In June 2013, IFFGD advocates headed to Capitol Hill to visit congressional offices to express the importance of research, education, and awareness of functional GI and motility disorders (FGIMDs). The group, made up of patients and family members of those affected by FGIMDs, all had different stories to share. Some were experienced Capitol Hill visitors who had been with us for Advocacy Day in years past. Others were coming to Washington, D.C. for the first time. All of them were committed, caring individuals who were ready to take action in the hopes of making a difference.
We had four main points to make when visiting our Congressional offices:
- It’s important to continue funding research at the National Institute of Health (NIH). The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) is part of NIH and is where most of the federally funded FGIMD research is conducted.
- We requested support of The Functional Gastrointestinal and Motility Disorders Research Enhancement Act of 2013 (H.R. 842) – co-sponsorship in the House of Representatives and introduction in the Senate – so that we can see improved treatments for FGIMDS.
- More and more returning military services members are experiencing symptoms of FGIDs and it is important that the Gulf War Illness Research Program continue to be funded, not only for them but in order to continue research of these chronic digestive disorders.
- The National Pediatric Research Network Act (H.R. 225/S. 421) supports the creation of a pediatric research consortia and the advancement of research to help understand conditions like FGIMDs in kids. The act has passed in the House and is waiting to be passed in the Senate, so we talked about the importance of the bill with our Senate members.
As constituents, it is important that these Congressional offices be made aware of what is important to us. On our visits we shared special perspectives that can only come from members of the FGIMD community and the patient population.
In all, we educated nearly 30 offices about FGIMDs and the need for more research to find treatments for these chronic and debilitating conditions during our time in Washington, DC for IFFGD Advocacy Day. It was an inspiring day that the entire group was happy to experience together.
“I’m already looking forward to IFFGD Advocacy Day 2014. Thank you for allowing all of us with digestive disorders the opportunity to be heard,” said Kat, an advocate from Virginia.
In addition to our efforts in our nation’s capital last week, dedicated advocates across the country have made contact with their Representatives about the issues we discussed on Capitol Hill. More than 50% of Congress members in the House of Representatives have been contacted by their constituents about The FGIMD Research Enhancement Act of 2013 (HR 842). You can take action by contacting the Representatives for your district . We are thankful to all of our supporters for making sure that the voices of the digestive health community be heard.
2013 Call-In Day
People from all across the nation came together on Wednesday, June 5, 2013 for the 2013 Digestive Health Congressional Call-In Day. On this day, the Digestive Health Alliance asked all those whose lives have been impacted by functional GI and motility disorders, including patients, health care professionals, family members and friends, and the public to reach out to their Congressional Representatives about digestive health.
By joining together on one day, our voices were amplified with one clear message. The digestive health community asked Members of the US House of Representatives to support The Functional GI & Motility Disorders Research Enhancement Act of 2013 (HR 842). This landmark legislation will raise critical awareness for chronic digestive conditions and expand research into treatments and cures.