Osteopathic community connects with Congress, hears from legislator and panels of experts
Director of Media Relations
(Bethesda, MD)- Leveraging the growing influence of osteopathic physicians, medical students, and medical schools, the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) today hosted its Virtual Day of Action. The event connects a significant number of osteopathic advocates with their legislators to urge Congress to support the federal health and higher education policies and programs critical to the osteopathic medical education (OME) community.
“Osteopathic medical students make up one quarter of all medical students. And as the number of osteopathic physicians and medical students continues to grow, it is imperative that our nation’s policymakers learn how osteopathic medicine is playing a vital role in our nation’s healthcare delivery and how supporting osteopathic medical education will benefit the country moving forward,” said Robert Cain, DO, FACOI, FAODME, President and CEO of AACOM.
Attendees heard from U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO), Chair of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies, which has jurisdiction over federal agencies and programs of importance to OME. Senator Blunt discussed the “new normal” in Congress since the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the nation, how the pandemic has affected the legislative process, and what policymaking changes are likely to persist into the future.
“I was pleased to speak to AACOM members today as they continue to work through this incredibly challenging time for our country,” said Senator Blunt. “Osteopathic medical schools are at the forefront of our response efforts against COVID-19 – training the next generation of health care workers, discovering new treatments and cures for this global health pandemic, and helping communities across the country ensure they have access to COVID-19 tests and care. I will continue to support their priorities in the Senate.”
Other panels featured POLITICO Senate Campaign Pro reporter James Arkin, who gave an update on the 2020 election political landscape and discussed what issues are helping to influence the battle for Congress and the White House. Adam Buckalew, Deputy Health Policy Director, Majority, U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, Alex Ricci, Professional Staff Member, Minority, U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor, and Una Lee, Chief Counsel, Health Subcommittee Majority, House Committee on Energy and Commerce, also gave a congressional policy update on healthcare, education, and COVID-19.
In addition to the panels, attendees participated in three coordinated, virtual advocacy actions to urge their legislators to advance OME priorities in response to COVID-19; reduce medical student debt; and address the physician shortage crisis by expanding graduate medical education and enhancing primary care access by supporting the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education Program. Advocates were able to tweet their Members of Congress, send letters to the Hill, and share their personal stories as part of each coordinated advocacy action.
The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) leads and advocates for the full continuum of osteopathic medical education to improve the health of the public. Founded in 1898 to support and assist the nation's osteopathic medical schools, AACOM represents all 37 accredited colleges of osteopathic medicine—educating nearly 31,000 future physicians, 25 percent of all U.S. medical students—at 58 teaching locations in 33 U.S. states, as well as osteopathic graduate medical education professionals and trainees at U.S. medical centers, hospitals, clinics, and health systems.
AACOM provides leadership for the osteopathic medical education community by promoting excellence in medical education, research, and service, and by fostering innovation and quality across the continuum of osteopathic medical education to improve the health of the American public.