Welcome to Advocacy Day 2019!
This page will prepare you to participate in Advocacy Day— part of our 2019 National School-Based Health Care Convention—on Tuesday, June 25. Whether you’re an experienced advocate or a first-time visitor to a Congressional office, the tips and materials on this page will help you prepare for productive meetings with your Members of Congress.
Start by telling a compelling story, and you’ll leave representatives prepared to make a decision that benefits school-based health centers (SBHCs) and the children and adolescents who rely upon them.
Our priority legislative “ask” this year is for your Members of Congress to cosponsor the School-Based Health Centers Reauthorization Act (H.R.2075/S.1013), the bipartisan and bicameral bill that extends the School-Based Health Centers program authorization through 2024.
Download this factsheet for more information about the SBHC Reauthorization Act of 2019.
Want more information about how to advocate for school-based health centers? Please review this archived webinar, full of information to help you prepare for Hill Day.
Overview of the Day – Tuesday, June 25
- 8:00am – 9:00am – state group check-in and rally (hotel)
- Travel to Capitol Hill via Metro
- 10:00am – 2:00pm Capitol Hill visits
- Return to hotel – Convention resumes at 2:30pm
Why we advocate. Senators and Representatives rely on you to provide information about how school-based health care is working in your community. You are the expert; it’s your job as an advocate to represent the views of constituents at home and to persuade.
- Advocacy versus lobbying: Advocacy is the active promotion of a cause or principle (such as through education) on a specific topic. Lobbying involves conducting activities aimed at influencing public officials regarding specific legislation.
- Appropriations: A type of legislation that sets spending levels.
- Authorization: A type of legislation that creates a program and, as such, allows federal funding. Authorizations may be annual, multi-year, or permanent. Expiring programs require reauthorization.
- Congressional staff and their titles: Members of Congress are assisted by staff with varying levels of responsibility, including (in rough order of seniority) chiefs of staff; deputy chiefs of staff; legislative directors, legislative counsels, legislative assistants, legislative aide/legislative correspondent, and staff assistants.
Now let’s get to work planning your meeting!
This year, our state affiliate leaders will serve as “state captains”. They will largely be in charge of scheduling visits with your Congressional delegation and making sure convention registrants from their states are informed about the visits.
State captains will be reaching out to their state’s convention attendees in the weeks leading up to Advocacy Day.
States without State Captains
If you’ve registered for the convention and are from a state that does not have an active School-Based Health Care Alliance chapter, you will be contacted by our policy staff, Brooke Lehmann and Megan Zuckerman who will assist in organizing your state attendees.
Outreach Week: May 20-24
In order to give Capitol Hill staffers plenty of advanced notice, we are designating the week of May 20 as the time period to contact staff in your Congressional delegation offices requesting meetings. If for some reason you are unable to take the time during that week to schedule your meetings, please do so as soon as you can.
Research the Representative or Senator
Learn about your members by visiting their official website; their biography, committee assignments, and caucuses reveal important information about the issues they care most about. Prioritize those Members on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions both of which have jurisdiction over SBHC policies. Make sure to read the section on health care and note their positions or concerns. You might learn that your representative is a former emergency room doctor, is married to a high school teacher, and is especially concerned about controlling the costs of asthma or improving identification of mental health problems—information you can use to persuade during your meeting.
Understand Who Is Part of Your Group
If more than one advocate is attending the meeting, it’s important to make sure that you have a well-coordinated plan for each meeting so you can maximize your time with each staffer. First, designate an individual to lead the meeting. This person will do introductions and will also share general information about the SBHC model and basic information about SBHCs in your state. If you have providers, administrators, youth, etc. in the room, we encourage you to pinpoint who will tell their story so you can leverage the different perspectives of your group.
Also consider designating someone to take notes (and perhaps a picture). You can certainly compare notes after the meetings, but it’s wise to have one person—perhaps a different person for each meeting—actively listen to and note what Congressional staff are saying. This scribe should also notice when the staffer(s) takes notes, which may represent what part of your presentation they are particularly interested in.
Please be sure to include the expected size of your group in your email to staff requesting a meeting. We recommend that no more than 4-5 people attend each meeting, as large groups can cause issues with room availability among other logistical challenges. However, if you have youth or simply aren’t comfortable splitting up, then be sure to inform the staff ahead of time!
Plan Your Meeting
Use this worksheet to help plan your meeting. Once filled out, this worksheet will be useful to have on hand to refer to during your meetings. Please also remember to bring business cards. It is common practice to share these cards at the beginning of each meeting so be prepared.
Remember, following up is just as important as the meeting itself. Your goal is to build an ongoing relationship with this office. You need to stay on their radar to compete with other interest groups and constituents vying for their attention.
After the visit, be sure to send a thank you note to the staff members at your meeting within a day or so. Confirm the details of your conversation (such as whether the member will consider co-sponsoring the SBHC Reauthorization bill). If you didn’t invite the staff or Member to visit an SBHC in your state/district during the meeting, this is a great time to do so. And, if you did extend an invitation, this is a great way to reiterate your offer. Add the staff to your e-newsletter and update them regularly on your local SBHC successes and news. Ensure you are a resource to your Congressional staff when they need information about the children and youth you serve!
We will be updating this table periodically as new meetings are scheduled.
If you schedule a visit, please click here to let us know and we will add it to the table below as soon as possible.
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We invite you to participate in social media during 2019 Advocacy Day. Please be sure to include our convention hashtag (#SBHC19) in all of your posts.
Advocacy Day Training (Convention Session D8)
“Advancing SBHC Policies in Today’s Climate”
Monday, June 24
This “policy 101” session will cover the fundamentals of how public policy is enacted and the opportunities for championing local, state, and federal policies that ensure all children will thrive. The presenters will brush up your current understanding of how our government functions, taking you beyond, “I’m just a bill…sitting here on Capitol Hill.” Veteran lobbyists will help increase your knowledge about the policy-making process and build your confidence to engage effectively in moving your organization’s priorities forward in a new and dynamic Congress.
Please be sure that your state leader or state meeting contact picks up hill visit folders for your state’s House and Senate meetings, prior to the Tuesday morning rally. Folders can be picked up at the convention registration table anytime on Monday.