Arenas For Action
Women physicians and trainees can have a powerful voice. After all, you are in contact with a wide variety of people every day who respect your opinion. Your message will be heeded by many groups.
As both a caregiver and a healthcare professional, you have invaluable experiences to draw from and to share. Offer your professional stories in your letters and meetings with elected officials. Offer your availability to speak at local town meetings, to professional and women’s organizations and other public forums held at schools, churches, and colleges. If you are unable to do so, contact AMWA to find a colleague who can speak.
GET OUT THE VOTE
The importance of generating a high voter turnout cannot be emphasized enough. Encourage every person you encounter to vote. Be ready to indicate healthcare concerns as a primary reason about which to consider candidates.
Three Great Recourses:
- VOTE-ER.org – Check out branded resources from VOTE-ER that track your efforts.
- Civic Health Alliance – Check out AMWA branded resources from Civic Health Alliance that track your efforts.
- BallotReady.org, a program that summarizes relevant ballot measures.
These online tools will help you keep abreast of the issues and candidates.
Help get more women to the ballot box – join Motivote with Vision2020 and AMWA.
Health care reform is a hot topic and the press is constantly looking for new, expert voices. Once they know you as a good reliable “source”, the media will come back to you for reactions and opinions on a variety of health issues. Your work with the media in your state and community will strengthen public understanding and support for health care reform.
Becoming a Spokesperson
As a woman physician it is likely that you will be considered an expert on a topic that is being heavily reported in the news. Local media may call you to do an interview for an article on that topic. This is a very important opportunity both for women physicians and your personal career. You can use this opportunity to teach them about a specific practice area, to talk about new research, or discuss legislation affecting your practice and patients. You want to accurately represent your area of expertise and educate the public about the specifics. Topics in health care reform can be confusing so this is your chance to explain why it is important.
AMWA is actively recruiting members for our speakers’ bureau in order to respond to reporters’ inquiries quickly and efficiently; matching the appropriate expertise with each reporter. Please contact email@example.com to indicate your area of interests and willingness to become a spokesperson for health care issues.
AMWA is providing the following tips to help you become more ‘media savvy’:
- Understand the pros and cons of being interviewed in the media. Members of the media know why they want to interview you. Why do you want to be interviewed? As a woman physician you are in a unique position to represent both yourself and your profession. Media is a critical tool for educating the public about important health care issues. Interviewing can also give you the opportunity to promote your own work or research. Proper preparation for a media interview can increase public awareness and understanding about a particular issue relevant to your work.
- Understand the media. The journalist aims to write a compelling story that will illustrate a balanced look at both sides of an issue. As a woman physician and AMWA member, your job is to articulate the information you want the audience to understand.
Steps for the Interview Process
- Know which interviews to turn down. You do not have to accept every interview you receive. Carefully consider whether the interview will compromise you in any way and if the interview falls in your area of expertise. If you know someone who may make a better spokesperson on a topic, check with them and refer the media to them or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Know your message. Before you start an interview, know exactly what you want to say. Use AMWA’s position papers and your own patient encounters to prepare five talking points and work them into the interview answers. Write them down, anticipate the questions you will be asked and practice responding with your talking points in a few different ways. Producers and editors are looking for sound bites that summarize your points so state your conclusion first followed by your supporting evidence. You may only have 30 seconds to make your point. Stories from your personal practice are more memorable than statistics but both are good forms of evidence.
- Prepare for challenging questions. Anticipate questions that are intended to spark debates and carefully prepare your answers. If you are asked these questions, then handle them in a calm manner. If there is a question you are not prepared to answer then offer to get back to the reporter. It is important you provide accurate information.
- Preparing for the interview. When you receive the initial call from the media outlet, request the journalist’s name, name of the media outlet and interview topics. Verify the media outlet is one you feel comfortable with and the topics are within your area of expertise. If you are uncomfortable with the media outlet, politely say “No, thank you”. If you are uncomfortable with the topics politely refer them to AMWA so we can help them find someone who is comfortable speaking on these topics. Occasionally there are opportunities for a pre-interview allowing you to practice your answers and identify areas where you need more information. Whenever you can supply new facts, insightful information and a fresh perspective you become an asset to the media.
- Take Precautions. When talking to the representative make sure to indicate how you would like to be referred to. Don’t say anything you are uncomfortable with being printed. Assume all conversations are “on the record.” Be organized and confident about how you want to be quoted. Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know” when a topic is outside of your expertise or knowledge. Write down the issue in question and offer to follow up with the reporter. Reporters may ask you to speculate on preliminary research findings. Cautiously explain it is difficult to draw conclusions from research that is inconclusive. Before the interview, determine if there are any parts of the interview that are controversial or easily misinterpreted. During the interview, emphasize to the reporter how important these areas are. Assert the fact that your information may be inaccurate if stated another way. Offering to read a story or quote to check for accuracy may be helpful but is seldom accepted unless the reporter is dealing with highly complex information.
- After the interview. Keep a record listing the name of the journalists, his or her affiliation, the story idea and the telephone number. Ask the journalists if you can contact them with more information however do not contact them unless the information is truly important. Request that a copy be sent to you or make a note of the expected release date so you can buy the publication.
Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor are short articles generally written in response to something recently published with which you want to strongly agree or which you believe is slanted or inaccurate.
Respond Immediately. If an article published in your newspaper triggers a response in you, email a letter to the editor within 24-48 hours following the articles original appearance. Newspapers typically publish letters two to three days after the original article appears so waiting longer than this may prevent your letter from being published.
Establish Authority. Editors want to publish letters from experts. Identify yourself as a physician and describe how your work as a clinician or researcher makes you qualified to write on the topic of your letter.
Reiterate the point. Before you begin your own argument, reiterate the point in the piece that you are criticizing or supporting.
Focus. You only have 150-200 words to clearly present your argument. The New York Times limit is 150. The Washington post limit is 200. Carefully select the focus of your letter. You can only make one argument effectively in 150-200 words.
Tell a Story. Stories are more memorable than statistics. Write a story about your experiences with patients that people will remember.
Demonstrate Impact. How is this issue relevant to the editor’s readers? Make sure the reader can see the human impact of your argument.
Reward Positive Efforts. Don’t forget to write letters to praise good coverage of health topics in addition to refuting the bad ones.
Op/Ed Pieces (Opinion/Editorial)
Op-ed pieces are short, clearly written essays expressing an individual point of view. They are useful for informing readers about women’s issues in health care reform, convincing readers about the need to make women’s health a priority in health care reform, or focusing on a particular aspect of women’s health and health care reform.
Tips for Writing Op-ed Pieces:
Check with the intended newspaper or magazine to see if they have specific guidelines for letters to the editor or op-ed pieces.
Establish what makes the topic timely or important either in a cover letter or in the text itself.
As an opinion piece, state your opinion and back it up with facts and personal experience.
It is an essay and should include an introduction, a middle clearly presenting the argument and a conclusion.
Contact Your Elected Officials
Elected officials, both at the federal and state level, are poised to be the key decision makers in reshaping our health care system. It is important that your elected representatives are well informed about health care reform. There are many different ways to communicate with lawmakers including phone calls, letter writing, e-mails, personal visits, testimony at public meetings and elected officials and social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook. Congress gets over 200 million e-mails a year so here are some guidelines for helping you get your message through the clutter.
Understand your legislators’ point of view. Determine your voting district or state and go to www.thomas.gov or votesmart.org to learn about your elected representatives voting record, key committees and perspective on your topics of interests.
Tips on Telephoning Your Representative
- Find your legislator’s phone number. Use the online searchable directory at http://beta.congress.gov/members or https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials or call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202)224-3121 and ask for your legislator’s office.
- Telephone calls are usually taken by a staff member, not the member of Congress. Ask to speak with the staff member who handles the issue about which you wish to comment. Don’t be disappointed about speaking with a staffer they are very knowledgeable about their topics and often very influential as well.
- Identify yourself by name and the organization that you represent or the voting district from which you are calling.
- Explain to the staffer you would like to leave a brief message, such as: ” Please tell Senator/Representative (Name) I am calling to support/oppose House Bill: HB_____, Senate Bill: SB_____.
- State the reasons for your support or opposition to the bill. Be polite and concise. Creating 1 or 2 talking points will focus on the content of your message. Too much information may confuse your message.
- Request a written response to your phone call if you did not speak to your legislative member.
- Respond if the legislator requires further information, provide it as soon as possible.
www.5calls.org is an easy tool to contact your Congressional representative.
Tips on Writing Elected Officials
Individual letters to members of Congress, governors, state legislators and local elected officials do make a difference. A letter is a good way to call attention to an issue. Most Members of Congress and other elected officials respond to constituents’ correspondence. Just a few letters can have an impact. You can also write one letter and have several constituents sign the letter or create an online petition circulate it through your social networks asking your connections for signatures or financial support.
Address the letter and envelope properly.
The envelope should be addressed to
The Honorable _________________
U.S. House of Representatives / United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20515 / Washington, D.C. 20510.
Helpful Tips for a Congressional Visit
Before the Meeting
- Understand your legislators’ point of view. Familiarize yourself with the member of Congress (e.g. district or state, voting record, key committees) www.thomas.gov or votesmart.org.
- Decide what you want to accomplish prior to the meeting. If your legislator supports your position, thank them for their support and ask them to take a lead role in recruiting other legislators to supporting the issue. If the legislator opposes your position determine how to best present different perspectives and experiences to appeal to your legislator.
- Review the background on the issues. Develop talking points and practice your presentation prior to the meeting to determine which points are most important and how much time you have to make them. Develop relevant stories for illustrating key points. Stories are more memorable than random facts and statistics.
- Designate a speaker who will “make the case” for each talking point and keep track of time. Upon arriving at the office, check how much time you will have and adjust accordingly.
- Be prompt, patient and flexible. It is not uncommon for legislators to be late. Meeting with a staff member is as important as meeting with the member of Congress. Staff are generally just as knowledgeable about the issues and have significant influence on the legislator. Staffers brief the legislator, write floor statements for debates, and draft legislation. You often have a longer discussion with staffers and time to ask them questions about the legislator’s position. Give staffers the same information and respect you would give the elected official.
