Frequently Asked Questions

Registration
Travel and Accommodations
Head to the Hill Congressional Meetings
General Questions 

I've never been to Head to the Hill. What should I expect?
Welcome! We’re so glad you’re considering joining us for this inspiring event. As we’ve said before, no prior experience is needed to take part in Head to the Hill. To get you acclimated, we will be holding a training session on Monday (May 5) afternoon to give you all of the tools you’ll need to be an effective advocate during your meetings on Tuesday (May 6). We will also give you time to practice what you learn and meet up with other advocates from your state to coordinate a plan for your meetings.

Of course, you already have the most important tools for being a successful brain tumor advocate: your story and your voice. Although we will provide you with the information to make you comfortable and informed on specific legislation, your story is what will have an impact on elected officials.

If you'd like to hear a more detailed description of the two day event,
please watch the webinar presentation at the following link: http://cc.readytalk.com/play?id=5uutoe 

Finally, if you have any specific questions or concerns about attending Head to the Hill, please contact Lainey Titus Samant at 617-231-6310 or advocacy@braintumor.org.

Click here to read about last year’s Head to the Hill event.

What is the schedule of events?

Monday, May 5
Advocacy Training
The Embassy Row Hotel
1 – 5 PM
Lunch begins at 12 PM
Washington, DC.

Tuesday, May 6
Legislative Visits
Capitol Hill
9 AM – 6 PM
Breakfast begins at 7:30 AM
Washington, DC

You should plan to arrive in Washington, DC by late morning on Monday, May 5, so you can settle in and be prepared to have lunch at 12:00 PM and then begin our training at 1:00 PM. Immediately following our training, the National Brain Tumor Society will host a reception including appetizers and beverages, also at the hotel. Dinner is on your own, and there are many restaurants in the area to chose from, of which we will provide a list.

You will want to make sure to get plenty of rest Monday night, as Tuesday is a busy day that starts early! If you are departing DC directly after your meetings, you’ll need to be out of your hotel room, checked out, and ready with your luggage to meet up with the rest of the group prior to breakfast on Tuesday. 

We have arranged for a Head to the Hill headquarters close to the Capitol so that you have a spot to rest or have a snack between meetings, as well as a place to leave your luggage or any other personal belongings you don’t want to carry to your meetings. Please note that meetings may be scheduled throughout the afternoon until as late as 5:30 PM, and you won’t know your meeting schedule until after you have made your travel arrangements. Therefore, assume that you will have a late afternoon meeting when scheduling your departing flight or ground transportation.

If you have a Tuesday evening flight, you will likely want to head straight to the airport after your last meeting.  Depending on where you leave your luggage during the day, you may have to stop at the hotel or the Head to the Hill headquarters on the way to the airport to pick up your luggage. Once you know how much time you have you can decide whether to take a cab to the airport or some other mode of transportation (METRO to DCA or MARC Train from Union Station to BWI).

If you are interested in joining other members of the brain tumor community in DC prior to the start of Head to the Hill, you could also participate in Race for Hope DC, which takes place on Sunday, May 4. Click here to find out more information on Race for Hope DC.

Registration Questions

I am interested in attending Head to the Hill but don't know yet if I can. Should I still register?
Space is limited, so we strongly encourage you to do everything you can to make a decision quickly. National Brain Tumor Society incurs a significant cost for those who cancel close to the event, or who do not show up. We ask that you consider waiting to register until you are sure you can commit to attend the Head to the Hill on May 5 & 6.

Is it OK to use my office or PO Box address to register for the event?
No. We use your address to know which congressional district you live in, so it is very important that you use your home address when you register.

My family member and/or friend is planning on accompanying me to Head to the Hill. Do they need to register?
Yes. Everyone who is planning on attending Head to the Hill must register SEPARATELY. Not only is it critical for scheduling meetings during our lobby day, but we also need an accurate headcount for catering and seating arrangements on training day.

May someone who is not registered for the event accompany me?
Due to space constraints, we are unable to accommodate anyone who is not pre-registered. Please contact us at advocacy@braintumor.org or 617-231-6310 to check on the registration status of an individual who may be accompanying you.

