By Sage B., Grassroots Manager

Welcome to the New Year! I’m excited to say that my sneakers are no longer decorative objects in my closet. Instead, they are decorating my entry hall- hmmm enough about me! My other resolution is to ensure that Dialysis Patient Citizens (DPC) remains responsive to its members. And on that front, I’m making a bit more headway.

As you may know, one of DPC’s core programs is the Patient Ambassador program. In this program DPC provides support to Ambassadors as they advocate for dialysis patients and their families and educate the public. They build relationships with state and federal lawmakers and channel the information they get from these relationships to other patients and caregivers. Ambassadors also educate the public and lawmakers on the issues that dialysis patients face. In order to support the work of our Patient Ambassadors, DPC holds monthly conference calls, provides tools, and I’m always available to trouble shoot issues they may confront.

Each month, Patient Ambassadors are asked to complete two “Calls to Action.” Typically, we ask ambassadors to contact their federal lawmakers regarding an issue facing Congress, write a letter to the editor or plan a public awareness event. In December, we asked the ambassadors to provide feedback on the program. I want to let you know what we heard, and to let you know how DPC will improve:

Overall, the Patient Ambassadors are pleased with the program. They find the monthly calls, guest speakers, and Washington updates informative, and enjoy the monthly assignments. That said, they reported that it can be hard to make the phone calls, they would like more interaction with fellow ambassadors, and want certain tools within the program to be more user-friendly.

I am already looking for ways to record the monthly phone calls so that ambassadors can listen to them when it’s convenient. I will also work to better support our local teams of Patient Ambassadors, called ACT teams, and look for opportunities to start new teams, so that our ambassadors can interact and collaborate on a local level.

Finally, I’m working with our web designer to make certain tools, like our call to action reporting form, more accessible.

If you would like more information about the Patient Ambassador program, including the process to join, please visit our website. Also, current Patient Ambassadors with suggestions for the program should always feel free to email me. You are the people on the front lines, you know what you need, and I’m here to do what I can to support your work!