During the meeting
- Begin the meeting by thanking the member/staff. Thank them for taking the time to meet, state the purpose of the meeting and thank the member for a positive stance he or she might have taken on an issue.
- Introduce each member of the group. Include their name, relevant affiliations and city/state if you are a constituent.
- Explain why you have come to see them. Keep it simple and illustrate the impact of the legislation. Share your personal experience and highlight how the specific legislation would affect your work as a health care provider, the lives of your patients, and public health in general. Present the main points, implications of the legislation and the reason for your involvement.
- Be factual. Make sure you have cited resources for the information you are presenting.
- Make it local. Talk about how the issues will affect the legislators’ district or state.
- Listen. You are there to learn how to be a more effective advocate for your cause. You will learn by listening to what they have to say about their position. Try to have a conversation with the member/staff and listen to what he/she is interested in or concerned about. Write down any information you learned about the member’s position or concerns you may have from the meeting. Share this information with your members and use it to develop strategy for your next visit or follow up communication.
- Ask. Stay on message. Don’t bring up individual requests. Make sure you have a specific ask that is specified in according to the appropriate house or senate bills for your congressional visits. Identify it accordingly, e.g., House bill: H. R. ____, Senate bill: S.____. Ask how they feel about the issue and ask directly for your legislator’s commitment to vote on your side of the issue. Ask how you can help them move the issue. Some of the things you may ask your elected officials for is to introduce and/or support legislation, co-sponsor legislation and/or oppose efforts to introduce, change or reverse legislation.
- Be responsive and ready to answer questions or to provide more information. You do not need to know every answer. If you don’t have an answer to a question, offer to research the information and get back to the office as soon as possible.
- Give. Leave a brief summary of the legislation addressed.
- Thank. At the end of the meeting, thank the legislator or staff for their time and willingness to listen. Invite them to meet with you back home in your district/state.
- Exchange Contact Information. Before leaving the office, ask for an email address or card so that you can stay in touch with a specific staff member. Leave your contact information and offer to serve as a resource on health care issues. Let him or her know that you are willing to provide information and statistics on the subject.
After the Meeting
- Take Notes. Immediately following the meeting write down any information you learned about the member’s positions or concerns you may have from the meeting. Share this information with your members and use it to develop strategy.
- Assign Action Items. Designate specific follow-up issues to specific members of the group in order to improve accountability.
- Follow- up. Every member of your group should send a thank you note reiterating your message/ask. In the letter, reiterate your key points and any commitments the member made to you. Include any follow-up information you promised to provide.
Tips for Communicating with Elected Officials
Social Media – Your Personal Network
Your Personal Network
Each day you are in contact with a wide variety of people who care about your opinion: friends, neighbors, colleagues, patients, hospital administrators, medical supply companies, local health officials and staff. Take advantage of any opportunity to expand your personal and professional network. Expanding your social network online is free, simple and can be beneficial both personally and professionally. In addition to networking, online platforms can be used to enhance advocacy efforts, fundraising opportunities, donation requests, education, job search and mentoring communications.
Why You Should Use Online Social Networks
One of the most important reasons for bringing AMWA online is for member interaction. When we engage our community to interact with each other on a more personal level we are no longer just an organization or a website, we are people communicating about accomplishing goals, advocating for issues we care about, providing and receiving mentoring and recommending each other for available job positions. When we invest in creating a vibrant and active community, mobilizing our supporters for fundraising and action becomes easy. Advocates can use social networking to reach a large audience of existing and potential supporters, obtain jobs, inspire dialogue around healthcare issues and influence key decision makers.
Why You Should Use the Social Network LinkedIn
LinkedIn is the largest professional social network with over thirty-five million members, 140 industries and executives from all Fortune 500 companies. LinkedIn allows you to network, create an online identity, search for jobs, build a collection of recommendations, promote personal websites and share articles of interests. Because LinkedIn gets top ranking on Google, it is an important tool for controlling your online identity. When someone searches your name in a search engine your professional profile on LinkedIn will come up. Your profile will be important for establishing yourself as an authority in a particular field and may result in media requests for your expert opinion. Many journalists use LinkedIn to look for experts to interview.
How to Use LinkedIn:
- Visit www.linkedin.com. Create a professional profile and upload your CV.
- Build your network. Import contact list from gmail, yahoo, AOL and Windows Live.
- Join the American Medical Women’s Association on LinkedIn http://www.linkedin.com/company/american-medical-women’s-association-amwa-
- LinkedIn is a networking and job search tool. Find the Jobs Section to review jobs listed by hiring managers and recruiters. You can apply for these jobs through the jobs page or contact the person directly regarding the position.
- Improve your search engine results. This is an important tool for controlling the information about you on the internet. Linked in allows you to make your profile information available for search engines to index. To strengthen the visibility of this page in search engines, create a public profile and select “Full View”, customize your public profile’s URL to be your actual name and place this link on as many locations on the web as you can. You can also promote your website or blog.
- Increase your visibility. Fill out your profile like it’s an executive bio including past companies, education, affiliations and activities. Link your profile as part of your email signature. The link enables people to see all your credentials. By adding connections, you increase the likelihood that people will see your profile first when they’re searching for someone to hire or do business with. In addition to appearing at the top of search results people would rather work with people their friends know and trust.