I would like to take part in Race for Hope DC. Do I need to register separately?
Yes. Race for Hope DC, on Sunday, May 4, is an inspiring event and a great way to get motivated before our Hill visits — but you will need to register separately. Please click here for more information on Race for Hope DC  

Will I receive any pre-event materials?
Upon receipt of your registration, you will receive a confirmation email that outlines information on traveling to and from Washington, DC, as well as information on the event hotel. We will also send you an agenda along with any necessary last minute information immediately prior to the event. Finally, when checking in at Head to the Hill, you will receive a participant packet that includes all the materials you will need for the event.

I know that I can't attend the event in person but would still like to participate in some way. How can I be involved?
Can’t make it to DC? Your voice still has impact! Join the congressional call-in day, May 6, to ask policymakers to support important legislative issues.

When is the registration deadline?
Registration for Head to the Hill 2014 has been extended but space is limited, and registration will close once we reach capacity. Register now to ensure you can join us on May 5 & 6!

Back to top

Travel and Accommodations Questions

For information about traveling to and from Washington, DC, as well as hotel information, please visit our Travel and Hotel Information page.

Back to top

Head to the Hill Meeting Questions

Will I meet with my members of Congress by myself?
No. Head to the Hill participants will be coming from all across the country. National Brain Tumor Society will arrange all of the appointments for you based on your home address. You will be grouped with other people from your city, state, or region and, at times, may also be accompanied by National Brain Tumor Society staff. Please note that it is very important that you do not set up your own appointments! If you have special contacts with members of Congress or their staff, please let Lainey Titus Samant, Associate Director of Public Policy, know right away (email advocacy@braintumor.org or call 617-231-6310).

Who will I meet with and what will the meetings be like?
We will make every effort to secure appointments for you to meet with your two U.S. Senators, as well as your U.S. Representative. If a Senator or Representative is not available, the meeting will be scheduled with a member of their staff. Please note that staff meetings are just as important as meetings with the actual Senator or Representative! Staff members are key advisors to the lawmaker and often are deciding factors in what gets passed on to your member of Congress. They will fight (or not fight) for our cause. They are – in many cases – more important than the elected official, because they will be the ones who research the details of our issues and push for follow-up from the elected official. These staff members meet regularly with advocates, so this is where your story can make the difference between just another meeting, and a meeting that results in action and support from your member of Congress.

May I set up my own appointments with members of Congress?
No. We ask that participants not contact any congressional offices directly to schedule appointments. If you set up an appointment for yourself, you could prevent others who are constituents from getting an appointment and/or also create complications with other meetings that we are scheduling for you. If you have special connections with individual members of Congress or their staff, please let us know as soon as possible, so that we may take that into account as we are scheduling. Please contact Lainey Titus Samant, Associate Director of Public Policy, at advocacy@braintumor.org or 617-231-6310 with any concerns or questions.

Will I be able to go on congressional visits with my friends or family from other parts of the country?
We think that it is wonderful that our advocates bring their family members and friends with them to Head to the Hill! Inviting people from different parts of the country helps us with our goal of bringing our message to as many members of Congress as possible. You, your family members, and friends will have opportunities to spend time together; however, it may not be possible to pair you together for the actual visits as we need all participants to attend the meetings with their own congressional delegation. Please feel free to contact Lainey Titus Samant, Associate Director of Public Policy, at advocacy@braintumor.org or 617-231-6310 if you have questions or concerns.

Will I receive training on the topics we'll be discussing at our Congressional meetings?
Yes, we will make sure you have all of the tools you need to be an effective advocate, including education on the policy matters we'll be discussing.

We will be advocating with our members of Congress for Medical Research Funding, Oral Chemotherapy Parity, and Pediatric Cancer Research. Once you arrive in DC, we will dedicate a portion of our training on Monday, May 5 to reviewing the relevant legislation and public policy topics to make sure you are comfortable speaking about them during our meetings on Tuesday. However, you should become familiar with these issues in the weeks leading up to Head to the Hill. For a brief description of each topic, view our Head to the Hill webinar at http://cc.readytalk.com/play?id=5uutoe.

In addition, click below for an issue brief on each of these policy matters.

Back to top

General Questions About Head to the Hill

What is the attire for Head to the Hill?
Attire for the Monday (May 5) training sessions is casual. We encourage you to bring layers as the temperature in the hotel can vary. We will be providing participants with an event t-shirt that you can wear on Tuesday (May 6), if you would like. You can pair the t-shirt with business casual attire, but ask that you don’t wear shorts or jeans. Please also plan to wear comfortable shoes as there is a fair amount of walking involved. 

