The Fox Focus Spring/Summer 2017 - Page 9

Policy eyes. It made me proud to be part of this essential work.” In addition to underlining the need for high-quality, affordable care, advocates asked their senators and representatives to secure funding for four agencies essential to PD research and drug development: the National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Department of Defense. Basic scientific discovery at the federal level is critical to driving Parkinson’s research, and the Food and Drug Administration plays an important role in drug development as the regulator of all therapies. Given ongoing budget negotiations, Forum attendees made it clear that robust funding in this area is necessary to further life-changing new treatments and a cure. Care partners also shared their personal stories and urged lawmakers to back policies that would provide them with more support. Caregivers often juggle their own personal responsibilities, workplace demands and families. Policies that recognize the emotional and physical toll this can take are key to improving quality of life for both patients and care partners. “Public policy and advocacy are central to addressing patients’ needs, and the Foundation is committed to providing continued leadership on issues being debated by our elected officials,” says the Foundation’s CEO, Todd Sherer, PhD. “Over the course of our short history we have been proud to testify before key congressional subcommittees, as well as partner with the National Institutes of Health and the Presidential Commission on Bioethics, among others. We’ve witnessed an increased appetite to hear directly from organizations like ours with a track record of innovation and impact, and hope to continue serving in this way. And we’re grateful to our dedicated advocates for being essential partners in this work.” YOUR VOICE IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER For people with Parkinson’s disease (PD) and their loved ones, effective advocacy is arguably more important than ever. Legislation with the potential to impact the Parkinson’s community is being introduced — speaking up about your needs is critical. Through our commitment to public policy, The Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF) is working to ensure access to affordable health care and treatments, and to protect our country’s federal investments in medical research. These efforts support our search for new therapies and a cure, but we need your help to amplify the priorities of this community. Here is how you and your family can take action. STAY INFORMED: MJFF is monitoring policymakers on Capitol Hill and in the White House. We’re 9 Spring/Summer 2017 keeping a close watch on activities that could resonate in the Parkinson’s community, and we’ll share news about potential proposals that could impact you. Stay educated at michaeljfox.org/policyblog. CONTACT CONGRESS: Communicating with your elected officials is an important part of the lawmaking process. As members of Congress contemplate changes to our health care system and the ways in which new therapies are reviewed and approved, they must consider how you’d be personally affected. But they won’t know unless you tell them directly about your interests. Contact your lawmakers and make your voice heard at michaeljfox.org/congress. Inspired to volunteer and further our public policy efforts? Fill out at an interest form at michaeljfox.org/community.