Top 5 Advocacy Tips for Healthcare Leaders: Use Your Expertise and Passion to Make a Difference

Healthcare leaders bring a unique perspective to policy discussions because they have specialized expertise and first-hand knowledge of how the healthcare system is affecting their patients. Sharing this knowledge with government officials can lead to better and more impactful policy decisions and programmatic interventions that benefit everyone – payors, providers, patients, and communities overall. It is important to bring this experience to the advocacy table to advance ideas and recommendations that will improve healthcare for their patients and organizations. The following five tips are practical tools and guidance to help healthcare professionals become effective advocates at the federal, state, and local levels.

Top 5 Tips:

  1. Know the value and influence of your voice in healthcare policy
    • Advance an issue that aligns with your expertise, passion, or both
    • Amplify the position of your organization, a coalition, or as an individual advocate
  1. Know your audience
    • Research the appropriate official(s) you want to meet with about your issue
    • Understand your audience’s priorities, e.g., what matters to them
    • Be flexible – respect their time, bandwidth, and competing priorities
  1. Craft a concise, compelling, and influential story
    • Prepare background materials and talking points in advance
    • Define the issue and why it matters
    • Incorporate credible data and a personal story that brings life to the issue
    • Reflect the patient voice and impact of the issue on medically underserved communities and vulnerable populations
    • Connect the issue to the priorities of your audience
  1. Be clear on your ask
    • Share recommended solutions, highlighting the value, cost, and impact, including any unintended consequences
    • Leave behind an executive summary
  1. Build relationships…advocacy is not transactional!
    • Follow up on opportunities to support your audience and your recommended solution (thank you letter, testimony, letter of support, etc.)

Authored by:
Carol Emmott Foundation Class of 2022 Fellows:
Caprice Knapp, PhD; Principal, Health Management Associates

Marissa McKeever, Esq; Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor, Office of the Dean and CEO, Johns Hopkins Medicine
Brenda Sulick, PhD; Vice President, Public, Government, and Community Affairs, SCAN Health Plan