"It's very powerful to work at this level, where you can push for legislation that would change entire systems of care for maximum impact. I am excited about broadening the scope of telemedicine through public policy opportunities, bringing treatment to people who might not otherwise receive it."
Neal (center top in photo) says he was initially intimidated by the legislative process, but AHA staff helped him with what to do and how to approach legislators. When asked how he would counsel other You're the Cure members to prepare themselves for a higher level of advocacy, he offered these words of advice:
- Realize you don't have to be afraid of it. Swallow any discomfort, do your homework and you'll do fine.
- Find someone who knows the ropes, like I did with AHA's Government Relations Director in Maryland, and let them guide you.
- Be honest and sincere. Share the passion you have for the issue and make it personal when you talk about it.
Neal wrote letters and provided written testimony to help legislators understand the importance of the telemedicine bills. "The legislators wanted my input, even asked what they could do to help! I wish I'd known about this avenue for change years ago."