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ARVO Member Hosts Congressional Staff Member

Joe Carlisle and Dr. Linda McLoon
Joe Carlisle and Dr. Linda McLoon
On August 8, Linda McLoon, Ph.D. (University of Minnesota) hosted Joe Carlisle from the office of her Member of Congress, Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN), who serves on the House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittee, with jurisdiction over National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Eye Institute (NEI) funding.

Dr. McLoon, an NEI-funded researcher who is politically active locally and has communicated frequently with Capitol Hill through NAEVR’s Contact Congress requests, stated that, “It is interesting how personalizing those ‘form letter’ emails to Capitol Hill can make a difference in terms of response. Sometimes all we need to do is invite our legislators to visit us.” Dr. McLoon added that she had just heard from the office of Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) about an August recess visit.

In early 2007, Dr. McLoon participated in the ARVO Advocacy Day associated with the Program Planning Committee meeting. Due to her past advocacy, Dr. McLoon’s request to meet with Cong. McCollum, who had just been named to the LHHS Appropriations Subcommittee with the start of the 110th Congress, was scheduled promptly. Dr. McLoon, joined by NAEVR Executive Director James Jorkasky, met with the office urging increased and timely FY2008 NIH/NEI appropriations and inviting staff to visit. Just two months later, Cong. McCollum was an active participant in the Subcommittee’s hearing with NIH Director Dr. Elias Zerhouni and subsequent Public Witness hearings, which included March 27 testimony by NAEVR’s President and ARVO member Stephen Ryan, M.D. (Doheny Eye Institute/USC).