol Hill or in their own districts.  Additionally, they will learn how to advocate within their own communities through a session that includes local food justice change agents who are enabling DC communities to exercise their right to grow, sell, and eat healthy food that is fresh, nutritious, affordable, culturally-appropriate, and grown locally with care for the well-being of the community.

In the afternoon attendees will have two options: (1) a Congressional Briefing on Capitol Hill focused on "Non-Drug Solutions for Chronic Pain and Opioid Use in Underserved Populations," or (2) a tour of local sites focused on food justice founded through grassroots organizations advocating to address food insecurity in their communities.

Off-site Option 1 - Congressional Briefing:  "Non-Drug Solutions for Chronic Pain and Opioid Use in Underserved Populations"

Maximum Attendance: 25

The Congressional Briefing will be aimed towards Congressional staffers working on health care, and will look at what is currently being done in Federally Qualified Health Centers including behavioral health interventions, acupuncture, chiropractic, group medical visits, and more. It will highlight the data, cost-savings, as well as provider and patient satisfaction, including a patient testimonial. It will also cover the barriers to effectively implementing these non-drug approaches, specifically a lack of reimbursement of many of these evidenced-based practitioners and services because they are not considered "billable" in FQHCs.  Participants will have an opportunity to witness firsthand a briefing intended to educate staffers and legislators who have the ability to change policy on a federal level.

Off-Site Option 2 - Food Justice Site Visit: "Community Grassroots Action for Real Change"

Maximum Attendance:  15

Food is a critical factor in maintaining health and wellbeing, as well as a vital element for quality of life. Yet, access to adequate, appropriate, and healthy food is constrained in many urban communities in the United States, with one in six individuals facing hunger and food insecurity.  Many of these communities are deemed as “food deserts”, areas that lack access to affordable fruits, vegetables, and other foods that make up the full range of a healthy diet.  Food deserts not only create problems of hunger and food access, they are linked to numerous adverse health outcomes, including increased rates of morbidity and mortality due to diet-related diseases, most of which could be preventable.

The tour will showcase best practice models in the food justice arena that seek to eliminate food insecurity in underserved communities.  This includes a visit to a location creating an urban agriculture enterprise; a pioneering venture that is sustainably expanding healthy food access by delivering fresh produce and healthy snacks to corner stores in DC’s food deserts; a facility that provides underserved children and families access to “no cost” fresh fruits and vegetables, cultural programs, social services, and medical and dental care; and a site designated as re-purposed land for an urban sustainable garden where members from the community attend interactive workshops on food advocacy and urban gardening. These sites are in Ward 8, a DC community where residents are either at risk or are greatly impacted by illnesses such as hypertension, diabetes, obesity, kidney disease.   

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