It was 1991: Boyz II Men was about to top the music charts, leg warmers were giving way to flannel, and I was deep in rehearsals for my high school play. But for people across the country, health care was quickly becoming a rising concern. National health expenditures and the number of uninsured had risen, and policymakers were actively debating solutions.
When the Alliance was founded that year, the goal was to offer policymakers an educational resource that fostered a balanced exchange of evidence, experience, and perspectives, with the central goal of advancing solution-focused dialogue on the latest health policy issues of the day.
Since our first briefing on Capitol Hill in 1992, we have done just that. By covering both the basics of health policy and the complexities, examining unsolved problems and emerging trends, the Alliance has been a constant for three decades. We have brought together generations of congressional staff and elected officials through over 1,000 policy briefings and retreats, networking events and listening tours. We produced a one-of-a-kind health policy source book for journalists and kept abreast of the latest issues, all while elevating a diversity of ideas in the same room.
When I made my way to Washington, D.C. in the early 2000’s, health policy degree in hand, I often found myself in the Senate Dirksen building, even more so after I became a Hill staffer, attending Alliance lunches on topics ranging from children’s health to the rollout of the Medicare Part D benefit. And I am still learning today, because to some extent, we’re all “new” to health policy as issues evolve and we are called to continually deepen our knowledge and understanding to find creative solutions.
Thirty years later, in an environment that is ever more challenging, the need for trustworthy sources is even greater. Still, nothing is more gratifying than hearing from people on both sides of the aisle that the Alliance has served as their go-to source during their time on the Hill, and well beyond.
As we celebrate our 30th anniversary, we look to the future with an eye towards continuous learning and discovery, building upon our history and success in developing foundational educational resources, and connecting the dots between evidence and experience. Thank you for being steadfast partners in our shared journey. Your focus and energy inspire us to deliver upon our mission, not only throughout the past thirty years, but for all the years ahead.
∼ Sarah Dash, President and CEO, Alliance for Health Policy