Organizations like ACMG are a constant presence on Capitol Hill, but our efforts alone are not enough. Lawmakers also need to hear from their individual constituents, especially healthcare professionals with firsthand knowledge about the impact of certain policies. The resources below will help guide you in your efforts to become an advocate for medical genetics.

How to Find & Contact Your Elected Officials in the U.S. Congress

The easiest way to find your Representative or Senator is through tools hosted online at the official government websites of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. The tools will redirect you to your specific members of Congress’ webpage. Each member’s website includes contact information, biographies, committee assignments, press releases, and more. We encourage you to sign up to receive your elected officials’ newsletters to keep up to date with legislative initiatives, voting record, town halls, and other in-person or virtual events.


Requesting a Meeting


To request a meeting with your elected official, send an email or use the contact forms available on the member’s webpage. Make sure to identify yourself as a constituent, state your profession and connection to the topic, and, if requesting a meeting, include the reason for the meeting request. Meetings are generally scheduled for 30 minutes or less. Please note, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, most congressional offices have moved exclusively to virtual meetings. Below is an example of a meeting request to Congress:

request a meeting with your elected official email template


What to Expect

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There is a rare chance you will meet with your member of Congress. Most likely, you will meet with a health staffer from the office, usually a legislative assistant or legislative correspondent. These staffers handle the healthcare portfolio and brief the member of Congress on issues raised by constituents. Do not be disappointed if you don’t meet directly with your member of Congress; staffers are critically important gatekeepers of information and often have a deeper understanding of details of issues within their respective portfolio.

When your meeting begins, make sure to introduce yourself, explain why you requested the meeting, and describe your concerns. Remember that you are representing yourself as an individual healthcare professional. You should not speak on behalf of your institution, your employer, or any other professional organization unless you are authorized to do so. Make sure to give the staffer an opportunity to ask questions.


Sending a Letter


You can also send a letter to your member of Congress. You can find your member of Congress’ address on their website – majority have multiple offices. In most cases, you will want to reach out to the District of Columbia office which is where the health policy staffers are typically located. You can also submit your letter through your member of Congress’ respective webform. Letters can be sent to bring your elected official’s attention to a specific concern, state your support/opposition for a specific piece of legislation, thank them for their actions on legislation, etc. The template below is an example of how you should build your letter.

template for letter to Congress

Other important things to keep in mind when writing a letter:

  • Why is this letter / opinion important for the Member of Congress to know?
  • Conciseness is key!
  • Make it personal!
  • Minimize technical language
  • Tie your comments back to local needs / issues
  • Always abide by any word count limits if submitting the letter via an online webform.
  • Always include your contact information!


Social Media

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Most members of Congress have at least one social media page (i.e., Twitter, Facebook). Following members’ social media accounts allows you to raise your awareness of the everyday issues on which they focus. These accounts are usually listed on their official government website but can also be found through searches on respective social media websites or through internet search engines. Public facing social media accounts often do not respond to messages, so attempting to schedule a meeting via social media is not recommended. On most social media platforms, you can even tag members’ accounts in your own social media posts. This is a great way to raise awareness among other constituents since the posts are usually public.


Washington, D.C. (Capitol Hill) Office vs. District Offices

Members of Congress typically operate several offices, with at least one on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. and at least one in their home district. Some members of Congress, if they have a leadership role in Congress, may also have a committee or leadership office. D.C. office staff handle most of the policy and federal legislative issues, including issues of interest to ACMG’s federal outreach. Legislative assistants are, in most offices, the staffers who primarily handle issues of policy and typically work out of the D.C. office. District office staff primarily handle constituent casework and district-specific appearances and events. When Congress is in session, members of Congress are available to meet in their D.C. offices., When Congress is in recess, members will often meet with constituents in the district.


General Tips for Interacting with a Congressional Office

  • Prepare a brief summary of who you are, including what issues are of importance to you and why. Remember that you are a genetics expert, and in almost all cases, they are not; you can be surprised how much members and staff are willing to learn!
  • Do your research on the member or staff using their office webpages, internet search engines and professional social media pages (i.e., Twitter, Facebook).
  • “Always have an ask!” is a good unwritten rule when approaching meetings with congressional offices. Members and their staff want to be helpful and responsive to constituents.
  • Be prepared to explain why your ask is particularly important in the universe of all asks made of a member of Congress or their staff.


Other Important Resources for Congressional Advocacy is the official online database of the United States Congress.  It contains legislative information, including bills and resolutions, summaries, statuses, lists of sponsors and cosponsors, and voting results, including how individual members of Congress voted.

Legislation introduced into Congress is first referred to specific committees of jurisdiction. In some cases, a bill may be assigned to multiple committees. Committees often include numerous subcommittees with more targeted jurisdiction. Each committee/subcommittee has its own website which includes information about scheduled hearings, bill markups, and how to watch these public meetings. There are many committees/subcommittees that could be assigned to a healthcare-related bill, but the most common ones include:

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