JDF, ADA Criticize Each Other’s Lobbying Tactics

The JDF and the ADA fight against diabetes all across the United States, but when they hit Capitol Hill they go in different directions. So says The Washington Post in a December 1998 story.

The ADA tries to stir up politicians with an aggressive, confrontational style in Washington, while the JDF uses a softer, more friendly approach to win over Washington. The ADA demands to know why the NIH and others aren’t spending enough on diabetes. JDF focuses on building relationships with key Washington figures to argue its causes.

Each believes that the other’s approach weakens the fight.

Mary Tyler Moore’s husband, S. Robert Levine, JDF chairman, resents the ADA’s style, saying it “alienates people we need to be our collaborators in a quest to find a cure.”

ADA’s board chairperson, Jane Camporeale, responded to the Post story, saying, “The diabetes community has for too long ‘played nice’ and as a result has been the victim of grossly inequitable research funding.”

JDF people resented the implication that they are not aggressive. Bill Schmidt, JDF director of legislative affairs, calls his organization’s tactics “extremely aggressive but thoughtful at the same time.”

It may sound as if they are working against each other, but, the combination results in more money for diabetes, says Daniel Greenberg, editor of the Science & Government Report newsletter. Greenberg believes both organizations’ efforts have put the political spotlight on diabetes in recent years.

Both organizations encourage people with diabetes to join the fight in Washington.

JDF informs people through legislative alerts by mail and sponsors an email update. To contact JDF government relations call (800) 533-1868.

ADA writes the Diabetes Advocate newsletter. Its office phone number is (800) 676-4065.

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