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The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) hosted the 2011 Health Policy Fellowship Seminar December 8-9, 2011. Fellows (pictured at left with Nancy Cooper, Health Policy Fellowship Coordinator, Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, and AACOM's Government Relations staff) flew into Washington, DC, from across the country for an interactive dialogue with prominent health policy makers and experts.  

Mary K. Wakefield, PhD, RN, Administrator for the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, served as the keynote speaker on December 8, providing a detailed overview of HRSA and its current priorities, and answering fellows’ questions about the agency and its work. HRSA’s overarching goal, Dr. Wakefield said, is to deliver primary care health services to underserved and vulnerable populations. The agency’s work has a tremendous impact on the nation’s population. According to Dr. Wakefield, for example, 60 percent of all pregnant women in the United States are served in some way by HRSA’s Maternal and Child Health programs.

During their two days of sessions, the fellows heard an informative presentation on “Shaping the Healthcare Workforce through Policy,” by Shannon Bolon, MD, MPH, Chief, Primary Care Medical Education Branch, HRSA Division of Medicine and Dentistry. Dr. Bolon described the Bureau’s current funding focus areas, among them interprofessional education, team-based care and primary care. The fellows engaged in a lively discussion with Dr. Bolon regarding scope of practice issues related to team-based care, including the professional hierarchies, silos and economics that frequently serve as barriers to effective team-based practice.

The fellows also heard presentations from:

  • Michelle Goodman, MAA, Policy Coordinator, HRSA Office of Rural Health Policy (ORHP), on ORHP’s role in advising on health issues within rural communities, including the effects of Medicare and Medicaid on rural citizens’ access to care, the viability of rural hospitals, and the availability of physicians and other health professionals;
  • Edward Salsberg, Director, HRSA National Center for Health Workforce Analysis, on the workforce data and trends that are driving national health policy;
  • Kimberly Kleine, Deputy Associate Administrator, HRSA Bureau of Clinician Recruitment and Service, and Deputy Director, National Health Service Corps (NHSC) on the NHSC loan repayment and scholarship programs;
  • Seiji Hayashi, MD, MPH, Chief Medical Officer, HRSA Bureau of Primary Health Care, on how HRSA-funded community health centers are improving access to care and reducing health disparities for medically underserved communities;
  • William D. Rogers, MD, FACEP, Medical Officer, Office of the Administrator, Director, Physicians Regulatory Issues Team, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), on current economic, demographic and health care trends, and the role of CMS in national health policy; and
  • Russell G. Robertson, MD, Chair, Council on Graduate Medical Education (COGME), and Vice President of Medical Affairs and Dean, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, University of Chicago, on current challenges to graduate medical education.

In addition, the fellows enjoyed engaging discussions on various health policy and advocacy issues with Pamela Murphy, MSW, AACOM Director of Government Relations; Shawn Martin, Director, Department of Government Relations, American Osteopathic Association (AOA); David Moore, Senior Director, Office of Governmental Relations, Association of American Medical Colleges; and Consultant Michael J. Dyer, JD.

The Health Policy Fellowship Program is designed for individuals who are preparing for leadership roles in the osteopathic profession and positions of influence in health policy. The New York College of Osteopathic Medicine of the New York Institute of Technology and the Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine coordinate this certificate program in health policy through a collaboration of AACOM, AACOM member colleges and the AOA.  Further information regarding the HPF program is available at http://iris.nyit.edu/nycom/hpf.

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