- Recommendations. Use recommendations to showcase your achievements and gain credibility. You can receive recommendations from colleagues and give recommendations to those who work for you.
- Research potential companies. Companies have pages on LinkedIn. You can read about the company, their staff and open job positions. You can also read profiles of individuals who have worked for the company, how long they worked there and where they worked next. You can contact people who used to hold a position you are considering applying for to request the inside scoop on the job, boss and growth potential. Scrutinize the rate of turnover and whether key people are abandoning ship. Former employees usually give more candid opinions about a company’s prospects than someone who’s still on board.
- Expand the scope of your job search. Use LinkedIn’s advanced search to find people with similar credentials to yours to see where they work. Use search keywords such as “physician”, “medical director” and “doctor” to generate a potential list of jobs for physicians.
- Prepare for an interview. Use LinkedIn to find the people you are meeting. Knowing more about them will arm you with ideas for conversation and shared acquaintances can provide a plethora of information.
- Ask for advice. LinkedIn Answers allows you to broadcast your business-related questions to both your network and the greater LinkedIn network.
- Create a slideshow. Using Google Presentation you can create a slideshow summarizing your personal mission statement or life’s work.
- Establish yourself as an expert and attract potential recruiters. Post articles of interest in your specialty. Create a personal blog and post your articles here. Link your Twitter feed to your LinkedIn account. The more content you post online in association with your profile the more often your name will be associated with specific topics. This will help journalists and the media find you as an expert opinion.
- Network for advocacy. Once you build an extensive network of your colleagues join groups with similar interests and take part in their discussions. If you spend time establishing relationships ahead of time it is easier to ask your network to support your advocacy efforts whether it be to call their legislators or sign a petition.
Your Personal Network and Facebook
Facebook is a social networking service and website with more than 600 million active users. Users may create a personal profile, a Page or a Cause. AMWA is an official 501c3 Non-profit Partner of Facebook Causes which means you can personally use your online social network to raise money for AMWA initiatives!
Personal profiles enable users to expand their personal networks by adding other users as friends, invite friends that are not users to join and begin exchanging messages, links, photos and other articles of interest. Additionally, users may join common interest groups, organized by workplace, school or college, or other characteristics.
In addition to personal profiles, Facebook also has Pages which are public platforms that allow organizations to connect with members and other supporters in the Facebook network. AMWA’s Facebook Page allows us to create a profile describing our mission, make our communities aware of local AMWA efforts, post news related to important issues, such as budget cuts, alert supporters to advocacy efforts, encourage dialogue through wall posts, status updates and newsfeeds, share photos, videos and links.
In addition to personal profiles and Pages, Facebook Causes is the world’s largest platform for activism and philanthropy. As of May 2011 Causes has over 140 million users and raised over 30 million dollars for 25,000 nonprofits. Causes is a way for a nonprofit to raise awareness, promote advocacy efforts, and fundraise, but its defining feature is that it enables information and actions to spread through decentralized social networks. Fundraising is generally much more effective on Causes if you have built an active community of supporters who are familiar with your work and feel a personal connection to it. AMWA has access to Causes Nonprofit Partner Center which contains tools for communicating with members of our causes, building relationships with other causes, and creating fundraising and advocacy campaigns.
Html Code for Causes Widget on AMWA
Getting Started with Facebook Advocacy:
1. Join www.facebook.com. Create a personal profile by filling out your name, e-mail, password and birthday.
2. Connect with the American Medical Women’s Association:
a. “Like” the Page. Use AMWA’s Public Profile Page link http://www.facebook.com/pages/American-Medical-Womens-Association/85665171482?ref=ts&sk=wall and click the “Like” button.
b. Join the Cause. American Medical Women’s Association http://www.causes.com/causes/588590-american-medical-women-s-association?recruiter_id=36237174
c. “Send a Friend Request” to AMWA Doctors using this link http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001944107929 or In the search box, type AMWA Doctors or email@example.com. Click on the button “Send a Friend Request” and we will accept.
d. Start a Cause without a Facebook account. Go to the Causes website and enter the information requested http://apps.facebook.com/causes/new. Select the American Medical Women’s Association as the nonprofit beneficiary of the cause from their database powered by GuideStar – www.guidestar.org
3. Build a group of supporters. Create a contact list and start recruiting members from your social network to your “cause” or initiative you choose. Start with your personal network including friends, neighbors, colleagues, patients, hospital administrators, medical supply companies, local health officials and staff. Use your email list and Facebook’s “Friend Finder” tools. Facebook is the new business card. Every time you meet someone new send them a facebook friend request. If they accept, read about their interest to see if they have interest similar to yours. The cause can grow quickly through peer-to-peer promotion.
4. Join the conversation.
a. Listen First. Good communication begins with good listeners. Listen to the conversations already on the web about your issues. Take a look at the kinds of posts, events, or links that are shared on personal profiles, pages and causes. You will get a sense of the dialogue these posts can generate among fans. Notice fans often engage each other, exchanging links to related information or sharing their personal experience in response to a particular news article. By networking with each other, they are helping to spread the word about AMWA within Facebook and ultimately beyond the internet. With several hundred members on our AMWA page, returning to the AMWA page at regular intervals will allow you to stay in touch with a much larger social network than you would be able to accomplish in person or without the aid of online social networks. Join other causes that advocate for similar issues and see what they are doing to promote their advocacy efforts.
b. Choose an issue. Read about AMWA’s initiatives on our Causes Page and Website and choose a topic you feel passionate about.
c. Start a conversation.
