What’s Coming in 2013
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In December, we took a look back at the activities and accomplishments of the OAC and our members during 2012. Now as we start a new year, I thought I would share some of OAC’s plans moving forward into 2013 as well as some of the opportunities and challenges we may face.
With the implementation of healthcare reform continuing and new treatment options being introduced, 2013 will be another busy year for the OAC and our members on the advocacy front. We also expect a number of new pieces of legislation improving access to obesity treatments to be introduced in 2013, giving all of you an opportunity to write and communicate with your elected officials.
After a hiatus in 2012, because of what many perceived was gridlock in Washington DC due to the elections and the Supreme Court decision on reform, OAC will restart our Day on the Hill programs. In fact, we have just secured support for our first Day on the Hill event so look for an announcement in the coming weeks recruiting participants. Remember, to be eligible to participate you must receive OAC Advocacy Training. Our next National Advocacy Training is planned for OAC’s YWM2013 meeting in August (more info below).
In addition to activities in Washington, DC, activities on the State level will be increasing in 2013 as well. Much of the implementation of reform takes place at the state level so growing our presence at this level is essential. OAC is looking to fully implement our STAR (State Advocacy Representative) Program and is also considering the creation of regional advocacy groups. I’ll share more about these important programs, as well as other state opportunities, in the coming months.
OAC is committed to providing the highest quality educational programs and materials. Although I don’t have space to detail all of our plans for 2013, here are a few highlights:
We started 2013 off with the introduction of our new “Understanding Your Weight Loss Options” brochure. If you haven’t checked it out I would encourage you to do so as I think it’s one of the best pieces the OAC has ever produced. It details the pros and cons of various obesity treatment options across the spectrum of care. Find it here.
By now you have likely heard, the OAC’s 2nd Annual Your Weight Matters National Convention (YWM2013), will take place August 15 – 18 in Phoenix, Arizona. Last year’s meeting was a tremendous success and we expect this year’s meeting to be even bigger and better! It will feature educational sessions led by world-class experts, plus great opportunities to socialize, learn about advocacy, support one another and exercise in a truly beautiful resort-setting that features a 20,000 square foot fitness center plus 6 pools and even a water park. For more info, visit www.YWMConvention.com.
Also under our Your Weight Matters brand, OAC is planning a re-launch of the “Your Weight Matters” Challenge in April. This educational effort and public awareness campaign focuses on challenging members of the public to engage their doctor in a conversation about their weight and any impact it may have on their health. Made possible by a generous contribution from Eisai, the re-launch will include a revised web site, campaign materials and a significant investment in advertising and media to reach the general public.
One of the questions we are asked most often by OAC members is, “How can I get involved?” The OAC Staff and Board just completed a planning retreat with a significant portion dedicated to engaging our members in our activities. Look for new opportunities throughout 2013 where you can not only be engaged in advocacy but also in our educational and support activities. Looking for a way to start today? Simply share OAC resources through social media (just liking us on Facebook helps spread the word), request materials to display at your community/church/neighborhood health fair, or share with us unreasonable insurance requirements, bias or other obesity related information from your community. All are great ways to be engaged and help the OAC.
2012 was a record year for the OAC in terms of reach of our materials, financial success and membership growth. It is our membership that continues to energize us for our efforts moving into 2013 and we are confident that this year will be even greater than the last as we take advantage of new opportunities and flex the muscle our growing membership gives us.
Together we make a difference.