By Mary-Lynn Bender, Interim Vice President of Government and Public Relations
One hundred and seventy-five years ago on May 24, 1844, Samuel Morse sent the first telegraph message from Washington, DC to Baltimore. The message read, “What hath God wrought?” and consisted of a series of dots and dashes. Thankfully, sending messages of any length across state lines has become exponentially easier. With modern technology, anyone can contact their elected officials in a matter of minutes.
This is essential for ED to MED advocates, because we have an important message for Congress. We need the health professions community to urge lawmakers to protect the Grad PLUS and Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Programs as they negotiate the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA). Both PSLF and Grad PLUS are crucial to the financial well-being of health professions students and to addressing health care workforce shortages in communities across the country. In today’s modern age, you can reach out to your elected officials in a number of ways:
Invented in 1876, the telephone has outlasted the telegraph and remained a staple of congressional communication. You can call your legislators at their DC or district offices to let them know where you stand on an issue. Pro tip: Make sure to be polite to the staff member on the other end. They’re fielding lots of calls for their Member!
Not so keen on making a phone call? No problem. Congressional offices also accept constituent emails, and ED to MED makes it easy to get your message to Capitol Hill. In just a few clicks, you can send an email outlining the key priorities affecting health professions students in HEA reauthorization or personalize your letter to share specifics about how legislative changes could impact you and your patients.
Members of Congress want to meet you where you are, which is why many lawmakers use social media. Whether it’s Facebook or Twitter, sharing a message on social can be a great way to connect with your Senators and Representative.
Need help crafting the right message? Here’s text you can use on either Facebook or Twitter:
- Capping the Grad PLUS Loan Program would limit my ability to finance my health professions education. [Insert Member Handle] please help protect the future health care workforce and patients across the country. #SaveGradPLUS in #HEA reauthorization!
- Eliminating the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program could increase health disparities across the U.S. [Insert Member Handle] help protect the future health care workforce and our nation’s underserved communities. #SavePSLF in #HEA reauthorization!
ED to MED
By joining the ED to MED campaign, there are even more ways you can reach Congress and inspire others to advocate. You can share your story by guest authoring a blog post, inspire and educate your peers by becoming an ED to MED Campus Ambassador, or use our legislator search tool to get in touch with your Members.
Communications have evolved significantly since Samuel Morse’s first telegraph. With new communication tools at our disposal, we can easily connect with Members of Congress. Let’s use these tools to make a difference!