At the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, "advocacy" encompasses our efforts to influence the public and private sectors for the purpose of obtaining benefits and resourcs for people with MS and their families. Most of our advocacy is directed toward the public sector, where we work largely with the legislative branch of federal, state and local units of governments. All of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society's public policy advocacy relates to medical research, health care, long-term care, health insurance and disability issues.
Sometimes, public sector advocacy cannot resolve a particular problem, and so our advocates have to approach private businesses to obtain the needed results. Private sector advocacy would include such actions as asking a healthcare provider or insurer to fairly cover MS treatments, asking a long-term care facility to initiate age-appropriate programming for people with MS, or asking local employers to remove physical barriers to facilitate the hiring of people with disabilities.
All of this advocacy activity, whether in the public sector or private sector, is leveraged that is, successful resolution of a single advocacy matter helps many people with MS and, perhaps, many more with other chronic illnesses and disabilities. Advocacy is a way for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society to expand the services, resources, and protections available to people with MS without directly paying for them.