The most important first step in getting started with physical therapy advocacy is identifying the individuals that represent you. You can find your Senator or Representative by district under "Colorado Legislative Links" or, if you are an APTA member, login to the Legislative Action Center. The Legislative Action Center shows your representatives based on the address associated with your membership. If you have a work, school or old address associated with your membership, these representatives may not be correct, so be sure to double check these are the individuals representing the district in which you currently live and vote.
Through the APTA website Advocacy & Governmental Affairs center you can receive updates regarding important issues facing our profession nationally and at your state level.
The easiest way to get involved as a student is to write your Senators and Representatives. Kyle Ridgeway PT, DPT, outlined detailed instructions on contacting your representative as part of a grassroots letter writing campaign with the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Therapists Student Special Interest Group in 2009. Below is an excerpt from Kyle's post, the full post can be found here.
APTA MEMBERS: FINDING/CONTACTING YOUR REPRESENTATIVE
If you are an APTA member you can send electronic correspondence by clicking on “Support Physical Therapy Provisions in Health Care Reform Legislation in Congress” in the APTA’s Legislative Action Center.
1. Click Here to sign into the Legislative Action Center directly:
2. Once signed in click the “Federal Issues” button on the top(A form letter will appear)
3. Under "Current Issues" Support Physical Therapy Provisions in Health Care Reform Legislation in Congress will be listed. Click "Take Action" (a form letter will appear)
3. Select whether you would like to send an e-mail or a letter
* E-mail: will be sent once you click submit
* Letter: Addressed letter will be ready to print after clicking submit
4. Please read over the letter. Add some personal information and insights to make the letter unique
* Whether you are a student or practicing therapist
* What you are interested in
* What patient populations you serve
* NOTE: You can also select a blank letter and enter information on your own
* Make sure to identify yourself as a constituent
5. SUBMIT! It is that easy!!
1. If you selected e-mail, it will be sent
2. If you selected letter, an addressed letter ready to print will appear
NON APTA MEMBERS
Finding Your Representatives
1. Click Here to find your representatives
2. Enter the zip code of where you are registered to VOTE.
1. For each representative that appears click on their picture. This will take you to their profile.
2. Once in the representative’s profile click on the “contact” tab above their picture.
3. Please use the Washington DC Office address for all your representatives.
NOTE: Electronic Correspondence: If you would also like to send an electronic correspondence, click on the link for the representative’s WEBSITE and contact them from their website.
See the talking points and sample letter below… Add some personal insights to make your letter unique and send it onward!!
Coordinate your efforts with other students as important issues arise to remind your legislators to represent you and your profession when they vote.