NPA Local Action Network Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is an “NPA Local Action Network (LAN)”?
It is a group of geographically identifiable NPA members who work together to advance the mission of the NPA, whether through activities of local and personal interest to them or through activities that are national priorities for the organization. LANs are flexible to meet the needs of their members, but maintain a focus on civic engagement on behalf of patients, and particularly on behalf of those marginalized by our current health care system.
2. What do LANs do?
It depends on the LAN!
- Issue campaigns for issues of local or national interest to members
- Advocacy events such as rallies and public meetings (link to footage of a NYC NPA event)
- Lobby visits to your local legislators (link to Chris McCoy’s lobby visit document)
- Get-togethers to write letters to the editor or letters to your legislators (resources available on NPA web site)
- Organizing around key local issues (such as the Virginia state government’s decision to include Medicaid cuts in current budget proposals, or the state legislature’s decision to pass a bill exempting Virginia from any national legislation mandating individual health insurance coverage); this can be a way to jumpstart an LAN around an issue that converges with NPA’s values
- Service opportunities
- Building relationships with community groups to work for improvements in the health of the community
- Social gatherings (with or without a speaker)
- Monthly meetings at a group member’s house
- Periodic dinners at local restaurants with an invited speaker and discussion after the talk
- Media training for physicians (support available from national NPA)
- Providing physician experts to local media and/or community groups
- Encouraging involvement in regional and annual NPA meetings
- Communicate events and campaigns occurring on the national level to the local membership so that they can be involved (via regular newsletters, for example)
3. How is an LAN formed?
There is a very simple application process to charter an LAN. For an application, please contact the national office at email@example.com or 202-420-7896. The application formally opens the lines of communication and support between the LAN and the NPA.
4. What are the benefits of becoming an NPA Local Action Network?
The NPA offers a range of resources to link and support physicians as they work together for the causes that they are passionate about.
- Community of physician leaders:
- Periodic LAN leader conference calls to connect leaders across the country to share ideas and activities.
- On-line community of LAN leaders across the country via our LAN listserv
- Organizing “mentors”—NPA leaders with experience in leading LANs (or organizing other types of new groups) to offer guidance & feedback
- Assistance with media outreach
- Leadership training and development
- Designated board members and national staff people to respond quickly to questions and concerns
- Opportunities to connect the LAN leaders and members at the annual NPA conference
- Publicity for your LAN directed to NPA members in your area
- Special group discounts for meetings, mini-grants for special projects, and opportunities for recognition such as most valuable LAN of the year
- Fundraising support (e.g., NPA Foundation grants) and assistance with grantwriting
- Informative policy updates
- Updates on NPA trainings and meetings
- The ability to participate in and make an impact on the national organization
- Reduced rate subscriptions to several high quality health-related publications
- Access to our Job Board to assist with employment opportunities
- The resources of the NPA website and listserv which can be used to help disseminate your group’s work and activities to NPA members in your area and nationally with the assistance of national staff; our new website design incorporates space for LANs so that new and renewing members can easily find your information from the national site
5. What guidelines do we need to follow as an NPA LAN?
- Geography: There are no absolute rules on the geographic area included within an LAN or the number of LANs in a given geographic area. If an LAN already exists within your immediate area, the national organization will generally ask that you consider collaborating with this group as this will allow you to be able to better leverage yourselves. Depending on the size of the city or county, there are situations in which several smaller groups can be more productive than one larger group (for example if travel time within a large city becomes an issue for doctors who want to meet after work). We ask that LAN’s for overlapping or adjacent geographic areas coordinate with each other to avoid conflict within the organization and should attempt to have at least one or two joint events each year.
- Organizational Identity: An LAN cannot be affiliated with more than one national organization.
- Mission Statement: As part of your application to become an NPA LAN, you will be asked to submit your mission statement. This is an important visioning exercise for your group and also serves to allow the national organization to make sure that our local affiliates are working in concert with the mission of the national organization. This requirement is in no way intended to restrict LANs from working on issues of local importance as long as these are consistent with our core values of service, integrity and advocacy.
- Annual reports: LANs must submit an annual report of their activities, membership, and updated mission statement (if any changes) to the NPA Executive Director.
- If at any point either the LAN or the NPA Board of Directors feels that the other is straying from each other’s core mission/values, the relationship can be terminated and the use of the identifying name “National Physicians Alliance” would no longer be authorized for the LAN.
- Liason to the national organization: Each LAN should appoint a member to serve as liason to the national organization to assist in communications. Other officers are optional, although encouraged (see above).
- For any public activities, advance notification should be given to the NPA via the national LAN liaison or the NPA Executive Director to coordinate publicity and strategy.
- Membership: Members of the NPA and its local affiliates must be physicians and must agree to adhere to our basic principles and values. LAN members are automatically members of the national organization. Non-physicians can join as Friends of the NPA. We ask that LANs encourage their members to register on the national organization’s website and become contributing members of the NPA as a way of supporting the resources the NPA uses to support its LANs.