Attend Town Hall Meetings
- Bring patients and board members to town hall meetings. Personal stories that bring to life how Health Centers are changing lives and improving health are powerful.
- Prepare to speak about the health challenges in your community and what your Health Center is doing to address them.
- Ask the elected official to strengthen your Health Center’s ability to serve the community.
Offer to Give Public Testimony
Public hearings are one way legislators learn the opinions of their constituents.
- Express in advance your availability to testify about your Health Center, or arrive early to the hearing location to sign up to speak.
- Keep your testimony personal and explain how your Health Center reduces health care costs, increases access to quality care, and is creating/supporting local jobs.
- State your most important points first in case you aren’t given the time to finish.
- Offer solutions not complaints.
- Close within 5 minutes.
- Bring 25 copies of your testimony to the hearing and send copies of your testimony to your own elected officials, asking them to support your position, and to MPCA’s Chief Executive Officer, Loretta V. Bush at email@example.com.
Write Letters to the Editor of Your Local Newspaper
- Respond to stories about the lack of access to health care and rising health care costs, and include how your Health Center is solving the problem.
- Thank your elected officials publicly through the press when they do something that positively impacts Health Centers.
- Clarify facts in a previous news story.
- Email copies to your elected officials and to MPCA’s Communications Manager, Alyssa Jones, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Use Social Media to Advocate
Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube enable advocates to address their elected officials directly.
Develop Relationships with Legislative Staff
Building strong relationships with legislative staff is just as important as building strong relationships with elected officials. Legislative staff are key players in policy decisions, and elected officials rely heavily on staff expertise and input—so never view legislative staff as a "last resort” or "second best.” Plus, legislative staff are often more accessible than elected officials.
- When you call a Congressional office, you are most likely to be connected with staff, rather than the legislator.
- Staff may be substituted for legislators in face-to-face meetings.
- Each U.S. Senator and U.S. Representative has a staff in Washington, DC, and a staff in his/her district or state.
- Get to know key staff in a legislative office, including the receptionist, scheduler, chief of staff, administrative assistant, and health legislative assistant.
- Educate district staff about the importance of Health Centers in your community and offer to help with constituent casework.
Health Center Advocacy Resources
Housed within the MPCA website is a wealth of educational and resource materials on a variety of topics relevant to Michigan Health Centers and the delivery of primary and preventive care to medically underserved areas and populations. To access Health Center Advocacy Resources you may search the website by keyword using the search field at the top of this page, or you may search the Health Center Advocacy Resources webpage.