Weather in Washington, DC, in May can vary between 50° F - 80° F, so we encourage you to bring a light coat or sweater and an umbrella. Note that you will have to go through security screenings to get into the congressional office buildings. We strongly encourage you to limit the amount of metal that you wear on Tuesday and to wear shoes that you can easily get on and off, if requested by security. Also, please keep in mind that you may need a photo ID for some meetings. 

Are meals included?
We will host lunch and a reception on Monday (May 5) evening including light appetizers. Dinner on Monday is not included, and we hope participants will use the time to get to know the others in their meeting group and enjoy one of the great local restaurants. Breakfast will be provided on Tuesday (May 6) morning, and we will have snacks and water available throughout the day at our Capitol meeting location.

Lunch on Tuesday is not included as everyone’s schedule will vary greatly. Both the House and Senate have cafeterias. However, they can get very busy. Be prepared that if you are there at a very busy time, you may end up standing to eat or sitting in the hall. There are also some small restaurants nearby as well as outdoor vendors, depending on the weather.

Do I need to participate in the whole training session on Monday, May 5?
We strongly encourage you to attend the full training session on May 5. We will cover critical topics such as new information that you can use in your meetings and what we will be asking Congress to do. Please note the messages that we will be delivering are different every year.

The training will also include time for you to meet the others from your state who you will be advocating with and to strategize about who will say what during your meetings. Need another reason to stay until the end? Your meeting schedules will be distributed at the end of the day.

Where can I keep my luggage during Head to the Hill?
This will depend largely on your preference, as well as your departing flight time. We have secured a meeting location on Capitol Hill that can accommodate luggage. If you like, you may bring your luggage with you on Tuesday morning and depart for the airport directly from Capitol Hill. If you will have additional time on Tuesday evening and would like to head back to the hotel before going to the airport, simply ask the hotel to store your luggage for the day on Tuesday.

Who else will be attending Head To The Hill, and how can I connect with them ahead of the event?
We have created a Facebook Event for Head To The Hill. This is where attendees can connect, ask questions about the event, and meet each other ahead of May 5th. Please join the Facebook Event and connect!

I love to use social media. How can I connect with event information, and others attending Head To The Hill, through social media?
There are a number of ways that we'd love to help you connect using social media! Participate in the event conversation on Facebook by joining the official Head To the Hill Facebook Event. Follow the National Brain Tumor Society on Twitter for updates and conversation right before Head To The Hill, and all day May 5 - 6. To participate in the social media conversation, be sure to use the hashtag #Head2Hill when tweeting and posting to Instagram.

What else do I need to know?

  • Being on time to your meetings is very important. Your meetings are scheduled to give you enough time to get from one meeting to the next.
  • Anticipate going through security when entering buildings.
  • The Office Buildings for the House and Senate members are separated into 6 different buildings – three for the House and three for the Senate – each on the opposite ends of the Capitol.
  • Minimize what you are carrying: pins, necklaces, earrings, keys – anything that will set off a metal detector.
    • The House buildings connect to each other and the Senate buildings connect so when you are going to meetings with Representatives, you can stay inside the buildings. The same is true if your Senate meetings are back to back; you can get to the different Senate buildings without going outside. You will need to leave the buildings when going from the House to the Senate side and vise versa – which you can do by walking or taking a cab.
  • Cabs are always waiting outside of all of the buildings and the cost from the House to the Senate side or vice-versa should be no more than $10, including tip. Advocates are almost always traveling in groups and most usually take turns paying for these cabs. But most simply decide to make the reasonable walk.

I’ve read all of the answers, but I’m still nervous as I have never been an advocate before. Anything you can tell me?
Be assured that we will give you all of the tools you need to walk into your meetings feeling confident. Also, you will be surrounded by other brain tumor advocates, as well as National Brain Tumor Society staff, who will be with you and supporting you. You can always ask your questions and connect with others who will be attending Head To The Hill through our Facebook Event. Many have attended before, and would be happy to answer any questions that you may have ahead of May 5th.

If you want to talk about the experience some more to replace anxiety with energy and excitement, feel free to reach out to Lainey Titus Samant, Associate Director of Public Policy, at 617-231-6310 or advocacy@braintumor.org.


Other questions? If you have any questions about Head to the Hill 2014, please contact Lainey Titus Samant, Associate Director of Public Policy, at 617-231-6310 or advocacy@braintumor.org

*Check back soon as we will post more answers to frequently asked questions as we receive them.*

Back to top