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Government Relations Academy

Take Your Advocacy to the Next Level

Government Relations Academy enhances the advocacy skills of government relations professionals at hospitals with a mission to serve vulnerable people and communities. Over nine months, members of the Academy class will:

  • expand their knowledge of key federal legislative and regulatory issues;
  • explore, with a communications colleague, how to apply political communications strategies and tools*;
  • develop and execute an advocacy campaign to achieve a policy victory for their hospital; and
  • build their professional network with government relations peers and seasoned advisers from essential hospitals.

This valuable educational series includes:

  • three highly interactive sessions in at the America’s Essential Hospitals spring and fall Policy Assembly fly-ins and VITAL annual meeting;
  • supplemental learning activities between sessions, including webinars, small-group training conference calls, and discussion forums;
  • ongoing access to advisers who have decades of experience advocating for essential hospitals; and
  • the option to earn continuing education credits.

*The session at VITAL requires the participation of a communications professional from the participant’s hospital. The curriculum will be tailored to enhance collaboration between government relations and communications staff.

Don’t Take Our Word for it — Take Theirs

In this video, past participants explain how the Academy can elevate your government relations career:

Program Cost

  • Tuition is $6,500, which includes three in-person sessions for government relations professionals and one in-person learning session for communications professionals; access to Washington insiders, policy experts, leading lobbyists, and seasoned communications coaches; curriculum materials; some meals; networking events; and distance learning activities between sessions.
  • Tuition also includes complimentary registration for both the participant and the communications colleague to attend VITAL2019, the association’s annual meeting, in Miami (a $1,990 value).
  • Each participant’s sponsoring organization is responsible for travel and lodging expenses.

Questions about the program?

Contact Erin Delaney at or 202-585-0117.


Applications for the 2019 class are now closed.

Submit Interest for 2021

2019 Session Information


Navigating Washington: Advocacy for Essential Hospitals

February 25–27, 2019 | Washington, D.C.
(Held at spring Policy Assembly)

This session will deepen participants’ understanding of key legislative and regulatory challenges for essential hospitals. Nationally recognized experts will provide in-depth explanations of essential hospital financing and the mechanisms states use to fund hospitals serving the most vulnerable. Policy experts and lobbyists with decades of experience in Washington will reflect on the evolution of effective advocacy at the federal level and provide an advanced overview of the congressional and regulatory processes.

Participants will develop the concept for an advocacy campaign they will build over the course of the program. During this session, participants will define campaign goals and begin outlining high-impact communications strategies and an overall execution plan, with guidance from seasoned experts.


Telling Your Story

June 18–21, 2019 | Miami
(Held at VITAL2019)

This session will focus on building networks of grassroots and grasstops supporters and engaging community stakeholders. Participants are asked to bring a hospital communications colleague to this session, which will feature the crucial relationship between government relations and communications and identify ways to enhance collaboration between these two professions.

Communications and messaging experts will help participants build on their ability to tell their story, using advanced lobbying techniques, effective message development, and meaningful storytelling strategies. In addition, social media experts will share inside tips and work one-on-one with participants to explore various tools to enhance a hospital’s social media presence.

The techniques covered in this session will help participants develop their campaign’s communications strategy, with special attention to refining campaign messaging and incorporating effective communications tools.


Implementing Your Campaign

October 22-24, 2019 | Washington, D.C.
(Held at fall Policy Assembly)

This session will highlight case studies of successful advocacy campaigns, with a focus on building effective advocacy coalitions. Leaders from national coalitions will share insights on strategies for both building and growing coalitions. Participants will enhance their ability to use complex data in their campaigns by hearing from trusted researchers with expertise in supporting evidence-based advocacy.

Participants will use these lessons as a framework to present their advocacy campaigns to class participants and advisers. The session will emphasize ways to refine the campaign’s execution strategy and devote significant time to giving presenters feedback.

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