July 25, 2016

By Mike Amery, Esq., Senior Legislative Counsel, Federal Affairs

AAN Members Expand Runnin' for Research

The Republicans were running in Cleveland last week, the Democrats are running in Philadelphia this week, and AAN member Dave Watson, MD, is Runnin' for Research in Morgantown, WV.

I brought my family to Morgantown last October to run in Dr. Watson's second annual Runnin' for Research 5K for headache and migraine research. There was great attendance from the West Virginia University Medical Center as well as the local community.

Dr. Watson founded the race in 2014 as a Palatucci Advocacy Leadership Forum project. I talked recently with Dr. Watson about his goals and found that Runnin' for Research has become an independent 501(c)(3) organization and has created a mission statement:

To improve the quality of life of those who suffer with headache and migraine disorders through fundraising for quality research and the promotion of patient empowerment, community awareness, and local and national advocacy.

Two of the three members on the organization's board are graduates of the Palatucci Forum and the run has expanded to their cities. This year, Palatucci graduate Brian Plato, MD, will direct the run in Louisville, KY, and fellow graduate Jennifer Bickel, MD, will head up the race in Kansas City, MO.

Runnin' for Research has generated almost $25,000 for the American Migraine Foundation headache research in the first two years. With two more races this year it looks like this amount will increase significantly.

If there are any Capitol Hill Report readers who would like to participate in a race or get a run going in their city, Dr. Watson would like to hear from you via email. Watson told me that, “the long term goal is a network of nationwide events, locally organized and run by committed volunteers. The primary focus is to promote the creation of run/walk events.”

Members can follow Runnin' for Research online, on Facebook, or onTwitter.

Moving FAST Act Forward

With the party conventions in full swing, Washington, DC is quiet and Congress has recessed for seven weeks. Some call it a vacation, but most of the members of Congress I know will be back in their districts campaigning for re-election and listening to voters as the elections near. They will be walking in parades, holding town hall meetings, or hanging out at the grocery stores. Some will even be touring AAN members' clinics. If you get a chance to see your representative or senators, make sure you talk about the issues that are important to you.

One of the issues you can mention is the Furthering Access to Stroke Telemedicine Act (FAST Act). We made a strong push to add cosponsors to the FAST Act, HR 2799, over the last two months. This has been a great joint lobbying effort along with the American Heart/Stroke Association. In June and July, we have signed up 51 more supporters and the FAST Act now has 145 cosponsors.

We have been told by congressional leadership, including House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), that cosponsors are the key to moving the bill forward. We will continue that effort and now have a goal of reaching 218 cosponsors, which would equal a majority in the House. Check to see who is on board or to see if your member of Congress has cosponsored HR 2799.