Grassroots Advocacy / Key Contact

If you believe standing up for your patients and profession is important, then continue reading…

The San Diego Psychiatric Society and California Psychiatric Association (CPA) use  grassroots advocacy to ensure the voice of psychiatrists and their patients are heard in Sacramento. This is very important because you can make a difference in influencing policy and laws in California related to mental illness, substance use and health care.

The CPA has a “Key Contact” system of psychiatrists who are willing to advocate at different levels during the year.

These options include:

  • Writing/faxing letters and/or making a phone call to your legislator
  • Meeting with legislators in their district offices
  • Work on a campaign ad
  • Participate in public events and legislative fundraisers
  • Author an opinion piece or letter to the editor, meet with editorial boards and/or answer questions from the media

If you would like additional information or to sign up as a CPA Key Contact, go to: www.calpsych.org/orientgovaffairs.html.  Alternatively, call the CPA Office at 800-772-4271.

Key Contacts' Responsibilities

  • Identify the contact information for your Representative and Senator.  All you need is your home zip code.  Go to http://senate.ca.gov/citizensguide and www.assembly.ca.gov.  Alternatively, you may call the California Psychiatric Association office at 800-772-4271. Your home address determines who your legislator is.
  • Begin to develop and continue to strengthen a personal relationship with your legislators.
  • Become familiar with the basic legislative process for how a bill becomes law in California. http://capitolmuseum.ca.gov/Citizens.aspx?Content1=1086
  • Take action when the SDPS and CPA contact you for help with a specific initiative.  When you sign up as a Key Contact, you will periodically receive an email, fax and/or phone call asking for your help.  As a Key Contact, you are committing to take prompt action!
  • Follow-up with the SDPS and CPA to let us know the results of the action you took.
  • Let us know what you are doing locally.  We may want to build upon your efforts by sharing ideas with the membership.
  • Encourage your colleagues to become a Key Contact.
  • Remember, a Key Contact is always looking for opportunities to address the cause and never gives up.