Legislative Mentors Are the Future of Advocacy

Just because you’re not yet voting age doesn’t mean you can’t make a difference!  Read about Joshua’s experience and reach out to gary@naaf.org​​​​​​​ if you’d like to learn more about NAAF’s Legislative Mentor program.

My name is Joshua. I’m a high school junior (17 y/o) and live in Needham, MA. I have an interest and background in policy, government, politics, and law. This past spring, my younger sister, Samantha (11 y/o), was diagnosed with alopecia areata.  Given the situation, as well as my interests and passions, I wanted to find a way to use my skills to learn and affect change in my community. NAAF’s Legislative Mentor program proved to be a perfect fit. In addition to supporting my sister and the greater alopecia community, I can develop and expand my legislative skills.

My highlight to date would be attending the American Academy of Dermatology’s Legislative Conference and Hill Day in September. I attended many comprehensive policy sessions, connected with others with experience in the legislative and medical fields, and, best of all, met with legislators at the Capitol. It was an incredible experience!

While I have many lofty policy goals to support the alopecia areata community, there are some concrete ones that I am working on. First, there are the polices that I lobbied for during the American Academy of Dermatology’s Hill Day. These crucial pieces of legislation would support doctors and the greater field of medicine through expanding access to care and stabilizing Medicare reimbursement. Additionally, I am working on a project to pass legislation in Massachusetts: S.701/H.1135. This legislation would require the Massachusetts Group Insurance Commission to expand its coverage of hair prosthesis to include those with alopecia areata and other similar chronic hair loss conditions. I’m hopeful that this can be successful during the 2023-2024 Legislative Session – if you’re interested in helping with this, please reach out to Gary Sherwood, who can connect you with me!