To celebrate Alopecia Areata Awareness Month, AJL members Alison and Mikayla traveled to Capitol Hill to advocate for the wig bills (H.R. 4034 and S. 1922)-legislation that will mandate insurance coverage for cranial prosthetics for chronic hair loss patients. Given their recent introduction to the 118th Congress, the advocates were determined to secure their representatives' sponsorship. The two met with the offices of New York Senators and Congressional Representatives.
This event, Hill Day, represents the culmination of months of planning by the National Alopecia Areata Foundation (NAAF) and its advocates. The AJL members were able to meet many of their fellow NAAF legislative advocates in person after working alongside them for months. Alison also met one of her pen pals!
Whether the politicians had formerly co-signed the legislation or never heard of it, the pair were determined to propel the bill forward. "Hill Day was especially special because of its in-person aspect," Alison noted. A majority of staffer meetings have shifted to virtual meetings since Covid. Nevertheless, because of Hill Day, Alison met staffers she'd been communicating with on Zoom for months.
Alopecia areata advocacy begins with education. Most individuals are not aware of the condition's psychosocial or financial toll. Nonetheless, our AJL team was pleasantly surprised by the extent of AA awareness among the NY offices. To build on this awareness, our members shared data on the medical and financial burden and personal anecdotes. The AJL can not stress enough the importance of telling your story! Advocacy is all about relationship building. Since Hill Day, our advocates have remained in contact with our offices to ensure our representatives co-sign the bills.
If you're interested in AA advocacy, visit our H.R. 4034 page! We are all advocates and have a story to be told. Whether you just learned about AA or have been to Capitol Hill, we're here to help you! Don't hesitate to reach out.
We want to thank the NAAF for selecting our advocates, among a considerable pool, to represent the AA community. Stay tuned for more advocacy updates!