On the Importance of Grassroots Advocacy
On September 13th, 2018, I attended a campaign event for Mary Gay Scanlon, a congressional candidate for Pennsylvania’s 5th District, as a representative of the American Academy of Audiology. Prior to attending this event, I had been fortunate enough to attend advocacy training as a student and board member of the Student Academy of Audiology, but it wasn’t until I entered my role as a professional that I fully realized the importance of grassroots advocacy.
I belong to the Millennial generation - the generation viewed as languid and entitled by some, and innovative and progressive by others. While, I am sure, I show characteristics of both sides of that coin, the issues that affect my generation are unlike many that we have seen before: exorbitant student loan rates, internet privacy and technology regulation, largescale demographic shifts, just to name a few. These, of course, are not issues that only affect the Millennial generation, but it is my job as a member of that generation to advocate and educate the electorate, with a median age of 57 years in the House and 63 years in the Senate, on how important these issues are to me. That is why I advocate.
Millennials are not the only generation affected by the changes in our country. People are living longer, and relying more on social security than in the past. Illness once thought fatal are now being identified as chronic, with new, and often expensive, treatments arising nearly every day. It is our job – not as clinicians, nor professionals, but rather civilians of the United States to advocate in what we feel is important to ourselves and our community.
As audiologists, we are facing a changing landscape. We hear that phrase daily, as well as see lectures arise on how to face this change. It’s easy to sit back and watch videos on how to adjust your practice, but one of the most effective ways to face these challenges is to advocate for candidates at local, state, and national levels that feel the same way you do. These candidates affect our service delivery, the technology that is available to use, and, most importantly, the patients we see every day. That is why I advocate, and that is why you should too.