- Raise awareness about your initiative by educating your audience. In any advocacy effort you can talk about issues, why you think they are important, correct myths and misinformation and share facts sheets.
- Tell non-AMWA members about AMWA by sharing a link to our website www.amwa-doc.org or sharing our news and photos among your personal social network.
- Post a news story about recent AMWA events or healthcare budget cuts affecting women’s health issues.
- Share a link to a video clip of a local TV news story about AMWA advocacy or initiatives. Invite fans to local AMWA events, advocacy day on Capitol Hill or AMWA’s annual meeting in the spring.
- Upload pictures from your computer or phone of a press conference on the steps of the state capital building
Sample Facebook Post
Watch: Video from AMWA’s Advancing Women’s Health Working Group http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lj-2pzkkXUA
Take Action: Sign our petition to stop budget cuts for Title X Funding
Share the News: AMWA is quoted in Medscape http://www.medscape.com/ and the British Medical Journal http://www.bmj.com/content/342/bmj.d798.full on pay discrepancies for new female and male physicians
d. Monitor your audiences’ response. Pay attention to how people respond to your awareness raising efforts. Did people reply to your post? Did they comment or “like” the articles, photos or media you posted?
e. Reward with Response. Reply to your supporters who commented. Thank the supporters who “liked” your articles. Offer to answer questions for your audience. Return the favor by interacting with their post by commenting and liking articles of interests that they post on their walls.
5. Turn Education into Action. Promote your cause through your network of supporters. Make sure your campaigns help members understand why they are a part of your particular cause community. Focus on recruiting, sending bulletins, sharing media, and building relationships with the top recruiters to build capacity for significant fundraising.
a. Make the title a call to action. When creating a cause consider what issue you want your cause focused on when writing the title, mission, description and first bulletin. Successful causes focus compelling, urgent, and action oriented content. The title should engage readers to take action while summarizing the purpose of the project in the most engaging way possible. Use action verbs like “Sponsor” “Donate”, “Save”, “Build,” “Create”, “Support”
b. Post multiple photos and videos. People are more likely to feel connected to your cause if they can see the need and/or potential impact of your project through visual aids.
c. Provide a compelling description of the need and potential impact. Share personal experiences and stories along with statistics and facts. Stories are more memorable but statistics and facts are necessary for convincing the data oriented readers. Describe what the project is, the specific uses for the money and the potential impact the money will have. Aim for two to three paragraphs.
d. Visually convey the impact of different donation amounts. Select a range of price points that include low, medium and high price points as donor options. These price points will automatically customize your donation form.
e. Promote your project Start with your dedicated supporters, co-workers, friends, and family to donate. If they can’t donate ask them to join your cause and promote each featured project by posting it to their Facebook profiles, Twitter accounts, blogs, email their friends and spread the word. Start pointing your existing fundraising asks toward this project in the places you currently communicate with your dedicated supporters. Feature your project on all of your causes http://www.causes.com/ and link your Facebook profile and send bulletins to these causes too.
f. Send regular bulletins. The average person needs to see a message 5-7 times before it begins to influence them. The most successful causes send at least weekly bulletins to their cause members with engaging messages that include good content including updates, stories, videos, statistics, etc. and ask people to do something to support the project. Use all of your social network tools to promote your project to supporters including causes, email lists, FB Page, Twitter, website, community center. Create a communications schedule of how often and when you’ll send Tweets, cause bulletins, and Fan Page updates then include the project in your regularly scheduled communications to your supporters.
g. Offer Incentives. The Nonprofit Partner Center allows you to track top donors, fundraisers, and promoters on the project page. Offer prizes to top fundraisers and promoters. Create a competition to win the prize.
h. Match Donations. Find a large-dollar donor who is willing to match all donations to the project and share news with your supporters.
i. Use an Offline Event to Raise Funds Online. If you have a holiday party or year-end event coming up, try funding the project at the event! Put computers up around the room and announce the progress over the course of the event
j. Building Your Community is First Priority. Patiently build a community of supporters online. Build the cause by sending a weekly bulletin and encouraging supporters to join. Campaigns could include awareness emails, media, petitions and off-line events.
Your Personal Network and Twitter
Twitter, www. twitter.com, is a free microblogging, social networking service and real-time information network that allows people to communicate in small bursts of information called “tweets” which are short posts of up to 140 characters in length. The condensed format allows rapid and frequent transmission of information as headlines, photos, videos and other media saving the reader time obtaining information. If you find the information of the Tweet interesting, each Tweet is connected to a details pane that provides additional information, deeper context and embedded media. Twitter is a great way to engage with individuals and organizations interested in health, make connections, expand our network, educate people all over the world and influence key decision makers.
