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Policymakers Lead Maryland Event on Advocacy, Empowerment

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Maryland nurses and nursing students geared up for the state’s 2011 legislative season with a half-day advocacy and empowerment seminar Nov. 20 conducted by the University of Maryland School of Nursing, Baltimore, and the Maryland Nurses Association. The training session drew about 150 participants to Bowie (Md.) State University.

Maryland’s 2011 General Assembly is expected to present many opportunities and challenges for nurses. The state was quick to act on federal healthcare reform mandates, appointing a cabinet level advisory council and engaging policy experts to propose the necessary structures, systems and regulations. The legislature is expected to consider a slew of bills intended to translate the council’s recommendations into reality.

Headlining the event was U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), who offered a Capitol Hill perspective on healthcare reform and the moral obligation felt by many members of Congress to overhaul a system that left so many without access to care and others bankrupted by excessive cost.

Democratic state delegates Shirley Nathan-Pulliam and James Hubbard gave participants insight into upcoming legislation and tips on how to be effective advocates.

Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Deputy Secretary Frances Phillips and Assistant Secretary Wendy Kronmiller, both chairwomen of reform council work groups, outlined the blueprint being proposed to the governor.

Andrea Brassard, strategic policy adviser for the Center to Champion Nursing in America, gave an overview of the new Institute of Medicine recommendations for advancing the role of nursing in light of healthcare reform.

UMSON Legal Affairs Coordinator Ann Mech conducted a segment on legislative process and advocacy strategies.

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