New Advocacy Tools and IFFGD/DHA Advocacy Day 2012 For Functional GI and Motility Disorders

IFFGD has let us know that new online tools have been installed on its website to make it quicker and easier for U.S. citizens to email Congress to advocate for HR 2239, the Functional Gastrointestinal and Motility Disorders Research Enhancement Act. HR 2239 is currently under consideration in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Capwiz is a software program commonly used by organizations and advocacy groups to mobilize support for legislation related to their causes. To use this tool, go to the Capwiz link on the IFFGD website and type in your zipcode. In some geographical areas where parts of a single zipcode may fall in different districts, you will be prompted to type in the exact street address. Capwiz will automatically identify the correct Representative for that address and generate a partial form letter composed by IFFGD that explains HR 2239 and asks for the Representative’s support. You will have the opportunity to add some brief comments of your own.

Your specific personal experiences as a person with IBS and/or other functional gastrointestinal disorder or a family member, friend or professional who supports us, and how HR 2239 is needed are most effective in communicating that we are real people behind the statistics. However, even a polite general request can demonstrate to your Member of Congress that there are many constituents interested in the swift passage of this Act.

Please sign your real full name, physical address and email address in the Capwiz form prior to submitting your email. A message on that screen states that contact information “will not be used for any purpose other than to identify you to the recipient,” your Representative’s office.This is important so that Congressional staff members know that you are actually a constituent/potential voter in the district and they have a means to reply, although a response may take a while. Legislators generally do not accept communications from those outside their own districts. However, IBS Impact encourages readers to spread the word to U.S. citizen relatives, friends, coworkers and others who have been supportive about IBS needs and ask them to contact their own Representatives. Using Capwiz is very quick and easy.

For a real life example of a concerned parent’s efforts to spread awareness of functional gastrointestinal disorders and HR 2239, see the February 14, 2012 post. For the latest status update on the progress of HR 2239, see the December 18, 2011 post. For background information on HR 2239, including links to the full text of the legislation, see the July 6, 2011 post.

For readers who are interested in becoming more deeply involved in efforts to pass HR 2239, IFFGD’s grassroots arm, the Digestive Health Alliance, has also announced Advocacy Day 2012, which will take place in Washington, DC on June 19-20. Participants will join IFFGD/DHA staff and functional GI and motility researchers in meeting directly with legislators regarding HR 2239 and/or other important digestive health issues The advocacy activities are free of charge and two meals will be provided. However, those traveling to Washington, DC from outside the area must pay for their own transportation and hotel accommodations. IFFGD has secured a group rate at an area hotel for the event. Registration for the event will be open until May 28 at the above link.

IBS Impact supports having as many options as possible for people to choose the advocacy issues and methods that interest them. Add your voice to those in the IBS and functional gastrointestinal and motility disorder community who are already speaking out. If you have contacted your Representative before with no results, don’t stop, but try again. Every person, collectively, makes a difference, on HR 2239 and other issues of concern to our community.

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