FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Advocacy and Public Affairs Manager
(Washington, D.C.) – The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) President and CEO, Stephen C. Shannon, DO, MPH, today issued the following statement on the President’s fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget plan, “A New Foundation for American Greatness.”
As the association that represents the nation's osteopathic medical schools, we have serious concerns with the proposed increase in defense spending of $54 billion at the expense of federal non-defense discretionary spending, which includes programs that are vital to education, public health, and the future physician workforce.
Specifically, the $9 billion proposed cut to the U.S. Department of Education would hit graduate students the hardest, increasing both their monthly student loan payments and the time it takes for their loans to be forgiven, as well as entirely eliminating the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program. This program was designed to incentivize public service for graduates, such as opting to practice in a rural or urban medically underserved area. According to a recent AACOM survey, 59 percent of graduating osteopathic medical students intended to enter the PSLF Program.
While we are encouraged to see support for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and programs such as Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education and the National Health Service Corps, the proposal would devastate Title VII health professions education training and eliminate programs such as the Area Health Education Centers. Drastic cuts to these programs would cripple efforts to meet U.S. citizens' health care needs. Furthermore, the budget calls for a significant cut to the National Institutes of Health and rural health programs.
As Congress negotiates the FY18 appropriations bills, AACOM urges policymakers to renounce the proposed cuts and invest in a robust, patient-centered health care workforce as a component of a strong health care system. We will continue to work with Congress and be an active voice for the future physician workforce.
The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) represents the 33 accredited colleges of osteopathic medicine in the United States. These colleges are accredited to deliver instruction at 48 teaching locations in 31 states. In the 2016-17 academic year, these colleges are educating more than 27,000 future physicians—more than 20 percent of all U.S. medical students. Six of the colleges are public and 27 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 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.