Komen Advocacy Summit – Building Relationships with Federal Lawmakers

More than 100 Susan G. Komen affiliate representatives hurried from office to office on Capitol Hill March 9th, encouraging elected officials to support funding for federal programs vital to breast cancer screening and research.  Attendees made 350 visits during the 2017 Komen Advocacy Summit.

Komen Charlotte volunteer, Mary Boyd, described her visits to staff members in five North Carolina Congressional offices as exhilarating and gratifying.  “Exhilarating because you experience the momentum of a huge group effort in a compressed period of time and gratifying because you get face-to-face exposure to bright, committed staff members who juggle tight schedules and complex subject matter,” Boyd said.

Meetings focused on the need to maintain $275 million in annual funding for the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program and to maintain, if not increase, National Institutes of Health funding.  As both are part of non-defense programs, they are vulnerable to substantial cuts. Offices visited included those of US senators Thom Tillis and Richard Burr and House of Representatives members Robert Pittenger, Patrick McHenry, and Alma Adams. Separately from the “Hill” visits, Komen speakers spoke to attendees about the importance of advocacy in addressing metastatic breast cancer and achieving health equity.