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On March 9, the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM)  held COM Day on Capitol Hill for its Board of Deans. Participants attended a breakfast in the morning and heard a legislative briefing from Pamela Murphy, MSW, AACOM Director of Government Relations, and AACOM Government Relations Consultants Lyle Dennis, MA, Partner, and Erika Miller, Esq., Vice President and Counsel, Cavarocchi, Ruscio, Dennis Associates, LLC.  Ms. Murphy, Mr. Dennis, and Ms. Miller gave an overview of the current political landscape and provided detailed information about recent congressional activity and AACOM’s public policy priorities.

Following the briefing, the deans met with Members of Congress and their staffs to discuss a variety of topics, including graduate medical education (GME) funding and the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education Program, primary care workforce priorities, such as funding for Title VII health professions programs and the National Health Service Corps (NHSC), and student financial aid issues. COM Day participants stressed the need to support innovation within GME in order to address patient needs and the impending physician workforce shortage.

The deans also asked their Members to support the Primary Care Training and Enhancement (PCTE) Program. Funding for this program will support awards to eligible primary care physicians and other health professionals, helping to bolster the primary care workforce, particularly in rural communities throughout the nation. COM Day participants also voiced their support for the NHSC Scholarship and Loan Repayment Programs. While osteopathic medical students comprise just under 20 percent of all U.S. medical students, this year they received 40 percent of the NHSC scholarships awarded to all medical students (DO and MD).  

Participating schools included: Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine of Midwestern University, Georgia Campus – Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences College of Osteopathic Medicine, Lincoln Memorial University – DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine, New York College of Osteopathic Medicine of New York Institute of Technology, Nova Southeastern University College of Osteopathic Medicine, Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine – New York, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey – School of Osteopathic Medicine, West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine and William Carey University College of Osteopathic Medicine.

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April / May 2011
Vol. 5, No. 4 / 5