OPA Legislative Day is Successful Mixture of Education and Advocacy

Representive Sprague with OPA attendeesBy: Julie Keller, Capital University Student Volunteer

The 2014 Legislative Day began with short introductions that lead into the first talk given by Representative Robert Sprague. His topic of discussion was House Bill (HB) 369. The bill’s objective is to ensure Ohioans have full access to treatment for opioids addiction. The next talk was given by Dr. Gayle Channing Tenebaum about how the mid biennium budget impacts child and adult mental health. After the first half of the day concluded, the health fair opened while the lunch buffet was being prepared. Also included in the day was a breakfast hosted by OPA’s Diversity Committee for the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus and an informative session about how to talk to your legislators directed by OPA Executive Director Michael Ranney with the assistance of three legislative aides.

Lunch began promptly with psychologists who were in attendance facilitating discussion with their legislators. Shortly after, the lunch program began. The topic was how psychologists treat chronic pain. The panel consisted of Dr. Cynthia Van Keuren, Cleveland VA; Dr. Gary Sipps and medical director, Dr. Samer Narouze of Western Reserve Hospital Center for Pain Medicine. Concluding the panel discussion, there was recognition of legislators and aides who were in attendance. A short award ceremony was held for Public Service Award recipeint Representative Hackett with OPA Advocacy CommitteeRepresentative Robert Hackett (R-London). He was presented with the OPA Public Service Award for his contributions to the profession of psychology and to those who struggle with mental illness. The luncheon concluded as there was a transition into the preparation for the afternoon activities for psychologists to meet with their legislators to lobby for the support of HB 369 and to inform their legislators of other problems that are affecting them or their clients/patients. The day ended with writing thank you notes to be given to their legislators.

Dr. Potts, Dr. Celeste and many others were very happy with the success of the event. Attendees look forward to seeing how their work has made a difference for the people they serve in their respective communities around the state. As this year’s Legislative Day ended, the preparation for next year’s event will be up for discussion in the near future. Drs. Potts and Celeste hope that next year’s event is a continuation of what this year’s accomplished. Advocating for psychology can make all the difference since psychologists are seeking to contribute to a healthy and productive Ohio. For additional information, please contact Dr. Bobbie Celeste for more details.

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