A New Day at NMAC

NMAC’s ongoing commitment to our constituents requires us to evolve with the challenging atmosphere in Washington.  As we continue to address these challenges, NMAC is incorporating several initiatives and platforms to help us meet those challenges.  I’m happy to share with you this update on the happenings in NMAC’s Government Relations and Public Policy (GRPP) department.  One of those platforms is PoliticoPro.  This tech platform has allowed us to have close to 4000 engagements with Hill staff.  This includes direct emails to Legislative Directors, Chiefs of Staff, and Legislative Assistants.     

We are also developing a longterm strategy plan – to that end, NMAC is pleased to announce fundamental changes to our GRPP department.   

First, NMAC entered into a formal agreement with George Washington University and, as a result, hired two public policy fellows, Linden Yee and Brianna Elghart.  Both Linden and Brianna bring a strong policy background and a driven passion for social justice.  I recognize that in order to drive policy, it will take the efforts of not only talented policy experts; it takes stakeholders who recognize that our cause is worth fighting for.  I’m very pleased to announce that NMAC and Kelley Drye, a powerful D.C. law firm, has entered into a pro-bono contract.  Kelley Drye brings a strong commitment to policies related to minority health, especially in the area of HIV.  As our relationship with Kelley Drye matures, I’m excited to share our goals and successes with each of you. 

Second, On October 17, 2019, our community lost a legend – Congressman Elijah Cummings.  As we continue to mourn his passing, NMAC wants to honor his legacy.  On June 11, NMAC will host its Hill Champions Awards Ceremony.  Since his passing, we worked with his Chief of Staff, Vernon, and his wife, Maya, on dedicating our highest award in his memory.  This year, the Elijah E. Cummings Award for Minority Health Equality will be awarded to Rep. Barbara Lee.  As you know, Congresswoman Lee has been our strongest champion on the Hill.  As Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on HIV/AIDS, Congresswoman Lee has a long record of fighting for funding and justice for people living with HIV.  We hope you will be able to join us in June for this well-deserved recognition of Congresswoman Lee.  For more information, please email me at JHuang-Racalto@NMAC.org

Third, NMAC is meeting with the United States Senate Special Committee on Aging to explore ways to address the ongoing crisis of seniors living with HIV.  This population is largely overlooked and continue to face unique health challenges.  I would like community input.  If you have a specific question for committee members, please email me.  As we continue to work with this committee and other members of Congress, I’ll post updates on the latest happenings and how you can help. 

Fourth, NMAC recently welcomed an early champion, Timothy Westmoreland, to discuss the struggles he faced in the ’80s as a senior staff member to former Chairman Henry Waxman.  His compelling story gave us all pause for what it was like in an era when President Reagan repeatedly put up roadblocks on CDC officials, and Congress was deeply, horrifically homophobic.  

Finally, as you can see, NMAC is fine-tuning our policy department.  As we continue to aggressively lobby Congress for increased funding, we remain committed to ensuring policies relating to HIV/STI’s, and minority health disparities, remain on the front burner.     

Joe Huang-Racalto
Director Government Relations | Public Policy