At its peak, the Proposition 71 coalition boasted the support of 100 patient advocacy groups and hundreds of scientific and civic leaders. To re-engage this coalition, we have identified our top patient advocate supporters to become Americans for Cures Ambassadors and have trained them on public narrative, public speaking, organizing, and mobilizing their disease advocacy communities.
“Proposition 71 freed us up from having to find money to look for our loved ones’ care, and instead allowed [sickle cell advocates] to be able to look out for and protect our community. Prop 71 and CIRM brought us back to our humanity.” – Adrienne Shapiro, Americans for Cures Ambassador, Sickle Cell Disease Advocate
The Americans for Cures Ambassador Training Program empowers patient advocates and equips them with the tools they need to conduct outreach in their communities, thus building our capacity to spread our message. Our ultimate goal is to build a network of Ambassadors from across California that are dedicated to helping us share the incredible impact stem cell research has had on their lives and in their communities. The trainings are also an excellent opportunity for networking between our advocates, who in many cases do not know each other, or have had limited interactions with each other. There are five main modules to the Ambassador Training: 1) Post-Prop 71 progress; 2) Developing a Public Narrative; 3) Building a Leadership Team; 4) Community Mapping and 5) Public speaking.
“Americans for Cures is the strongest defense I have in my hope for a treatment for Huntington’s disease.” – Frances Saldaña, Americans for Cures Ambassador; President, HD-CARE
Feedback from the trainings has been overwhelmingly positive; the wide range of backgrounds experiences and diseases represented has made each session a unique and moving experience for both trainers and participants. Ambassadors have already stepped up their engagement and are talking to their friends, families and other advocates, who have produced a number potential leads for future training sessions. Furthermore, a number of advocates with excellent leadership qualities have emerged, from compelling public speakers to skilled organizers; these leaders will no doubt be a critical part of our outreach efforts moving forward.
“California’s Prop. 71, the California Institute of Medicine means hope. The greatest stem cell program in America gives hope to all of us who yearn for cure.” – Roman Reed, President & Founder, Roman Reed Foundation
To date, we have had 14 patient advocates participate in and commit to our Ambassador training program, representing a range of diseases such as Type 1 Diabetes, Sickle Cell Disease, Spinal Cord Injury, Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and Heart Disease.