From the Advocacy Editor - February 2008

February 28, 2008

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As we approach the first anniversary of the launch of the new AAN website, it's exciting to review the progress we have made on the advocacy website.

First, we established an advisory board with three talented young neurology advocates: John Hixson, MD, from UCSF, Alyx Porter, MD, from the Mayo Clinic, and Nikesh Ardeshna, MD, from Wayne State. These Palatucci Advocacy Leadership Forum (PALF) graduates bring with them the training and enthusiasm developed while in the PALF program, as well as knowledge of current health policy issues and a solid understanding of web design.

We have begun highlighting the advocacy work of our PALF graduates. This has included the establishment of the Kentucky Neurological Society, led by Terri Postma, MD, and the reinvigoration of the Pennsylvania and Florida State Neurological Societies by Brad Klein, MD, and Michael Finkel, MD, FAAN. We have also reported on the achievements of Robert Shapiro, MD, PhD, and Kathy Gardner, MD, in developing the first annual Headache on the Hill, in which 45 headache clinicians, researchers, and patient advocates came together on Capitol Hill to ask for increased funding for headache disorders.

Several guest columnists have written articles about health policy issues, such as health care economics and health care access, both in the United States and abroad. These articles will soon be online.

The site map for the advocacy website has also been revised to make the site more audience-friendly. The site features exciting ways for neurologists to get involved in advocacy within the AAN, including PALF, Neurology on the Hill, the Viste Neurology Public Policy fellowship, and Vocus. There are also links to various state neurological societies and websites addressing issues that neurologists face in those states. Links to the events hosted by the state societies make it easy for neurologists to quickly access relevant conferences in those states. Advocacy toolkits are available for neurologists to download, with the purpose of encouraging more participation in advocacy.

I look forward to further improvements in the website over the next year. I hope you will continue to look to the advocacy website as a central resource for all the inquiries you may have about advocacy as a neurologist!

Lily Jung, MD
Advocacy Editor, AAN.com