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Knowledge Gaps.

I wish I knew more about a lot of things.  Like dinosaurs.  (Mostly because Birdzone keeps asking me about them and what their names are and what kind of foods they liked to eat, and I’m not as brushed up on my dinosaur details as I was back in second grade.)

But there are things I truly wish I knew more about, in a diabetes sense, and I’m eager to learn.  One theme that’s come circling back around every few weeks is that of advocacy and influencing policy decision makers in Washington, DC.

This “lets all go to Washington!” advocacy, admittedly, makes me feel like an idiot because my knowledge gaps in this arena are obvious to me.  I know how to tell my diabetes story, but I don’t know how to made that story resonate for decision makers.  What makes issues matter to people?  What’s the best way to reach folks in policy?  How can one voice make a difference, and – more importantly – how can a collective of voices make the biggest difference?

We, as a community of people touched by diabetes, have the opportunity to learn from one another.  And I’m excited to do that, because I need to learn.  I want to be more effective as an advocate and for me, part of that process means closing some of my personal knowledge gaps.  (Here’s where programs like Masterlab are already so effective, and could be even more so.)

What do you want to learn (more) about?  Once we start minding the gaps, we can start filling them in with good information.

I want to learn more about effectively influencing health policy in a way that takes the best possible care of people with diabetes.  I want to learn more about how to make the most out of the healthcare I have access to.  I want to help empower myself to live well with diabetes, and to assist in empowering others.

Sparing roses helps.  It’s simple and makes sense to me.  But what else is there that can be done?

I seek education, dedication, and determination to help me find out.

(And yes, I’m sticking it into a blog post as a way to keeping myself accountable.)

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Ah, I’m excited to share what I’ve learned volunteering as my JDRF chapters Advocacy Team Chair. For one thing, I’ve learned that what resonates with decision makers varies by person and to some extent by region. I’m lucky that the Representatives I meet with honestly care about quality of life, and explaining to them how hard we work to stay healthy and what issues are important to us and why truly makes a difference. Overall, I think if our story doesn’t strike a nerve with them, then money always does. For example, insurance coverage of CGMs can lead to a reduction in the number of hypoglycemic episodes that require expensive ER visits. Or letting them know about the jobs that are created in the decision makers state as a result of funding for diabetes research.

    I’m excited to be headed back to Government Day next month, because each time I go I learn more! And I am happy to continue to share everything I’ve learned.

    02/12/15; 3:55 pm
  2. “Mind the gap”– the last thing I heard before stepping off of every train I rode in London. It’s now burned in my brain.

    I would like to learn more about the how-tos of getting a movement going, sustaining it, and working through change and conflict. I think there are many, many talented people out there who are, frankly, inspirational. From my point of view, I’m not afraid to stick my neck out and advocate. But we don’t always have the key we need to get in the door, much less get our foot caught in it. If we can learn how to get in, I know we can amplify our voices. Thanks!

    02/12/15; 4:32 pm
  3. “What makes issues matter to people? What’s the best way to reach folks in policy? How can one voice make a difference, and – more importantly – how can a collective of voices make the biggest difference?”

    Having worked in campaigns and elections, let me give you the seemingly crude, yet clear answer:

    Votes, their constituents’ votes , and things that connects to their constituents. Like family members with diabetes, like jobs in their communities, with their children, some yet to be diagnosed. Basically, that’s it.

    Couch your knowledge in those terms and you will have success, at least on the policy level,

    02/12/15; 8:24 pm

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