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Being a chronic disease patient comes with many challenges. From doctors’ appointments to work disruptions, reduced energy levels and more, one of the last things patients should have to worry about is navigating a complicated legislative process.

That’s where we come in. At the CDC we know that Americans need policy reform at the state and federal level to make the lives of chronic disease patients better. The best way to create this change is sharing the real, raw stories of chronic patients. To help you share your story, we have outlined best practices and a template to make sharing your story with legislators as easy as possible.

The following are a few tips and tricks that you can take into any meeting with a legislator to ensure your story has the most impact.

  1. Keep it Brief: In today's fast-paced world, brevity is key. Highlight the most critical aspects of your journey, focusing on key moments like the time it took to get your diagnosis, expenses incurred throughout the process and significant challenges.
  2. Single Message or Ask: Stick to one clear message or ask. Avoid overwhelming your audience with multiple requests. Keep it concise and impactful. If you don’t have a bill you want passed or defeated, the ask can be as simple as staying in touch with their office.
  3. Avoid Jargon: Speak in everyday terms that everyone can understand. Minimize confusing medical or insurance industry terms to ensure your message resonates. You’re the expert on this — legislators are not.
  4. Repetition: Tell them what you’re going to say, say it, and then repeat it. This repetition ensures your message is memorable and compelling and helps provide a structured approach to the meeting.
  5. Practice: Before the big moment, practice sharing your story with a friend or neighbor. Their feedback can refine your message and boost your confidence.
  6. Be Human: Remember, legislators are humans too. Approach the conversation with sincerity and treat them like friends. It’s their job to listen to you. Offer yourself as a resource for future needs.

Use this template to organize your story and share written or verbally.

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If you feel like you’re ready to get started, we can help you find your legislators contact information. Or, your state also has an online legislative information system that should let you plug in your address to find who represents you and how to contact them.

Still feel like you need help sharing your story? Reach out to the CDC team and watch our video training with more details on how to share your story.