There is one language more universal than any other. It is not Mandarin Chinese, English, or Spanish. This language holds no strange pronunciations or syntactical rules that leave new language learners scratching their heads. Rather, it is accessible to everyone who has ideas and passions, and who fundamentally believes in advancing mankind and speaking for a cause. This language is universally understood because there is never a lapse in the need for people to speak for rights, ideas, and policies.
This is the language of advocacy; the need to communicate in this language exists everywhere.
The Alphabet: Basics in the Language of Advocacy
Advocacy, generally, involves speaking or acting with the intention of affecting or changing specific policies, systems, or ideas. This change can occur in an array of settings: governmental, health, social, economic, and legal, among others. This change can be promoted throughout various social and governmental levels or be applied to lower level organizations – businesses and schools, for example.
Some of the many types of advocacy to enact change include:
- Express and Issue Advocacy – usually regarding a specific political campaign, letting the public know that they should vote a certain way to
- Budget Advocacy – all about transparency in how all levels of the government spend their budget, usually to ensure that voters can see how money is divided between certain groups of people in need
- Federal Advocacy – targeting the state legislators to push for certain change
- Bureaucratic or Professional Advocacy – Professionals in a field who work more methodically and academically in presenting their ideas to policy-makers
- Mass Advocacy – Organized and orchestrated through large groups (i.e. polls, protests)
- Media Advocacy – Using media as the primary means to promote a specific cause
- Health Advocacy – Supporting the rights of patients and improving the community of people who care about patients
- Self-Advocacy – Motions taken by individuals to support their own rights in the the workplace, schools, etc.
This list is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what advocacy can encompass and who advocates.
So How Does DPAC Work?
DPAC does policy advocacy. Whether advocacy occurs in the school setting or in large groups within the Capitol, advocacy is meant to enact changes through educating policy-makers on issues that advocates care about.
From here, advocates gather support and organize themselves into groups so that those who make the decision listen to what seems to be a public consensus. Once this occurs, it is vital that decision-makers make the advocacy platform their own, to present it as their own idea in order to push for this change in the legislative or professional realms.
This sort of process for advocacy, with the goal of changing specific government policies, programs, and ideas, is considered policy advocacy. Policy advocacy can encompass a few of the different “types” of advocacy. As strict policy advocates, DPAC works on the larger scale, advocating to change overall policy as opposed to individualized policy.
Although DPAC does provide tools and resources so that these people can advocate on their own, DPAC focuses on the big issues that affect the entire patient community in the United States.
- DPAC on the Federal Level – DPAC contacts Congress people and those in power in Washington, D.C. DPAC works to influence and speak to Medicare/Medicaid/CMS, the FDA, human services, the NIH
- DPAC on the Insurance Level: Speaking to the individual insurers, but not in the form of individual advocacy and appeals.
- DPAC and State Legislatures – DPAC works for equality and access among people within the states and various constituencies, and between states
- DPAC and Giving Individuals the Tools – While never focusing on discrimination cases or individual appeals, DPAC empowers individuals to be able to advocate for themselves and people like them in the business, educational, or insurance worlds. This is not specifically policy advocacy.
- DPAC and Lobbying? Lobbying is directly contacting policy-makers with the intent to change or push certain legislation. DPAC can lobby, but focuses its efforts primarily on policy advocacy, which is arguing in favor of something with an overarching purpose to educate. Advocacy is speaking your thoughts a little louder, whether that is to policy-makers or insurance companies
DPAC advocates for safety, quality, and access in policy-making and in the diabetes world.
Advocacy must exist wherever human populations and government systems exist. DPAC is essentially a “New Language Learning Platform.”
DPAC helps you learn the language of advocating for the ideas that fire you up. DPAC helps you learn how to speak for other people in order to act, maintain, fight for, and change policies that impact the livelihood of those with or affected by diabetes.