2023 GBS|CIDP Symposium Washington D.C. – Hill Day

Hill Day, October 5, 2023

Join us on Capitol Hill for a day of advocating to policymakers! Hill Day 2023 will bring volunteers from the symposium (being held at The Hilton Alexandria Mark Center) to Capitol Hill to work with a small group and meet with the staff of Members of Congress. This unique opportunity allows you to share your GBS, CIDP, MMN, or variants story with people who make important health policy decisions in the US.  

FAQs on Hill Day  

What is Hill Day?  

A Hill Day is a formal name for when a group of advocates comes together in an organized fashion on Capitol Hill in Washington DC to meet with legislators’ (Members of Congress and Senators) staff to talk about the same issue and advocate for the same change. A Hill Day involves working with a small team to navigate the halls of office buildings that house Representatives’ and Senators’ staff on Capitol Hill to attending pre-scheduled meetings. During the meeting, you will have the opportunity to briefly share your story and ask the office to support policies that help the GBS, CIDP, MMN, and variants community. The Foundation will set the agenda on what we are asking and help you feel comfortable talking about the issues through training sessions. Each group will also have a team leader who is familiar with the issues.  

How do I prepare for Hill Day?  

Those who sign-up and are selected to participate in Hill Day will attend virtual training sessions with the Foundation prior to the symposium. The training sessions will help you feel comfortable sharing your story, understanding the issues and making asks of Congressional staff.  

Is there a lot of walking?  

Yes – Hill Days traditionally involve a good deal of walking because teams must walk from one Representative’s office to the next. To make this more accessible, the GBS|CIDP Foundation international can arrange for participants to use a scooter during Hill Day. We will also provide ample time between scheduled meetings to allow teams to navigate the halls at a reasonable pace. Advocates should also plan to wear comfortable shoes with their business attire.  

If I request a scooter, what is the process for getting it?

The Foundation will provide information on reserving your scooter rental and will reimburse the cost for 1 day. More information will be coming soon!

Is there a dress code?  

Advocates should wear business attire. This typically involves ties and/or jackets for men, and blazers or suits. Business attire also applies to women and may include slacks, suits, and dresses or skirts. 

What about food?  

The GBS|CIDP Foundation International’s Hill Day will include a legislative briefing (a meeting in a designated meeting space at the Capitol) with lunch. Advocates can also get coffee and snacks in the cafeteria of the House Office Buildings. Make sure you have water on hand.  

Do I get to pick my own group for Hill Day?  

The GBS|CIDP Foundation International will assign advocates to their small groups. This is for logistical reasons and also to help maximize the number of Representatives’ offices that you get to meet with.  However, we will keep families/partners together!  

What is security like on Capitol Hill?  

People will be entering the House Office buildings for meetings. Security to enter these buildings involves walking through a metal detector and placing bags through a scanner. Water is allowed to be taken through security.  

Where are the meetings held?  

Each meeting is typically held in the office of the Representative’s staff you are meeting with. There are 3 office buildings that house staff for Representatives, and the buildings are connected by underground walkways. The Foundation will provide detailed instructions on how to navigate from one meeting to the next, and your team Leader will be familiar with the layout of the building. However, there are also plenty of signs pointing visitors in the right direction.  

 The offices are typically pretty small, and you might be seated around a small conference table, huddled around someone’s desk, or even standing in the hall. This is all normal meeting etiquette for Capitol Hill! Be ready to roll with changes to location as they happen.  

I don’t agree with my Representative. Can I meet with someone else?  

Representatives work for the people who live in their District; therefore, the best chance we have at getting support is by having you ask your own Representative! Even if you don’t agree with them ideologically, it is the Representative’s (and their staff’s) duty to listen to their constituents and make decisions based on those needs. Education and awareness of the issues is the most critical first step we can take to help gain the support of your Representative. All of our requests are to benefit the patient community and are all bipartisan. 

Additionally, many offices will only meet with groups if someone in the group lives in their District.  

Please join us for this unique opportunity to raise awareness and make your journey matter to those who can influence a better future for patients! 

Is there an additional cost to participate in Hill Day?  

No! You must be registered for the Symposium, and plan your travel to arrive on Wednesday, October 4th. We will cover your additional room night (on Wednesday only, you will be responsible for the remaining nights of your stay), we will host a casual welcome dinner on Wednesday evening,  a continental breakfast Thursday morning & you will be served lunch on Thursday.