AACOM welcomed Tara Blalock, AuD, to its Osteopathic Health Policy Intern (OHPI) Program on Tuesday, June 17, 2014. In the fall of 2014, Dr. Blalock will enter her fourth year at the Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine (DMU-COM) where she is pursuing both a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degree and a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree. She currently holds a Doctor of Audiology (AuD) degree from the University of Louisville in Louisville, KY and a Bachelor of Science in Communication Disorders degree from Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. Dr. Blalock is AACOM’s final intern for the 2014 cycle.
Before attending medical school, Dr. Blalock was able to experience firsthand the value of an interdisciplinary team approach to health care. As a pediatric audiologist, she was a member of such a team and learned that health encompasses all aspects of an individual. Her experiences as an allied health care provider were humbling and she quickly grasped that she wanted to offer more care to her patients. She decided then that she wanted to pursue primary care in osteopathic medicine; doing so would allow her to become a stronger advocate for her patients.
Among the many professional memberships and leadership roles she has undertaken throughout her educational career, most recently, Dr. Blalock served as the President of the DMU-COM’s Student Government Association and National Chair (now Immediate Past Chair) of AACOM’s Council of Osteopathic Student Government Presidents. She has also served as a student representative for the American Osteopathic Association House of Delegates and is a member of the Iowa Osteopathic Medical Association.
At the end of her two-month OHPI experience, Dr. Blalock hopes to learn to become a highly effective advocate for her patients and fellow physicians. Her policy interests include increasing patient access to primary care, particularly for rural underserved populations, as well as working to boost the number of graduate medical education, or medical residency, slots. Dr. Blalock is also passionate about the domestic and global awareness of osteopathic medicine.
The OHPI Program is an opportunity for osteopathic medical students to work in AACOM’s government relations department, gain a deeper understanding of health policy development and implementation, meet with federal agency officials, attend hearings and briefings on Capitol Hill, and conduct research on current health policy issues.
Please visit the OHPI webpage for further information on the OHPI Program.