The Lyme Disease Association’s Advocate dinner held Friday evening October 26 prior to the LDA/Columbia CME conference was well attended with group representation from Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, Colorado, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Vermont, California and Maine. The groups are part of the LDAnet umbrella network. LDA Rhode Island Chapter Co-Chair Julie Merolla led the meeting.
Dr. Brian Fallon made a brief appearance to greet everyone and spoke about some current research projects.
President Pat Smith began the meeting with recaps of 2018 LDA activity as well as updates on federal issues. Following the dinner, each group represented in the room was given an opportunity to share what they had been busy doing for 2018. Many were involved in legislation in their home states and some at a national level. Many had held educational events and were active in continued awareness and education opportunities in their states. Advocates discussed how beneficial it was to be together under the LDAnet umbrella– learning from and helping one another was the message that rose to the top. Together, things get done.
Guest Joe Larisa shared some advice on getting legislation passed. He served as past Governor Lincoln Almond’s chief of staff and was a leader in the successful effort to pass the first doctor protection bill and mandatory insurance bills in the US in RI that are still in existence today. He worked with his sister, Lisa Larisa, and Julie Merolla, who then formed the first LDA Chapter in the state of RI, and LDA worked closely with them and the RI legislature on passage of the bills just after the turn of the century. The LDA President spoke at the signing ceremony in 2002
Although many advocates are in touch through social media, it’s always nice to congregated once a year, see familiar faces and meet new ones, sharing frustrations, exciting breakthroughs and networking.
History Making: Lyme Bills Signed in RI 2002
All photos on this page: LDA file photos