Advocating for Health Policy in a Pandemic

The insecurities of the American health system have surfaced during the Coronavirus pandemic. Additional issues of economic inequality, racial injustice, and health disparities have also become more pronounced as a consequence of the ongoing public health crisis.. As American Muslims, we have a responsibility to advocate for social justice and health equity for all, and AMHP is fully committed to achieve these objectives. .

For that reason AMHP worked with partners to establish the National Muslim Taskforce for COVID-19, in order to coordinate a community response and to have a collective voice in the fight for justice. As a part of this community organizing, AMHP also established the Policy Committee of the National Muslim COVID-19 Taskforce to ensure that there was representation of Muslim health professionals in the health policy realm. We recognized the exigent circumstances born out of the COVID crisis and organized in collaboration with numerous advocacy, healthcare and religious organizations to ensure a cohesive response to the rapidly evolving health crisis. Our work in the Policy Committee has centered on advocating for appropriate protections for health professionals and introducing solution oriented policies for the pandemic. Our advocacy efforts have also factored in the critical element of civic engagement as we have strived to provide congressional advocacy training, established a grassroots call to action and setup direct engagements for our muslim health professionals with their state legislators to highlight health policy issues.

Summarily, since the start of this pandemic AMHP has spearheaded public health advocacy work with our partner organizations which includes the following:

  • Seven policy proposal letters sent to government officials:
    1. Letter to Vice President Mike Pence and United States Secretary of Health and Human Services Secretary Azar to Implement the Defense Protection Act (DPA) (Link)
    2. Letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Public Health Service to update the current guidelines for personal protective equipment (PPE) to require that all healthcare providers and frontline staff wear N95 masks while taking care of patients during this pandemic (Link)
    3. Letter to Congress to increase the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (Link)
    4. Letter to the Senate to Support the SNAP Provisions of the HEROES Act (Link)
    5. Letter to Congress to Support the Student Debt Forgiveness for Frontline Health Care Workers Act (Link)
    6. Letter to Congress to Support the HEROES Act – Testing, Tracing and Treatment Provision (Link)
    7. Letter to the Senate to Support H.R. 6666: COVID-19 Testing, Reaching, And Contacting Everyone (TRACE) Act (Link)
  • Six meetings with U.S. Senator have been conducted to lobby for increased SNAP, COVID-19 testing, telehealth service, and PPE supply funding:
    1. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) 7/2/2020
    2. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) 7/13/2020 
    3. Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) 7/13/2020
    4. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) 7/20/2020
    5. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) 7/22XX/2020
    6. Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) 8/4/2020
  • Two virtual congressional trainings have been conducted in collaboration with Poligon & Islamic Relief-U.S.A and Emgage.

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