Guest Blogger - Erica Phung, Sr. Government Relations Director
Growing up, most kids don’t tell their parents, “when I grow up I want to be a health advocate!” And if a child did say that to a parent, the parent might be a bit baffled. For the most part, the general public at large is unaware of the backstory of how health advocacy happens. People notice the big changes like seatbelt laws, smoke-free restaurants, and when calories appear on menus, but they don’t know how it all came about.
The simple start to most policy movements happens when someone has had enough with the status quo and decides to take a stand. As previously posted on this Blog, one of our own You’re the Cure Advocates, Rayme Elliot, lost her baby Logan due to Critical Congenital Heart Defects (CCHD). Had Logan been screened with Pulse Oximetry—an inexpensive, accurate test given at birth that detects CCHD—Logan might still be with us today. After losing Logan, Rayme became a vocal advocate demanding change and helped get AB 1731—our newborn screening bill—passed. Beginning July 1st, 2013, hospitals are now required to screen all newborns for CCHD.
Just last week, Mission Hospital in Orange County announced they saved their first baby using Pulse Oximetry – Carlee Cook. When I shared the news with Rayme, she said that she cried when she watched Carlee’s story on the news, but said that she knew Logan would be proud because his story is saving babies lives.
It’s an honor to work with such amazing people like Rayme and you every day. None of us started out knowing we’d be health advocates – we just found ourselves with this opportunity. In 2013 and beyond, I invite you to share your story, meet with an elected official, or participate in a community meeting. By being active in You’re the Cure – we get a chance to change tomorrow’s future – today. Thank you for being a health advocate!