We’re all working hard to make pulse ox a requirement in New York, and we know that the more people help out, the better. But how do we reach people in our community who are not yet advocates? Meet them at a common medium, like a newspaper, used by most of the community. Letters to the editor can be effective in reaching groups outside You’re the Cure and validates the message because it comes from a real person in the community: their neighbor.
We’ve provided an outline to help you get started on your LTE. The best part of an LTE is that it reflects the tone of its author, which is why we’ve only provided an outline, not a template. We want your voice to shine through! Before you start writing, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Visit your local newspaper’s website to learn how to submit your LTE. If necessary, give your editor a call and ask the preferred method of submission.
- Make sure you leave your name and contact information (including phone number) when you submit. The newspaper will need to contact you to verify you truly submitted the letter before they can publish it.
- LTEs should be short. Try to keep your message around 100 words.
- Share your story: If you have a pulse ox story, consider sharing it here so you can make a personal connection from the start. Make sure you explain what pulse ox is upon your first mention of it (feel free to use fact 3a. below for this explanation).
- State your intent: Right after you share your story, state your intent: to get decision-makers to make pulse oximetry a requirement in New York.
- Back up your intent with facts:Here are some facts you can include in your LTE to give credibility to your appeal:
- Pulse oximetry is a screening that checks a baby’s blood oxygen level through sensors placed on their toe and finger. The results can indicate whether a child has a congenital heart defect (CHD) or not. It’s fast, painless and affordable, costing approximately five dollars, and most importantly, it can save lives.
- It’s quick and painless, but more importantly, it can save lives. Before a baby leaves the hospital, the test helps identify heart defects, potentially saving its life.
- Congenital heart defects (CHD) are the most common birth defect in the U.S. and the leading killer of infants with birth defects. And they cost money: in 2004, hospital costs for all individuals with CHD totaled $2.6 billion.
- Wider use of pulse ox screening could help identify more than 90 percent of heart defects.
- In New Jersey, just hours after their law took effect, a newborn’s life was saved.
- Restate your intent: Urge lawmakers one more time to pass pulse ox legislation and then end with a charge for other people in your community to do the same. Caring for children truly is a community effort, and we need help from all our neighbors and friends. Make sure to direct them to YouretheCure.org so they can learn how they can get involved.
Let us know if you plan to submit or if you have submitted a LTE! You can let us know by replying to this post! We want to hear from you! And if you need any help at all let us know by replying to this post and we are happy to reach out!