Twitter has millions of users. As of May 2011 Twitter has 200,000,000+ registered users, 460,000 new sign ups daily, 155,000,000 tweets sent daily. You can share information, offer feedback to breaking news, team up to spread the word about worthy initiatives and advance advocacy priorities.
You don’t have to tweet to learn from Twitter. You can contribute or just listen as a way to get the latest information on your interests. Twitter users subscribe to your messages by following your account. Followers receive your messages in their timeline, a newsfeed of all the accounts they have subscribed to. Twitter fosters its own interactive community because each Twitter feed is linked to a list of the user’s followers, as well as the users that they in turn follow. Twitter users can easily identify others who share their interests, and smaller communities form around different priorities. While Twitter may be used as an individual’s personal newsfeed, it also can be a useful platform for organizations as well.
Twitter can serve as a great advocacy tool that enables followers to stay informed about issues related to healthcare. Ideally, followers will spread messages by retweeting, which means a follower will take your tweet and rebroadcast it to their own followers. You can also retweet messages by others to help strengthen your relationships with peer groups, expand your Twitter presence and bolster Twitter’s dialogue on health care. The “viral” spread of information can help your message reach individuals and organizations beyond your current reach.
You can use Twitter to keep followers informed about interesting news related to different aspects of health care. You can then build on this foundation to encourage followers to take specific action related to your advocacy goals. You may encourage them to protest health budget cuts, engage their local leadership or simply spread the word to their own communities.
Signing Up for Twitter
You can use your personal computer or mobile device to follow Twitter accounts.
Visit www.twitter.com. Click on the green Sign up Now box. Enter your name and e-mail address. Create a username and password.
Search for interesting accounts, AMWA Doctors and other interesting people to follow, personal friends, national and local advocacy organizations, local politicians and thought leaders.
Build your following, reputation, and community’s trust with these practices:
1. Share. Share photos and messages about developing projects and events. Users come to Twitter to get and share the latest, so give it to them.
2. Listen. Regularly monitor the comments about your company, brand and products.
3. Ask. Ask questions of your followers to gather valuable insights and show you are listening.
4. Respond. Respond to compliments and feedback in real time.
5. Reward. Tweet updates about special offers, discounts and time-sensitive deals.
6. Demonstrate leadership. Reference articles and links as it relates to your mission.
7. Champion your stakeholders. Retweet and reply publicly to great tweets posted by your followers and customers.
8. Establish the right voice. AMWA is the vision and voice of women in medicine. So relay it to your audience!
9. Keep it under 140 characters. To stay within the small window for text, find a URL shortener service like http://bit.ly/, which will shorten long links you want to share.
10. Set a schedule. You also do not have to limit your tweets to real-time posts. At www.twuffer.com, you can enter tweets in advance to publish at a later time or date. This can be helpful when you want to stagger news over time.
Watch: Video from AMWA’s Advancing Women’s Health Working Group http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lj-2pzkkXUA
Advocacy Alert! Sign up for Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill today!
Act Now! Call your legislators and sign our petition to stop budget cuts for Title X Funding
Share the News: AMWA is quoted in Medscape http://www.medscape.com/ and the British Medical Journal http://www.bmj.com/content/342/bmj.d798.full on pay discrepancies for new female and male physicians
Check it out! “While advocating with @AMWADoctors I had the pleasure of meeting @Surgeon General Regina Benjamin! Check out the photo(Add link).
Quick Twitter Tips for Real-time News Sharing From www.twitter.com
Fast Follow A simple way to follow an account from a phone without signing up. If you don’t want to sign up for Twitter but you want to receive Tweets from @AMWADoctors sent to your phone you can text ‘follow AMWADoctors’ to 40404 and receive Tweets from @AMWADoctors sent to your phone.
Notifications From a computer or phone, Twitter users can receive text message updates when AMWADoctors Tweets. Click on the phone icon next to the Following button on AMWADoctors profile to receive tweets on your phone.
Tweet from Anywhere There are numerous applications to help you stay connected to your community wherever you are. Android, iPhone, iPad, Windows and Blackberry phones along with several picture applications help you upload pictures and video such as TwitPic, YFrog, Plixi, Flickr, and YouTube.
Mention @ When a username is preceded by the @sign, it becomes a link to a Twitter profile. Once you’ve signed up and chosen a Twitter username, you and others can mention an account in your Tweets by preceding it with the @ symbol, eg: “While advocating with @AMWADoctors I had the pleasure of meeting @Surgeon General Regina Benjamin! Check out the photo( Add link).
Retweet When you see a Tweet by another user that you want to share, click Retweet below it to forward it to your followers instantly or type RT@Username of the user who wrote the message.
Message DM or D If you want to privately Tweet to a particular user who’s already following you, start your Tweet with DM or D to direct-message them, eg: “DM @AMWADoctors I saw the photo of AMWA with the Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, Do you mind if I tag myself in the photo?”
Hashtag # Think of hashtags as the theme of your Tweet eg: @AMWADoctors advocated on Capitol Hill for #Healthcare Reform. Users can then click on the hashtag to see other similarly-themed tweets and find yours in the search. As a reader if I wanted to see what is being said about healthcare reform on twitter I could type “#healthcare reform” in the search box and every public tweet with “#healthcare reform” in it around the world would show up in the Twitter search results in a concise and easy to read list of messages.
