DDNC 27th Annual Public Policy Forum
March 5 – 6, 2017
The Digestive Disease National Coalition (DDNC) 27th Annual Public Policy Forum was held on March 5th and 6th, 2017 at the Phoenix Park Hotel in Washington, DC. Over 150 patient advocates, gastrointestinal physicians, and industry representatives attended and made approximately 120 visits on Capitol Hill to advocate for the DDNC’s legislative priorities, including federal research funding for NIH and basic patient protections of the Affordable Care Act.
Attendees heard from Federal agency representatives and key legislative speakers on topics of interest, including the most recent advances in digestive disease research, the future of health care reform, and prevention activities at the CDC’s Division of Viral Hepatitis. The presentations focused on the three key aspects of the DDNC Public Policy Agenda: research, patient access to care, and prevention & awareness. Attendees also heard a legislative overview and received an advocacy training session from DDNC’s Washington Representative, Dale P. Dirks.Additionally, the American Gastroenterological Association hosted a dinner and listening session for state GI society leaders and representatives from around the country. These doctors were able to share their goals and ideas for the coming year and receive helpful feedback from one another. This was a great discussion for everyone involved.
The DDNC presented its Congressional Distinguished Public Service Awards to Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) and Patty Murray (D-WA). Madeleine Pannell accepted the award on her behalf. Senator Cassidy was able to accept the award in person and stayed to speak with many of our attendees.
The DDNC presented its Lifetime Achievement Award to Jane Holt, treasurer for the DDNC and co-founder of the National Pancreas Foundation. Jane has been actively involved in the DDNC for over 20 years. Her invaluable contributions are well-deserving of this award, and we look forward to continuing our work with her for the foreseeable future.
Many thanks to the DDNC’s Executive Committee, the Board of Directors, and the Health and Medicine Counsel of Washington for making this year’s Public Policy Forum one of the most successful events yet. We hope all DDNC members will continue to advocate for our legislative priorities to the new Congress and Administration, and the DDNC will continue to keep our member organizations updated on our progress in achieving these goals.