Broadening Knowledge About FDA on Capitol Hill
Please join us for the next Alliance Hill Day — next Wednesday, May 4. Come for morning meetings, afternoon meetings, or both. Please RSVP to Lynnette Bechtel.
The purpose of the day — which we call FDA 101 Hill Day — is to provide educational background regarding the FDA to congressional offices who do not sit on committees of direct jurisdiction over FDA, and likely do not deal with FDA issues on a daily basis. Often times, these offices do not understand the breadth of FDA’s work and its importance for public health and the economy. Also, they often don’t know why all FDA stakeholders support increased appropriated funding for the agency.
In short, our goal is to develop a broad Congressional understanding of FDA’s work, creating a positive environment for our appropriations advocacy.
FDA 101 Hill Day comes with a little history. After the 2010 election — with almost 100 new Members of Congressthe Alliance set out to make sure that the newcomers knew what the FDA is, what it does, and why it is important to a broad group of stakeholders. Those first visits — in Spring of 2011 — were quite an experience, as we met a lot of raw prejudice against regulatory agencies. But we also met a lot of staff truly interested in gaining a better understanding of a topic they knew nothing about.
The next year, we expanded our focus to freshmen and sophomore Members and each subsequent year our target audience has expanded. Each year, as well, the meetings become more of a mix of offices we visited (for updating them and reinforcement) and new offices that present a degree of unknown in their attitude toward FDA.
For those wondering about our timing each year: every February and March we try to cover all Ag/FDA appropriations subcommittee members and many other appropriations offices. On our first formal Hill Day — in mid-March — we try to reach remaining appropriations committee members and selected members on the authorizing committees. By the time we reach FDA 101 Hill Day, all of these meetings have occurred and it is time for our FDA 101 agenda.
As I am sure you will agree, FDA 101 Hill Day has an important place in our efforts to shape Congressional knowledge and opinion about FDA.
Note: This week’s Analysis and Commentary was written by Steven Grossman, the deputy executive director of the Alliance for a Stronger FDA.