Pediatric Patient Advocates and Families Urge Congress to Prioritize Children’s Health Care

Pediatric Patient Advocates and Families Urge Congress to Prioritize Children’s Health Care

Children's hospitals, patient advocates, and their families are calling on Congress to strengthen the pediatric workforce, enhance Medicaid support, and address the youth mental health crisis.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Children's Hospital Association (CHA) is proud to kick off its 19th annual Family Advocacy Day today. The event brings patient advocates and their families to Washington D.C. to meet with Congress and share how their lives have been significantly impacted by the advanced and specialized care provided by children's hospitals.

This year's Family Advocacy Day, held from June 12-14, brings together nearly 50 patient advocates and their families from 46 hospitals across the United States. Representing 27 states and the District of Columbia, CHA's patient advocates will meet with lawmakers to advocate for policies that ensure access to high-quality medical care for children. This year's theme, Team CHA, captures the shared journey that patient advocates and children's hospitals are taking in calling on Congress to strengthen the pediatric health care workforce, enhance Medicaid support, and address the youth mental health crisis.

Some of the patient advocates who will share their stories include:

  • Amelia, age 9, Children's Health, Dallas
  • Ella, age 5, Children's Hospital Los Angeles
  • Ezrah, age 14, Seattle Children's Hospital
  • Harmony, age 10, Children's of Alabama
  • Milan, age 10, Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital
  • Roy, age 8, Blank Children's Hospital

"The Children's Hospital Association proudly welcomes the children and families who traveled across the country to participate this week," said Matt Cook, CEO of CHA. "These kids are advocating for themselves and for the thousands of pediatric patients who will benefit from a stronger children's health care system. The effort, bravery, and enthusiasm they have poured into Family Advocacy Day is beyond commendable. We look forward to educating our members of Congress on the necessity of children's hospitals."

Advocates will ask members of Congress to bolster the pediatric health care workforce, protect and strengthen Medicaid, and make federal investments to address the children's mental health crisis.

Additional programming throughout the week includes the Champions for Care Showcase, which tells the story of children's hospitals through one-on-one discussions with hospital representatives, and features VR technology, service dogs in training, and other hands-on activities. Children will also participate in a special advocacy event in the House Ways and Means Committee room where patient advocates will assume roles such as committee chair, ranking member, and witnesses in presenting their stories to members of Congress and staff.

For more information about the event, visit the 2024 Family Advocacy Day webpage.

Additional quotes from our Family Advocacy Day partners:

"Canine Companions is the nation's first and largest service dog organization serving adults, children and veterans with disabilities free of charge. Canine Companions facility dogs are expertly trained dogs that are partnered with a facilitator working in healthcare, law enforcement, visitation or educational settings. The most valued qualities of a facility dog are the unconditional love and attention it gives to clients and patients with whom it interacts.

Canine Companions is very proud to partner with the Children's Hospital Association on their Family Advocacy Day, giving us a forum to spread the word on the difference a highly trained service dog can make in someone's life!"

– Debra Dougherty, executive director, Canine Companions Northeast Region

"Hope for Henry is thrilled to partner with the Children's Hospital Association for Family Advocacy Day. This collaboration amplifies our shared commitment to transforming the hospital experience for children and their families. Together, we will advocate for policies that support innovative, child-centered care and ensure that every child has the opportunity to heal and thrive in an environment that promotes hope and resilience."

– Laurie Strongin, CEO, Hope for Henry Foundation

"Nestlé Purina PetCare creates richer lives for pets and the people who love them.  Purina manufactures some of the world's most trusted and popular pet care products, including Purina ONE, Pro Plan, Fancy Feast and Tidy Cats. Purina is harnessing the healing power of pets to help lead the charge in addressing the youth mental health crisis."

– Nestlé Purina PetCare

"RSF's primary initiative is to build broadcast media centers, named Seacrest Studios, within pediatric hospitals for patients to explore the creative realms of radio, television, and media. RSF's aim is to contribute positively to the healing process for children and their families during their stay by developing these centers to bring an uplifting spirit to the hospital community. Our Seacrest Studios are located in 14 children's hospitals with two new locations scheduled to open in 2025 and 2026. We are excited to work collaboratively with the Children's Hospital Association this year to bring the Seacrest Studio experience to Family Advocacy Day and help spread the word about the incredible work happening at children's hospitals all around the country."

– Meredith Seacrest Leach, executive director and COO, The Ryan Seacrest Foundation

"Team IMPACT is excited to be participating in the 2024 Children's Hospital Association Family Advocacy Day. We couldn't be more proud to have our student-athletes on the ground, to help highlight the importance of team. This is an amazing opportunity for our Fellows to come together with families from children's hospitals across the country, to support our joint mission of creating a positive change in the lives of all children facing serious and chronic illness."

– Joe Daniels, CEO, Team IMPACT

"It's been an honor celebrating the pediatric community in Washington, D.C. By partnering with U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Medical Network member Texas Children's Hospital to deliver comprehensive healthcare to Team USA athletes, we've witnessed first-hand how expert care combined with the uplifting and nurturing environment of a children's hospital can play a central role in supporting the diverse needs of patients — from the playground to the podium."

– Rebecca Beard, director, Athlete Healthcare, U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee

About Children's Hospital Association

Children’s Hospital Association is the national voice of more than 200 children’s hospitals, advancing child health through innovation in the quality, cost and delivery of care.