In partnership with our allies and champions on Capitol Hill, the Celiac Disease Foundation successfully secured two critical wins for Fiscal Year 2024: continued funding at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for celiac disease research, and the inclusion of celiac diseasefor the second year in a rowin the highly coveted Department of Defense (DOD) Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program. 

While every victory has been hard won, our advocacy efforts are having significant impacts. From the launch of the Celiac Disease Congressional Caucus under the leadership of Congresswoman Betty McCollum to the successful requests for funding at both the NIH and the DOD, in collaboration with our dedicated patient advocates and esteemed researchers, our work is effective, impactful, and is improving the quality of life for everyone affected by celiac disease. 

How does this work get done? By having boots on the ground!  

In March, our Celiac Disease Foundation staffmost of whom are lived experience expertsheaded to the halls of Congress for our annual round of bipartisan meetings with key members of Congress to advocate for the interests of our patient and research communities. These yearly meetings allow us the important opportunity to connect with our Congressional champions, while also forging new relationships with other elected officials to further strengthen our effectiveness on Capitol Hill. See our staff in action. 

Many of these lawmakers sit on either the Senate or the House Appropriations Committees. These Committees oversee federal funding for health programs including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Department of Defense (DOD), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and they have tremendous impact on our efforts to advance diagnosis, treatment, and a cure for celiac disease. 

On the Senate side, our team met with staff in the offices of Sen. Richard Blumenthal (CT), Sen. Chris Van Hollen (MD), Sen. Patty Murray (WA), Sen. Bob Casey (PA), Sen. Shelly Moore Capito (WV), Sen. Raphael Warnock (GA), Sen. Maria Cantwell (WA), Sen. Alex Padilla (CA), and with the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry. 

On the House side, we met with staff in the offices of Rep. Betty McCollum (MN), chair of the Celiac Disease Caucus, Rep. Tom Cole (OK), Rep. Matt Cartwright (PA), Rep. Rick Larsen (WA), and Rep. Bill Pascrell (NJ). 

In each of these meetings, our staff shared moving, passionate accounts of their lived experiences with celiac disease, and we emphasized the need to continueand increaseresearch funding for celiac disease at the NIH and the Department of Defense, along with other legislative measures that Congress might take to improve the quality of care for celiac disease patients.  

But we can’t do it alone. We need more voices on Capitol Hill. Speaking with passion, sharing our stories, and raising our collective voices will continue to strengthen efforts to cultivate awareness, build community, and fight for resources that will advance diagnosis and treatment options for celiac disease. Please consider becoming a Celiac Disease Foundation Policy Advocate today.  

Visit iAdvocate to learn more and become a part of our nationwide network.