Monday, February 28, 2011

Find Your Voice and Use It at the 2011 DC FLI

By Christine Girard, ND
2010 AANP Physician of the Year

The AANP will train you to become an advocate for naturopathic medicine.
This year, I’ve had the honor of testifying before the Arizona Senate Health Committee, regarding expanding the ND scope of practice, and the Iowa Senate State Government subcommittee on regarding ND licensure in that state. If you’re like me, speaking before legislators feels daunting - important, but daunting. It has taken me years to feel anything close to comfortable and I owe that to the DC FLI.

For those who aren’t familiar with the DC FLI, it is the Federal Legislative Initiative, that the AANP hosts in Washington, D.C., each May. The event is free for all members and serves as a great opportunity for students and physicians alike to connect with their legislators in Washington. If you’re new to the game, want to learn the ropes, and feel safer doing so with friends and colleagues, this is the way to go. The three-day event is well-organized and offers two days of interactive and comprehensive preparation for your day on the Hill.

In addition to the training, the AANP schedules your meeting with legislators and makes sure you are part of a small group so you don't feel out on a limb. Additionally, the will provide you with packets that include fact sheets about the issues, biographies of your legislators, and leave-behind materials. Your day on the Hill will culminate with a reception featuring organic food, wine and chocolate, an even that legislators and their staffers have come to know and love.

There’s an amazing energy about the FLI. Part of the it is generated by NDs coming together with purpose. The other part is the amazing experience of finding one’s voice – and using it!

Every year I attend the FLI, I am reminded of how important it is that we become or remain connected to our legislators. If we don’t state who we are as a profession or voice what is important to us, who will? No one or, worse yet, our opponents.

Join me this year. Raise your voice and feel the energy of purpose.

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