Children's Hospital Boston visits Washington D.C.

Children’s Hospital Boston employees and families got home from Washington D.C. last night, having just finished participating in Family Advocacy Day. Family Advocacy Day is an annual, national event sponsored by the National Association of Children’s Hospitals that enables children’s hospital patients and their families to make their voices heard to leaders on Capitol Hill.  This year Children’s Family Advocacy Day team consisted of Children’s president and COO Sandra Fenwick, Dennis Rosen, MD, Joshua Greenberg, vice president of Government Relations, Amy DeLong, Manger of Government Relations and Children’s families from Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire. While in D.C. they meet with senators, state representatives and even a few “military officials” left over from the Reagan administration.

Stars Wars characters were on hand for FAD 2011 because child actor Max Page (who played a young Darth Vader in a recent Super Bowl commercial and also is a patient at Children's Hospital Los Angeles) delivered a speech.

As the smile on the faces of Children’s patient Kylie and her father Jon demonstrate, the event may be serious in nature, but our team always manages to have some fun while visiting our Nation’s capital. Every year the Family Advocacy Day team arrives a day early to make sure they have plenty of time for fun, which this year consisted of a trip to the National Air and Space Museum and a surprise visits from TV’s iCarly (Miranda Cosgrove).

But it wasn’t all parties and photo shoots; team members spent a majority of Tuesday meeting with Senator John Kerry from Massachusetts and Representative Chellie Pingree from Maine, among others, to discuss issues like renewal and funding of Children’s Hospital Graduate Medical Education program (CHGME) and support for Medicaid.

To give readers a better understanding of the importance of Family Advocacy Day, Doctor Rosen wrote a blog on his most recent D.C. experience.

I am in Washington this evening, part of a delegation of patients, providers, and government relations people from Children’s Hospital Boston participating in NACH’s (National Association of Children’s Hospitals) Family Advocacy Day. Tomorrow we will visit the offices of several Representatives and Senators from Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire, all of whom have made time in their very busy schedules to meet with us. We will explain why continuing to fund pediatric specialty training is so important, and why Medicaid, which provides medical coverage for more than one third of the nation’s children, needs to be protected.

That some of the most powerful people in the land are willing to meet with and listen to us, despite everything else going on right now shows me that the system does, in fact, work. That those of us who come to make the case for those who cannot vote and have no political clout of their own find in Congress a receptive and eager audience proves that this really is a government of the people, elected by the people, for the people.

To read more of Rosen’s blog, meet the families that accompanied the FAD team, or see a bunch of great pictures of their trip, please visit the Children’s Family Advocacy Day blog.