Why advocate? Our lawmakers work for us, so they need to know what we want them to do. They constantly hear from lobbyists for special interest groups that want lawmakers to keep their concerns in mind when making changes to the tax code, crafting the budget, and enacting public policy that impacts us all. Your patients and their families don’t have their own lobbyists, so they need citizen advocates to look out for their interests. Keep in mind, too, that decision-makers are not likely to have health or medical backgrounds, so they need to hear from people who do. They actually like to hear from their constituents. Pediatricians are trusted messengers about issues around the health and well-being of our state’s children.
Who are your legislators? Find out by entering your home address here
Find out who represents you in Congress and how to contact them here
speak up for kids at the ballot box. Download the toolkit here (pdf)
Tips for Advocating on Behalf of the Agenda for New Mexico's Children
New Mexico's children need your help! Children in the Land of Enchantment face greater barriers to
well-being than any other children in the nation. We're hoping to break down some of those barriers
with our Agenda for New Mexico's Children, which focuses on the most urgent needs of children and
families and includes 20 recommendations in 10 categories. We've created some resources that are
specific to the Agenda (although many of them will work on other advocacy areas) to help you advocate
for these policies.
Learning about Advocacy
The American Academy of Pediatrics has provided some short PowerPoint training modules that provide tips on various areas of advocacy:
Overview of the Legislative Process A brief presentation on the basics of how governments shape and enact public policy and how you can make a difference. Also includes links to more resources.
Working with Decision-Makers: Legislative Visit A tip sheet with various scenarios you can expect when you visit with your legislators and how to handle them.
Working in Partnerships Strategies for how to leverage the help of other individuals, organizations, alliances, and coalitions to accomplish your advocacy goal.
Working with Decision-Makers Pointers for what to keep in mind when you contact decision-makers by phone, email, snail mail or in one-on-one meetings.
Advocacy Communications Tips for how to craft your message and deliver it to the news media.
Communications Opportunities Ideas for when and how to incorporate advocacy communications in your work day.
Voting with Children’s Health and a Pediatrician’s Schedule in Mind How to use nonpartisan election work to advance your issue.
Writing Letters to the Editor
One way to advocate on the issues that are important to you that can reach a fairly large audience—including decision-makers and opinion leaders—is to write a letter to the editor. All newspapers have different guidelines for letters (word length, submission format, etc.) but most prefer to print letters that relate to a news story or editorial they recently published. They also generally give preference to letters from people who live in their readership area.
Click on the links below to see letters requirements for several local newspapers: