Bastyr Master of Public Health (MPH) students joined health professionals from all over Washington state for Legislative Education Day in Olympia, Wash, on February 7. Students met with about 200 Washington State Public Health Association (WSPHA) members, students and advocates to talk about WSPHA’s legislative priorities. Bastyr students focused on Tobacco 21, the Opioid Crisis Bill, and foundational public health services.
Bastyr alumna Megan Moore, MPH (’17), continues to attend the event alongside students, faculty and other health professionals. She shares her experience meeting with her legislative district, “My group met with Rep. Michelle Caldier, Rep. Jesse Young, and the staff of Senator Jan Angel. Our goal was to talk to them about why they should support these health bills. It was a great experience.”
Bastyr students and faculty remain committed to lobbying and return every year. Moore shared that after three years of attending, representatives are starting to recognize her. “My representatives are responsive because I am a voter in their district. Votes are always meaningful to them.”
Attending a lobby day is not just an opportunity for student advocates to share their views on policy with decision makers, but also for continued learning and confidence in their own knowledge and skills. Attendees are able to connect with health advocates from local agencies and non-profits. Moore shared that her experience allows her to become involved in the legislative process and to realize that, as a trained public health professional, sometimes she can be the most informed person in the room.
“Attending an event like this is very uncomfortable. It makes you grow in a way that just calling your local representative doesn’t allow. Actually speaking face-to-face with legislators is nerve-racking; but the more you do it, the more you realize that they work for you and you are the expert in this field,” Moore stated.