Advocacy Matters

With over 30,000 members representing 26 disciplines, ASM has a unique voice in advocating for the sciences. Those voices make a big difference. In fact, a survey of congressional and federal staffers found 80% of respondents consider trade and professional associations like ASM trusted sources of political information.
Advocacy statistics

The public looks to scientific experts like those in our community to speak up on critical science health and environmental issues. They need your voices to be heard.
  • Nine out of 10 U.S. adults agree it’s important for the U.S. to be a global leader in research to improve health, according to a public opinion survey commissioned by Research!America and the American Society for Microbiology in 2018.
  • The vast majority (89%) say it is important for the federal government to fund international programs on the surveillance and detection of infectious disease outbreaks.
  • When asked to name the global health problem that concerns them most, nearly half of Americans (47%) responded vaccination for childhood diseases like polio, along with HIV/AIDS.
We believe that science must serve the public interest and that policies must be based upon sound science. When advocating for science, it is particularly important that the messages be clearly presented, compelling to nonscientists, and based on scientific evidence. Our effective advocacy strategy is based on a multi-pronged approach, addressing the interconnectedness of policy development, policymaker outreach and grassroots initiatives, with communications cutting across the three components.
  • Policy Development: Policy development is the foundation for ASM advocacy. ASM weighs in on public policies, often in response to specific requests from Congress or regulatory agencies. ASM has developed 6 policy principles to guide its policy agenda.
  • Policymaker Outreach: ASM educates Members of Congress and their staff about ASM, its members and the importance of investing in the microbial sciences. By building an ASM “presence” on Capitol Hill, ASM is in a strong position to ensure the voice of the microbiology community is heard.      
  • Grassroots: ASM is working to develop a new, sophisticated grassroots mobilization effort that effectively leverages the power and geographic distribution of its membership. ASM will develop a new, easily accessible training program to arm advocates with the tools they need to be successful in advocating with policymakers.

Get Involved

Common myths might dissuade potential advocates from getting involved, but the facts are, advocacy makes a difference.

According to the Public Affairs Council, the leading nonpartisan, nonpolitical association for public affairs professionals worldwide,

  • When asked to compare the effectiveness of different advocacy techniques, congressional staff rate personal visits to Washington, D.C., (83%) or district offices (81%), and think tank reports (81%) at the top of the list.
  • Grassroots advocacy strategies score above 75% for effectiveness.
  • In-person visits from lobbyists are considered effective by a strong majority (75%), as are town halls (73%) and lobby days (72%).
  • Even social media posts are rated as effective by 57% of survey respondents.
Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO-1) shares her perspective on the need for evidence-based policy and the role of scientists.

ASM is Here for You

ASM’s Public and Scientific Affairs Committee (PSAC) and its subcommittees govern the Society’s objective for the stimulation of scientific investigations. PSAC serves as the public policy arm for the Society, reaching out to inform and influence public policy affecting the microbial sciences, clinical microbial sciences and public health. The PSAC interacts with government officials; representatives of industry, including food, drug, health care and environmental sectors; and other organizations concerned with health, safety, environmental and other issues involving the microbial sciences.

ASM engagement with policy issues and dialogue with government officials will continue with periodic alerts to ASM members, designed to facilitate members’ communications with their respective congressional delegations and to support science in general within the new Administration and Congress. We encourage the scientific community to engage in promoting evidence-based policymaking. By participating, the scientific community directly contributes to the broader understanding of complex issues so important to the general public.


Author: ASM Advocacy

ASM Advocacy
ASM Advocacy is making it easy and providing opportunities for members to advocate for evidence-based scientific policy.