Imagine the impact of having every member of the U.S. House of Representatives (as well as all 100 senators) hear from a constituent -- someone in his or her district (or state) -- who can provide informed guidance on matters relating to physical activity and exercise as a means to improving peoples’ health through the adoption of such healthy lifestyle interventions. This strategy, with a Key Contact in each of the 435 districts (as well as throughout every state), can go a long way toward advancing the ACSM policy agenda.
Roles of Key Contacts
As a busy professional, you may not have much time to devote to policy work. Fortunately, being a Key Contact needn’t be a burden. Essentially, we’re asking you to:
- Agree to be the ACSM Key Contact in your legislative district.
- Send an occasional message to your elected officials, as you probably already do when prompted by ACSM Action Alerts.
- Introduce yourself to your member of Congress, including your congressman/woman and your senators and their designated staff members. This can be done through a phone call, email message and/or a visit to their home district offices. The ultimate goal is to have them consider you a resource on matters relating to your professional interests. Members and staff welcome (and rely on) your ideas, suggestions and perspectives. Link to Advocacy Toolkit
- Serve as a conduit for issues in your district, alerting ACSM policy staff to issues in your area. For example, if your state legislature is contemplating a bill to expand hiking trails, we can alert member advocates in your state to contact their elected leaders in support of the initiative. At other times we will tailor our strategy on a national issue to match the situation in each state.
- You can do a great service to the cause by telling colleagues about the opportunity to advocate on behalf of physical activity and exercise. Your efforts to recruit fellow Advocates and Key Contacts can help us reach the goal of ensuring that we are represented in every Congressional district. ACSM has recently created the role of Regional Chapter Advocacy Representative to coordinate policy efforts in each chapter.
If you would like to become a key contact for ACSM in your community, please e-mail your name and mailing address to firstname.lastname@example.org. As a Key Contact, you can be a liaison between policy makers and ACSM. This is a two-way relationship whereby you bring forth information and the elected official or staff can consult you when they need the insights of a professional in sports medicine and exercise science.
Help influence policy -- become a member advocate. There has never been a greater opportunity to influence legislation and administrative policies in favor of physical activity and exercise -- and nobody is better able to make the case than one who is both a knowledgeable professional and a constituent.
Sign up to receive Action Alerts via email. As an ACSM member advocate, you will receive Action Alerts when legislation is at a crucial juncture. Plus, you can send a quick email message to key members of Congress, urging them to support policies that encourage physical activity and exercise.
View current ACSM Action Alerts
- Member Advocates. Responding to email Action Alerts, Member Advocates send messages to congressmen and congresswomen using provided sample language or their own text. Become a Member Advocate.
- Key Contacts. Key Contacts develop an ongoing dialogue with his or her senators and representative, presenting the ACSM policy agenda and serving as a resource for congressional staff. The goal is to have a Key Contact in each of the 435 U.S. congressional districts, allowing ACSM to communicate effectively with every member of Congress. Become a Key Contact.
- Regional Chapter Advocacy Coordinators. Regional Chapter Advocacy Coordinators recruit Key Contacts. They also facilitate a two-way flow of information, carrying policy priorities to Regional Chapter members and reporting issues and opportunities that may arise on the state or local levels