Your Personal Network and YouTube
What is YouTube?
YouTube, www.youtube.com, is both a video content distribution system and a networking tool. One of the most effective ways to generate more traffic to your website is to network with other users on the site. YouTube is the world’s most popular online video community, where millions of users watch and share millions of videos each day. Joining AMWA’s YouTube community can help you meet and connect with people who share your interests, expand your professional network and communicate with AMWA members about important advocacy issues. You can use YouTube to inform viewers about your mission and advocacy goals, post interviews with advocates or members sharing personal stories to underscore the impact of hot healthcare topics, network with ally organizations, call an audience to action, create groups of videos on an AMWA channel or make Facebook or Twitter content more engaging.
You can visit AMWA’s channel http://www.youtube.com/user/AMWADoctors without creating a personal account. However if you would like to upload videos yourself follow these steps:
- Visit AMWA’s channel http://www.youtube.com/user/AMWADoctors
- Click on create an account. Choose a username and complete the other information.
- Once you have an account, click on the gold Upload button in the upper-right-hand corner of the page to post a video file from your computer.
- Click Browse to choose the video file you would like to post.
- Select the file; click Upload Video
- While video is uploading, complete the description, category info, and tag the video with key words like “AMWA” or “AMWADoctors” or “women’s health.” The more information you enter, the easier it will be for people to find your video.
- Click Save Changes
- Roll over your username and click on My videos
- Click on video link you would like to upload
Tips for Advocacy Content on www.youtube.com
Consider using the following types of communication with your community:
Direct Dialogue: You can use YouTube to communicate directly with an audience eliminating the need for media and news outlets to convey your information. You can solicit questions from regular viewers and respond via video postings. Or you can make a request for ideas or reactions to your work to mobilize interests in your campaign or AMWA’s advocacy issues.
Call to Action: Mobilize people by soliciting user generated content on YouTube. If your issue is healthcare, ask users to send you videos about specific topics you are interested in. Testimonies and personal stories are more memorable than statistics and very effective tools in advocacy. Creating a collection of personal testimonies that can be shared with an elected official or key decision maker are powerful tools. Use the “Group” function on YouTube to collect the videos together or set up a contest with a prize for the best video submission you receive.
Serial Stories: Online video is an ideal medium for episodic content and can be thought of as a video newsletter or TV series for your organization’s advocacy issues or goals. Create a series of videos around a specific theme or topic. Create a weekly video in which someone in your organization provides updates on your work or progress on a particular issue. Create a series of profiles of people you are serving or volunteers in your organization who are passionate about their work. Passion and progress conveyed in a powerful video can motivate and inspire viewers to get involved in your cause.
Rapid Response: Respond quickly to events in the news and media with a video that explains your organizations position. When people search YouTube for information, they will find your organizations video and see where you stand. You can also send these links to your email lists- a tangible video message can be more effective than a text laden email. Responding rapidly to current media topics is a good way to reach people who share your interests but have not connected with your organization yet. It is also effective tool for demonstrating you are an active, engaged and up-to-date organization.
Commercials and Public Service Announcements: Create a commercial illustrating your organization’s mission and online video outreach.
Eye-catching Titles: YouTube users are sorting through millions of potential videos to watch. Your title has to be catchy and descriptive enough to separate it from the other videos and engage the viewer to watch it. Questions and provocative statements work better than general topics. “Doesn’t your child deserve the best healthcare possible?” is better than “healthcare reform”.
Playlists: Once you have created content use the playlist function to create groups of videos with target demographics, geographies, advocacy issues, or constituency groups.
Identify Channels with Like-Minded Values: Search friends, colleagues, voters, constituency groups, non-profit organizations and click “subscribe” to their YouTube channels. Clicking “Subscribe” is the most basic unit of currency on YouTube. It indicates to the channel you are interested in their content. You can also send messages, comment on their videos and favorite or like their videos to indicate support of their content. Congratulate and encourage their work.
Identify Channels with Opposing Values: Draw attention to your work by interacting with users who oppose your views. Consider posting specific reply videos to candidates or organizations who have views contrary to your own. Request an online debate with opposing organizations.
Make Reply Videos: Reply videos are videos you make in direct reply of released content. You can also designate existing videos as reply videos. Each time someone watches the video you are replying to your video will be listed underneath it. Search for other videos on the issue, choose the one that is the most popular, (i.e. highest rating and most views) and designate your video as a reply to that one. Then your video is attached to a highly visible video and your content is more likely to get attention.
Drive Traffic to Your Website: Videos posted to your YouTube account can generate interest in your organization and drive traffic back to your website.
Academy for Health Services Research and Health Policy
The Academy aspires to be the preeminent source for stimulating the development, understanding, and use of the best available health services research
Alliance for Health Reform
A non-partisan, non-profit group, the Alliance advocates no particular blueprint for changing American health care. We pursue the tandem goals of extending health coverage to all Americans and containing health care costs.
American Civil Liberties Union
The ACLU works to defend and protect human rights in the US, including first amendment rights, due process, equal protection under the law and the right to privacy.
American Public Human Services Association
APHSA is a nonprofit, bipartisan organization of individuals and agencies concerned with human services.
