We define advocacy as follows: Any individual or group activity performed in support of or on behalf of a particular person, group, cause, or issue.  Patient advocacy is designed specifically to advance the interests of patients in all aspects of their care and in any other area which affects their mental, physical, emotional, or spiritual well-being.

For our purposes, we have divided our advocacy sections into “personal advocacy,” which addresses issues at the individual level, and “community advocacy,” which addresses efforts and opportunities to advocate publicly on behalf of one’s self and/or the larger disease community.

We invite you to browse our learning units for additional tips and information related to a variety of personal and community advocacy topics.  Please see our “Get Involved” tab for a list of specific and timely opportunities and events.  We welcome your involvement and appreciate your efforts!

One can advocate on one’s own behalf, on behalf of a friend or loved one, or on behalf of a group or community.  Advocacy can be as simple as sharing your story with a friend or discussing your treatment goals with your physician, or it can be as complex as sponsoring a fundraising event for an organization or leading a petition drive for legislation beneficial to your cause.


Community advocacy, or public advocacy, involves actively working on behalf of others (perhaps a group, organization, or a number of people with common interests or needs) to advance a cause or issue or effect some sort of change in circumstances or policy.  It can take many forms, including raising awareness, pushing for better healthcare and expanded patient rights, appealing for funding, and petitioning or lobbying for beneficial policies or legislation, and can be performed at various levels – local, state, or federal – in support of a few or large numbers of individuals.

The topics and presentations in this section of our website are designed to introduce you to the various means and methods of effecting change at all policy levels and to equip you with the information, tips, and tools you require to become a voice for your issue, cause, and/or community.

Personal advocacy, or “self” advocacy, involves taking charge of your own health, to the extent this is possible, given your personal circumstances and restrictions.  By becoming informed and actively engaged in your own care, you develop into an empowered patient – one who comprehends the intricacies of your illness, who is capable of discussing and evaluating care options, who promotes your own treatment and life goals, and who understands both your responsibilities and rights as a patient.

The topics and presentations in this section of our website are designed to address common issues and challenges associated with chronic illness and equip you with the information, tips, and tools you require to help better manage your care, meet your needs, and assert your rights.



This course consists of a video, two guide sheets and a quiz. Upon completion of the course, you will receive a Certificate via email within one week after completing the course.

Meet Melissa Adams VanHouten, AGMD Public Policy and Outreach Director.

Watch Melissa’s Video Below