Thursday, February 17, 2011

More on Steps Toward a Congressional Hearing

One of the best ways to build momentum for a Congressional hearing is to cultivate a relationship with your Representative and Senators, especially those on the committees listed in my earlier blog post.

Groups or individuals can do this by asking for a meeting at their Representative's or Senator's local in-state or district office. Try calling and asking for the staff person in charge of health for such a meeting.

Explain that you have a disease that was investigated by the CDC in the mid-1980s but that federal research into it has been derailed from the original cohort and subsequent pandemic.

Bring some information with you to the meeting that summarizes the situation but isn't overwhelming. Many members of Congress know little or nothing about our disease, or are misinformed. Start making them aware of the politics involved by handing out copies of something like Hillary Johnson's Op-Ed piece in the New York Times:

After the initial contact, it's very important to continue to call, email, and visit and provide more information.

The idea is to keep up a sustained campaign of engagement, even if it is simply a semi-monthly email to the health staffer.

For those who aren't able to get out, I'd suggest calling  and getting the name of Washington, DC legislative assistant in charge of health matters. Then keep in touch by email as outlined above.


  1. Hi Liz:
    What is the time phrame for a Congressional Hearing...start to finish?

  2. Thanks again, Liz, good information!

  3. Julia, the length of a hearing depends on a lot of factors. A hearing can last a few hours or a few months. Are you old enough to remember the Watergate hearings? They went on for months!

    The more detailed information the Committee has that provides evidence of a significant problem, the more likely we could get a decent hearing lasting long enough to uncover everything that needs to be uncovered.

    But the real key is attracting the interest of the chairpersons of the relevant committees.

    And Khaly, thank you! Information is power, IMHO.