FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 7, 2016
Advocacy and Public Affairs Manager
Medical Students Mobilize as Congress Discusses HEA Reauthorization
(Washington, DC) – Today, the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) will launch its first national grassroots advocacy campaign, ED to MED, during a special town hall forum at the AACOM Annual Conference in Washington, DC.
ED to MED seeks to empower medical students, medical educators, and other advocates nationwide to raise the profile of graduate student debt issues on Capitol Hill. The ED to MED campaign website will offer advocates tools and resources to share their student debt stories, contact their elected officials, and educate their friends and colleagues on the issues facing medical and graduate students.
The campaign launch coincides with an upcoming milestone for graduate student issues, the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA), the law governing federal financial aid and loan repayment options.
Recent graduates of osteopathic medical schools reported mean debt levels of almost $230,000, on top of their undergraduate loans. This high debt burden compounds during the years of residency training required to become a licensed physician and practice independently. As a result, osteopathic medical students often expect to pay back 2-3 times the amount they borrow for their education.
“Graduate student debt has not received the same level of attention from federal policymakers as undergraduate debt,” said Stephen C. Shannon, DO, MPH, President and CEO of AACOM. “This campaign will allow medical students to bring to light the unique elements of their education that Congress must consider when reauthorizing HEA. In a time when our country faces a growing physician shortage, incentivizing medical education is critical to the future of the American health care system.”
To visit the ED to MED campaign website, go to http://www.edtomed.com.
The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) represents the 31 accredited colleges of osteopathic medicine in the United States. These colleges are accredited to deliver instruction at 46 teaching locations in 31 states. In the 2015-16 academic year, these colleges are educating over 26,100 future physicians—more than 20 percent of all U.S. medical students. Six of the colleges are public and 25 are private institutions.
AACOM was founded in 1898 to support and assist the nation's osteopathic medical schools, and to serve as a unifying voice for osteopathic medical education. AACOM’s mission is to promote excellence in osteopathic medical education, in research and in service, and to foster innovation and quality among osteopathic medical colleges to improve the health of the American public.