Diabetes policy advocacy can seem overwhelming when you think about all that goes into it. You may have preconceived notions as to why you aren’t involved. At DPAC, we get this.
And now, we’re outlining the top five reasons why we thought we couldn’t “do” diabetes policy advocacy – and then what we did to change those perceptions:
1.) I don’t have the time to commit to something that big.
Being a diabetes advocate can be done in less than a few minutes a day. Using the Act Now tab at the DPAC website to send a message to your policymaker, reading a post on an issue important to the diabetes community, sharing your thoughts in social media will all help raise awareness about diabetes policy advocacy.
You do what you can. No one is asking you to chuck your job and go on the road, stumping daily for diabetes awareness or reimbursement. No one is asking you to spend your days in a suit, waiting in corridors to spend a few minutes with an aide for your Congressperson. Pick what is important to you, but don’t do nothing. You can make a difference in a few minutes per day.
2.) I have no clue where to begin.
That’s why DPAC was founded. We wanted to make diabetes policy advocacy simple and create a place where you can go, get the information about what’s important, and then take action. Click on the Issues or Act Now tabs on DPAC’s website. You can choose an action right now and complete it in less than two minutes. That’s how easy diabetes advocacy can be with the Diabetes Patient Advocacy Coalition.
(We also recommend the ADA’s great primer if you have no idea where to begin.)
3.) I’m not going to make a difference.
Think so? You do. Every letter that is written, every call that is made, every tweet, every visit raises awareness of what diabetes is, how it impacts us, and what we need to be healthy. We saw the difference over 300 of us made when we voiced our comments on the accuracy of blood glucose meters to the FDA. Can you imagine what 3,000 comments could do? 30,000?
The only way that you are not going to make a difference is if you do nothing. If you do something, anything at all, it will make a difference. A letter, a phone call, a Tweet, a Like, a Share, every action you take helps raise awareness of what diabetes is and how it impacts the lives of not only those who live with the disease, but the people that surround them.
Every time you share the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, or explain what insulin does, or why you can eat that donut, you are advocating for diabetes awareness. Want to rattle off some statistics? Easy. Here is the full list, but you can memorize this one from the CDC:
If current trends continue, 1 of 3 U.S. adults will have Type 2 diabetes by 2050.
So, be the start of advocacy by starting to do something.
4.) I’m too shy.
If speaking in front of people is not your thing, no problem. You don’t have to speak. You can write a letter, write an article to be submitted to your local newspaper, write a blog post, a Tweet, a Facebook status update… gosh, you don’t even have to advocate for diabetes policy! Put a walk team together to help raise funds for research – anything else that doesn’t require speaking.
Don’t think that you have to be front and center and advertise about your advocacy. People who advocate “behind the scenes” do important things.
5.) I might say something stupid.
The only thing that would be stupid, is not saying or doing anything at all.
Find out what your passion is about diabetes. Ask yourself:
“What bothers me the most about diabetes?”
Got your answer? Good. That’s your passion.
From there, you can then Google additional information and learn the facts. You may also come across others in the diabetes community that share this passion. Reach out to those people and ask what you can do.
If you want to change the status quo, create a change within your passion, you need to take action for yourself. Your passion may not be everyone else’s passion, so act on what matters to you.
Start right now:
When it comes to diabetes policy advocacy, DPAC believes in keeping it simple. We think that’s the fastest and easiest way to advocate.