n March 2, AACOM held its annual COM Day on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The event had its largest attendance to date, with more than 60 deans, students, and other representatives from the nation’s 27 colleges of osteopathic medicine (COMs) participating. Participants attended an open house reception at AACOM’s new stand-alone Washington, DC office and then enjoyed a pre-COM Day dinner featuring U.S. Representative Mike Bishop (R-MI), a member of the House Education and Workforce Committee and Representative for the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine (MSUCOM), who spoke about his strong support for and legislative efforts on issues critical to osteopathic medical students, including the student debt crisis and the future reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA).
This year’s COM Day on Capitol Hill commenced with a legislative briefing led by AACOM Vice President of Government Relations, Pamela Murphy, MSW, who spoke about programmatic andfunding priorities for osteopathic medical education. In particular, Ms. Murphy underscored issues related to the HEA reauthorization and the student debt crisis, as well as AACOM’s recently-launched ED to MED campaign. Following the briefing, participants met with more than 70 Members of Congress and their staffs to discuss issues impacting COMs, including graduate medical education and HEA reauthorization, and legislative efforts to address the financial burden of medical student debt.
Additionally, AACOM successfully held its first Virtual Hill Day in conjunction with COM Day on Capitol Hill, engaging social media participants across the country, which resulted in 450 tweets with a total social reach of almost 700,000. Virtual participants, which included medical students and other advocates, stressed to Members of Congress the urgency of addressing graduate and professional student debt during HEA reauthorization negotiations. View our Storify timeline to see a featured display of notable social media moments throughout the day.