Heather Sharar & Don Dereamus present at the 4th Annual EMS Leadership Summit.
Heather Sharar is the Executive Director of the Ambulance Association of Pennsylvania (AAP) and has spent the majority of her professional life working in association management. She has worked for the PA Medical Society and smaller trade associations over the years before coming to the AAP. She has been with the AAP since 2006 and helped to establish, as well as actively volunteers as the executive for the PA EMS Provider Foundation. The Foundation raises money to award in the form of grants to EMTs who want to further their EMS career and become paramedics.
Don Dereamus has over 40 years experience in EMS, and serves as a paramedic quality assurance officer and legislative affairs liaison for Suburban EMS in Pennsylvania. He is the Legislative Chair for the Ambulance Association of Pennsylvania (AAP) and has given testimony to the state's House Veterans & Emergency Preparedness Committee.
This session gives an overview of the key takeaways for advocating for EMS systems to legislators of Pennsylvania with a recent massive win of over $85M in funding approved at the state level for local systems. They explain the importance of building relationships with elected officials, developing legislative priorities, creating pieces of legislation, and utilizing grassroots advocacy.
This session also provides advice on utilizing buzzwords, showing appreciation for legislators and their staff, celebrating small wins, and focusing on local outcomes of EMS systems. Finally, they explain how to effectively use the Leadership Summit to engage with legislators and their staff.
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The Ambulance Association of Pennsylvania was able to secure over $85 million in funding for its EMS systems in 2020 through successful grassroots advocacy without the help of outside lobbyists.
While having a lobbyist can be beneficial as a supplement, it’s possible for grassroots advocacy to be successful on its own. 501c3 organizations cannot donate to PACs, but these PACs need to be able to raise funds to properly advocate for their causes.
The key to succeeding in advocacy lies in building relationships with elected officials, offering fair and unbiased solutions, prioritizing legislative priorities, and utilizing buzzwords correctly when communicating.
Additionally, it’s important to provide data and hard information regarding services and to recognize the power of committee chairs when trying to pass legislation. Constituents have also found it to be just as effective to meet with members of a legislator's staff when trying to have their voices heard rather than the legislator themselves.
- Advocacy and EMS Leadership: Insights From Pennsylvania's Experts (00:00 - 06:51)
- The Impact of Political Action Committees, Lobbying, and Advocacy in EMS (06:51 - 12:51)
- Building Relationships to Influence EMS Legislation (12:51 - 18:30)
- The Importance of Building Relationships with Legislative Committees for EMS Advocacy (18:30 - 24:34)
- Establishing Trust and Working for Long-Term Success in Politics. (24:36 - 30:54)
- The Benefits of Leveraging Data for EMS Advocacy (30:54 - 37:14)
- Creating Relationships to Advance Advocacy Efforts in EMS (37:14 - 43:03)
- Making the Most of Meeting with a Staffer (43:03 - 43:29)