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Advocacy Newsletter: Spring 2024

Advocacy Newsletter

Dear ZERO Advocates,

Wow, what an amazing ZERO Prostate Cancer Advocacy Summit last month! As ZERO's new President and CEO, my first Summit profoundly inspired me. YOU inspired me. It was powerful to see prostate cancer experts, leaders, partners, and advocates together putting our mission into action to educate and empower each other and advance critical, new legislation providing greater access to prostate cancer screening.

I am so fired up for the future ahead.

At the Summit, I shared my vision for ZERO and my dream to make prostate cancer too big to ignore. I wanted to share it here with you, too. It all starts with our commitment to three fundamental impacts: reducing late-stage diagnoses, improving the quality of life for patients, and decreasing mortality. We know that these will require bold action and expanding our mission. It will require us to invest in our infrastructure to scale ZERO appropriately. It will require us to be dissatisfied, even as we are proud of our progress.

I'm putting a mission-first strategy in place to support this new vision. We are hiring our first Chief Mission Officer, who will lead efforts to center health equity into all of our work. We will build out our capabilities to pilot interventions and outreach in the communities that need us most while collaborating with organizations on the ground to support work already being done to best serve those at the local level. We will engage with volunteers in more meaningful ways to strengthen our cause nationwide. These are just some of the steps we are taking as we reimagine a new, more equitable future, working with a renewed sense of urgency needed today to save more lives tomorrow.

It is events like the Summit that fill our cups. Being alongside our inspiring community of advocacy leaders from across the country on the steps of the Capitol was one of my proudest moments in nearly 20 years of patient advocacy. More than 130 patients, survivors, care partners, loved ones, and doctors - all united in being louder and bolder to change the outcomes for everyone impacted by prostate cancer. When it was all said and done, we convened 158 Hill meetings, working with members and staffers from across the political spectrum to move our priorities forward.

I'm grateful to our fantastic Summit advocates for creating exciting momentum to help pass important legislation, the PSA Screening for HIM Act. We all know that expanding screening coverage for individuals at high risk for prostate cancer will save lives. Now, we need to continue to ring the bell, and we can't do it without your help! I urge you to add your voice today and share with your elected officials why their support is needed.

Thank you for helping us seize this window of opportunity to make a huge difference for our cause. Only together can we collectively continue to run through walls and do what needs to be done to ZERO out prostate cancer.

With gratitude,

Courtney Bugler

Courtney Bugler

Courtney Bugler
President and CEO
ZERO Prostate Cancer

Help Advance Research Funding

In addition to expanded PSA screening coverage, our advocates fought for additional funding for prostate cancer research - research that saves lives and will hopefully one day bring about a cure.

But while we can pat ourselves on the back for a job well done at the 2024 ZERO Summit, the work is far from being done. As you read this, lawmakers are deciding the fate of federal prostate cancer research funding for the coming year.

It is all hands on deck to not just protect the funding we have, but to grow it and fund new research - send your message now!

Join Us

State Advocacy Update

On the state level, several bills to provide no-cost PSA screenings for high-risk men are advancing through state legislatures, as state legislative sessions are now in full swing.

Our eyes have been on Delaware, Kentucky, New Jersey, and Tennessee as no-cost PSA screening bills have been filed and advanced through their respective state legislatures. If you're in one of these states and want to remain current on the latest developments, please visit the State Policy Action Center to sign up for updates and help advocate for these critical pieces of legislation.

In Delaware, HB 302 by Representative Stephanie Bolden provides PSA screening at no cost for high-risk men. Rep. Bolden introduced the bill in honor of her family members who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer, and the bill has 13 cosponsors. The bill was passed unanimously out of the House committee on March 12th and is set to hit the House floor for a vote soon.

In Kentucky, HB 52 by Rep. Deanna Frazier Gordon provides cancer screenings, including PSA tests, at no cost for those at high-risk. As the bill has a long list of bipartisan bill sponsors and was unanimously voted out of the House, it was voted through its Senate Committee and is set for a Senate vote soon.

In New Jersey, A1841 by Assemblyman Herb Conaway Jr. and S3060 by Sen. Troy Singleton provides PSA screening at no cost for high-risk men and is a refiled bill from the previous legislative session. Sen. Singleton, the author of the Senate version of the bill from last session, just refiled S3060 to be a companion to A1841. The New Jersey assembly will begin deliberations on legislation, including these bills after they finish budget discussions in the summer.

In Tennessee, HB 2954 by Rep. G.A. Hardaway and SB 2883 by Sen. Sara Kyle requires coverage of PSA screenings at no cost for high-risk men. Last week, HB 2954 got a unanimous yes vote from the Tennessee House Insurance Committee! Now the bill moves to the House Finance/Ways & Means Committee. SB 2883 was heard and advanced in the Senate committee and is being scheduled for a vote on the Senate floor soon.

Get to Know Georgia Bates, ZERO's New State Government Relations & Advocacy Manager

Tell us a little bit about yourself!

I'm a scrappy Texan who loves live music, food, psychology and politics. I'm also a proud Texas Longhorn, daughter of an Episcopal priest, and granddaughter to two Veterans who both survived prostate cancer.

What brought you to ZERO?

To fight for prostate cancer patients and families like my own!
Also - I got into politics to advocate for policies that improve the social determinants of health, and ZERO helps bridge the gap between racial and health disparities in prostate cancer.

What gets you the most excited about working on prostate cancer policy at the state level?

Compared to Congress, state legislatures are more responsive to constituents and are more fast-paced. State legislatures compete against each other, and state legislators also compete for higher office, so there's a greater incentive for state legislators to get bills passed. Because of this, advocates can have a larger impact in passing state policy, and success in one state causes a domino effect of good policy in other states and in Congress.

What advice would you give someone who wanted to get involved with prostate cancer advocacy?

Regardless of your experience, ability, or availability, you can use your story to save lives through prostate cancer advocacy. We have a wide range of advocacy opportunities, some that only take a few minutes to complete, and we also provide resources and training to support your advocacy efforts. Stories move legislators, and your story is a unique and powerful advocacy tool that only you can use. Don't count yourself out - make your story count through prostate cancer advocacy!

Want to support our state & federal advocacy efforts? Consider making a donation here today.