Public policy is a mechanism through which members’ voices are heard through grassroots networks, political action and legislative and regulatory involvement. All Academy groups must maintain a consistent message on public policy issues that align with Academy’s positions, stances or views. When you make a formal statement on Academy policy views, always consult with the Academy’s Policy, Initiatives and Advocacy office in Washington D.C. in advance.
DPG and MIG members are specialists in a specific field or area of member demographics, and you have firsthand knowledge of what issues affect a particular specialty and demographic. Identify and communicate these issues with the PIA office of the Academy so we can work together on finding a policy solution.
Develop Evidence-Based Guidelines
You are the experts in your specialty and social demographic area, and the Academy needs your proactive guidance and input on best practices and current trends. The evidence-based guidelines DPGs can provide are invaluable.
Create an "Outcomes" Discipline and Support Quality Improvement
The Academy embraces evidence-based practice to give our members the tools to best serve the public and with the awareness that expansion of nutrition care and services is dependent upon continuous attention to quality. To retain and advance the status of RDs, our members must collect outcomes data and rigorously analyze them to make quality improvements. Evidence collected and research conducted can be used to inform policy decisions legislators and regulators make that impact you, our profession and the public.
Appoint a Public Policy Liaison (PAL) to Executive Committee
Appointing a DPG PAL to the executive committee provides an identifiable link to the PIA office to enhance communication on public policy issues between the Academy and your members. This is the best way to begin DPG public policy efforts.
Draft an Annual Policy Plan of Work
DPGs can communicate their policy priorities with their members and the PIA team by drafting an annual policy plan of work. Each DPG PAL coordinates the development of the plan of work by collecting member input, monitoring current trends and issues in the field and discussing with the executive board how policy priorities fit into the broader goals and objectives of the DPG. The plan of work can outline regulatory, legislative and other policy goals of the DPG.
Provide Input and Expertise for Official Academy Statements
DPG/MIG members are an excellent resource for Academy task force reports, position papers and House of Delegates policy papers, as well as for regulatory comments the Academy submits to federal agencies on a regular basis. PALs and DPG/MIG leaders should watch for these opportunities and offer their practice expertise and demographic and cultural knowledge so that their members’ expert input is heard.
Deliver Media Statements
Encourage your members to work with their state affiliate and official Academy spokespeople to represent the profession to the media and provide current information based on the best available scientific evidence in line with Academy stances and advocacy campaigns.
Communicate with Federal or State Officials
DPG and MIG leaders should encourage members to work with their state affiliate to represent the profession in meeting and communicating with their elected federal and state officials. DPG and MIG leaders should provide current information based on the best available scientific evidence in line with Academy positions, stances and advocacy campaigns.
Advise the LPPC on the Need to Develop New Positions
The Legislative and Public Policy Committee is the connection between the members and the Board of Directors and keeps a pulse on current policy that affects the profession. The DPGs and MIGs have an important role in helping the LPPC maintain accurate and current information as practice changes and evolves. You should provide input and recommendations to the LPPC for updating old or developing new based on the best available scientific evidence.
Engage with State Affiliates
Encourage your members to engage with their state affiliate on issues important to their DPG/MIG. It is essential that DPG/MIG members make themselves available to their state affiliate as a resource in their specialty/demographic. Some DPGs and MIGs even have a state liaison program where a content expert is assigned to each state affiliate in which they reside to serve as a content expert, answering questions and providing evidence-based policy guidance based on their area of expertise. The members of your group can provide invaluable information to advance the efforts and effectiveness of state affiliates.