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AACOM Announces New Osteopathic Health Policy Interns

May 16, 2022

Following a highly competitive review process, the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) has selected two osteopathic medical students to participate in the association’s Osteopathic Health Policy Internship (OHPI) Program. Part of AACOM’s Leadership Institute, the OHPI Program enables osteopathic medical students to develop knowledge of federal healthcare and higher education policy and deepens their understanding of how to have a foundational impact on public policy formulation. 

Brianne HowertonChrissa KaragiannisBrianne Howerton (left), OMS IV, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) – Bradenton, and Chrissa Karagiannis (right), OMS III, Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine (TUCOM) – California, will each spend eight consecutive weeks working virtually with AACOM’s Government Relations department. Throughout their internships, Brianne and Chrissa will observe and participate in the legislative and regulatory processes, monitor ongoing public policy issues for AACOM, observe and implement appropriate advocacy techniques and develop networking skills. Through this internship, Brianne hopes to gain skills and knowledge to help her more effectively advocate for improved access to healthcare in rural communities, while Chrissa aims to further advance her work addressing the nation’s opioid epidemic.

I truly believe policy impacts all of us and if we do not act, others will,” says Brianne. “I am thrilled to learn more about how I can advocate more effectively and am excited to see how this health policy internship program can help solidify my ability to be a long-lasting and impactful catalyst for change.”

“In addition to being a passionate osteopathic medical student, Brie demonstrates an extraordinary commitment to educational excellence and advocacy of her peers,” says Mark Kauffman, DO, MMEd, associate dean of academic affairs, LECOM Bradenton. “Having the opportunity to be an intern in osteopathic health policy will allow Brie to see just how the policy process works. Knowing her determination, she will undoubtedly be a part of positive change.

I am looking forward to working on policy issues in the OHPI Program relevant to the osteopathic medical profession,” says Chrissa. “I appreciate the work of AACOM in presenting the osteopathic perspective to policymakers and look forward to assisting with these goals as a health policy intern.

Chrissa has repeatedly demonstrated her commitment to the osteopathic profession through her leadership roles, policy and advocacy efforts and service to her community,” says Tami Hendriksz, DO, dean & chief academic officer, professor of pediatrics, TUCOM. “She has demonstrated leadership skills far beyond what I would expect for someone at her level of training. I have no doubt that she will apply what she learns to her future clinical practice and advocacy work.

Past interns have gone on to become healthcare policy leaders. They have served as the policy committee chair of the Assembly of Osteopathic Graduate Medical Educators Residents and Fellows Council, vice-chair of health policy at the Emergency Medicine Residents Association and are running for local office. 


Vol. 1, No. 4
February 23, 2017