Prostate Cancer Advocacy Campaign

895 words | 3 page(s)

My proposed policy addresses the problem of the high incidence of prostate cancer and mortality rates from the disease among African American men in the United States (Sandiford & D’Errico, 2016). The multi-pronged policy combines three objectives: to change the prostate cancer screening guidelines in to recommend that black males begin screening in their 40’s instead of their 50’s, to increase the amount of education provided to black males on prostate cancer and how it impacts the black community, and to develop a body of informational literature on prostate cancer for black males that includes testimony from survivors.

This proposed policy could be enacted through the creation of new legislation that would provide the necessary funding for the campaign. There are financial costs associated with developing and implementing educational programs and informational literature on prostate cancer for black males, and a new law could appropriate the funds that would be needed to create high-quality programs and educational materials. Once the funds have been appropriated through the law, individual clinics and community health organizations around the country could access the money in order to implement the proposed policy in their communities.

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There are several existing laws and regulations that could affect my advocacy efforts for the proposed policy. For instance, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) includes multiple provisions that increase the accessibility and affordable of health insurance (Government Publishing Office, 2010). As a result, more African American men have been able to access healthcare services on a regular basis, which I can use as an argument that the policy will have the desired impact on the target population. Before the ACA was passed, fewer African American men had health insurance, so they would be less likely to go to a doctor’s office where they could be screened for prostate cancer or provided with educational materials on prostate cancer.

Another piece of legislation that could affect my advocacy efforts is the Childhood Cancer Survivorship, Treatment, Access, and Research Act of 2018. Among other provisions, this bill appropriated $30 million per year for research on childhood cancer and associated treatment efforts (Congressional Budget Office, 2018). In my advocacy efforts, I could use the passage of this act as an argument in favor of enacting similar legislation to appropriate funding for a policy addressing prostate cancer in African American men. At the same time, the passage of this policy may also negatively impact my advocacy efforts, since some members of Congress may be hesitant to appropriate more funding to anti-cancer efforts after recently agreeing to budget so much money to fight childhood cancer.

In order to influence legislators to support my proposed policies, there are several key methods that I could use. Milstead (2014) highlights three “legs” of policy advocacy that are essential for legislative success, and I would take advantage of each one. The first leg involves the use of professional lobbyists, who are typically trusted as experts by legislators who are trying to determine whether or not to support the passage of a particular bill (Milstead, 2014). For my advocacy efforts, I would seek out lobbyists who have successfully promoted cancer legislation in the past and hire them convince lawmakers to support my policy proposal. The second leg involves the use of grassroots lobbyists, who are ordinary constituents whose power rests in their ability to elect officials (Milstead, 2014).

I would seek to develop grassroots support among nurses who recognize the importance of addressing the issue of prostate cancer among African American men, and I would urge them to write, call, and visit their legislators to support the policy. Finally, the third leg is the role of money in politics (Milstead, 2014). Because it will inevitably be expensive for the policy to be passed, I would undertake fundraising efforts and seek financial support from well-funded nursing organizations. This money could be used to support the election campaigns of lawmakers who are willing to support my proposed policy (Milstead, 2014).

Over the course of the legislative process, various obstacles could arise. The first obstacle would be the challenge of finding a lawmaker in the House of Representatives who is willing to introduce the spending bill (Milstead, 2014). This hurdle could be overcome by finding a lawmaker in a congressional district with a particularly large population African American males, since they would be the most likely to recognize the importance of my proposed policy. Another obstacle would be moving the bill through the committee process, which involves holding hearings and annotating the bill (Milstead, 2014). During this period, I would raise the pressure on lawmakers by increasing the intensity of both professional and grassroots lobbying targeted at committee members. Similarly, when facing the obstacle of getting passed by the full House of Representatives and then the Senate, I would broaden lobbying efforts to include all Congress members. The final hurdle would be presidential action (Milstead, 2014). This hurdle could be overcome by winning enough Congressional support to override a possible veto by the president.

In conclusion, it is extremely important to address the high rate of prostate cancer in the African American community and to take action to lower mortality rates. The ideal solution is to implement a three-pronged policy that combines early screening, educational programs, and the creation of high-quality informational literature, and this strategy can be funded through the passage of a law. Through targeted, strategic lobbying efforts, passing such a law is a feasible goal.

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