Association of Reproductive Health Professionals
Looking for medically accurate, up-to-date, evidence-based educational programming for health care providers and materials for patients on all reproductive health topics, including abortion, contraception, HPV, menopause, menstruation, pregnancy, sexuality? Look no further than the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals (ARHP) – the leading source for trusted medical education and information on reproductive and sexual health.
California HealthCare Foundation
The mission of the California Health Care Foundation is to expand access to affordable, quality health care for underserved individuals and communities and to promote fundamental improvements in the health status of the people of California.
Center for Health Affairs
The Project HOPE Center for Health Affairs (CHA), founded in 1981, is a nonprofit health policy research organization that provides objective research and policy analysis on both United States and foreign health systems.
Center for Health Care Strategies
The CHCS is a nonprofit, policy resource center that promotes high quality health care services for low-income populations and people with chronic illnesses and disabilities.
Center for Health Services Research and Policy
CHSRP conducts sponsored health services research and policy analysis on complex health policy issues.
Center for Law and Social Policy
CLASP is a national non-profit organization with expertise in both law and policy affecting the poor. Through education, policy research and advocacy, CLASP seeks to improve the economic security of low-income families with children.
Center for Reproductive Rights
CPR is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting women’s equality worldwide by guaranteeing reproductive rights as human rights.
Center for Women Policy Studies
Since its founding in 1972 as the nation’s first feminist policy research organization, the Center for Women Policy Studies has been on the front lines of efforts to promote justice and equality for women.
Coalition Advancing Multipurpose Innovations
CAMI provides a platform for product developers, researchers, advocates, and clinicians working in reproductive health to coordinate their efforts. By facilitating interdisciplinary collaboration, we advance a holistic approach to reproductive health.
Consumer Coalition for Quality Health Care
A national, non-profit membership organization of consumer groups dedicated to protecting and improving the quality of health care for all Americans.
Family-building and Fertility Advocacy Day—June 17
Partnering with RESOLVE to lobby congress to expand healthcare coverage for family-planning including IVF and adoption, Attend a pre-event lobby day training. Learn more and register
Global Health Council
The world’s largest membership alliance dedicated to improving health worldwide.
GU Institute for Health Care Research and Policy
The Georgetown University Institute for Health Care Research and Policy is a multi-disciplinary group of faculty and staff dedicated to conducting research on key issues in health policy and health services research.
The Guttmacher Institute monitors and analyzes state policy developments in the United States—including legislative, judicial and executive actions—on a broad range of issues related to sexual and reproductive health and rights. Our series of fact sheets provides the current legal status of key issues. Fact sheets are updated as policies change.
The U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s Healthcare 411 audio news source provides practical health care information, research findings, and data to help consumers, health providers, health insurers, researchers, and policymakers make informed decisions about health care issues.
Health Reform Tracker
The Health Reform Tracker is an initiative of the UCSF/UC Hastings Consortium on Law, Science & Health Policy, which is supported by the California Healthcare Foundation, UC Hastings College of the Law, and the UCSF Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies. The website serves as a resource for consumers, healthcare providers, journalists, state policymakers, scholars and others seeking to understand national healthcare reform and its impact on California in particular.
Institute for Health Services Research and Policy Studies
A University-wide research center with offices on Northwestern’s Chicago and Evanston campuses.
Maternal and Child Health Information Research Center
The Maternal and Child Health Information Resource Center (MCHIRC) is dedicated to the goal of helping MCH practitioners on the Federal, State, and local levels to improve their capacity to gather, analyze, and use data for planning and policymaking.
National Academy for State Health Policy
NASHP works to disseminate information designed to assist states in the development of practical, innovative solutions to complex health policy issues.
National Conference of State Legislatures
Researchers at NCSL provide lawmakers and their staffs with expert information on policy-related issues.
National Health Law Program
A national public interest law firm that seeks to improve health care for America’s working and unemployed poor, minorities, the elderly and people with disabilities.
National Health Policy Forum
A nonpartisan education and information exchange program primarily serving federal legislative and executive agency staff working in health care and related areas.
National Patient Advocate Foundation
To create avenues of access to insurance funding for evolving therapies, therapeutic agents and devices for cancer patients through legislative and policy reform.
Office of HIV/AIDS Policy
To advise the Assistant Secretary for Health on the appropriate and timely development of HIV/AIDS policy, establishment of priorities and implementation of HIV/AIDS programs, activities, and initiatives across the Department’s health agencies.
Population Action International
PAI is dedicated to advancing policies and programs that slow population growth in order to enhance the quality of life for all people.
A national nonprofit organization working to slow population growth and achieve a sustainable balance between the Earth’s people and its resources.
Public Policy Institute of California
Dedicated to independent, objective, nonpartisan research on economic, social, and political issues that affect the lives of Californians.
The Trust for America’s Health
Taking action to prevent disease and protect the health and safety of our communities.
UCLA Center for Health Policy Research
Conducts research on national, state, and local health policy issues, provides public service to policy makers and community leaders, and offers educational opportunities for graduate students and post-doctoral fellows.
United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
An independent federal government agency that conducts foreign assistance and humanitarian aid to advance the political and economic interests of the US.