Post Contributed by Katia Zogg, SNDA Public Policy Committee Leader
I attended the Public Policy and Advocacy 101: How to Get Things Done! webinar last week hosted by the California Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and wanted to share a few notes about what I learned and how you can advocate for public policy issues that impact the field of nutrition and dietetics and our nation’s health. Brenda O’Day, MS, RDN, CNSC, the Vice President of Public Policy for the California Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, was the webinar speaker and she provided great insight and resources that we can take advantage of to advocate for public policies that will affect the future of the dietetics field and the health of our nation’s population. Getting involved and advocating for policies related to nutrition, food, and health can positively change our nation’s well-being and our careers.
You may be wondering, why does advocacy matter? Can I make a difference? Advocating gives a voice to those that are vulnerable who may not be able to speak for themselves. Their rights, views, and wishes will be considered when decisions about their lives are being made. Last month at the 2018 Public Policy Workshop in Washington, DC, over 1,400 nutrition professionals attended the event--the largest turnout yet! They spoke to members of congress about malnutrition and how it is impacting the aging population and our health care system. Their message was for inclusion of diagnosis and treatment of malnutrition as part of high-quality health care. By coming together, we can influence the future of our nation’s health and the future of our profession and give those that are vulnerable a chance to be heard.
How the Academy advocates for public policy
How YOU can advocate for public policy and get involved
I encourage you to take action! You can send action alerts for the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act and for prevention and treatment of malnutrition. We know that obesity is on the rise and the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act will allow for treatment through intensive behavioral therapy, allow for quality care at a low cost, and increase patient’s access to obesity treatment. Additionally, diagnosis and treatment of malnutrition can improve patient’s strength, quality of life, and decrease length of hospital stays. There is strength in numbers and these small actions can make huge changes!
California State Capitol Museum (n.d.). Capitol Side [photograph]. http://capitolmuseum.ca.gov/
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