The Osteopathic Health Policy Intern Program (OHPI) enables osteopathic medical students to spend two months in AACOM’s government relations department developing an understanding and operational knowledge of how federal health care policy is developed and how to have an effective impact on public policy formulation.

Michelle Keown is a fourth-year student at the University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth/Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University of South Carolina Honors College, and a Masters of Public Health from the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. During her time at AACOM, Michelle participated in COM Day on the Hill, met with various federal agency policy makers and developed a research project titled “Saving the Government’s and the Medical Student’s Wallets: A Pilot Study.” She plans to survey first- and fourth-year students at non-profit colleges of osteopathic medicine. First-year students will be asked if they would be willing to commit to a state-designated service requirement as a resident if they were to receive free medical school tuition and a living stipend in exchange. Fourth-year students will be asked to provide their estimated federal loan debt accrued during medical school. The purpose of the survey is to determine potential savings and benefits to the U.S. government if it were to pay medical school tuition for physicians willing to serve in underserved areas instead of providing public loan options. Michelle will present her findings in the form of a poster at AACOM's 2012 Annual Meeting.

Michelle has accepted a residency in Internal Medicine at St. Joseph Hospital in Denver, Colorado.

Read Michelle’s OHPI Spotlight.

AACOM’s final OHPI of 2011 is Cole Zanetti. Cole is a fourth-year student at the University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth/Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from the University at Buffalo, State University of New York. Cole is a member of numerous professional organizations, including the Student Osteopathic Medical Association, the American College of Preventive Medicine, the American Medical Student Association, and the American Medical Association, and he also previously served as the American Osteopathic Association’s Student Representative for the Bureau on Scientific Affairs and Public Health. Cole’s first exposure to osteopathic medicine was when he was working in an emergency room as a clinical researcher. A patient was brought in with chronic pain and instead of treating the patient with pain killers, two DOs on staff treated him with osteopathic manipulative medicine, successfully relieving the pain. After witnessing this, Cole spoke with the DOs, learned more about osteopathic medicine, and became interested in attending osteopathic medical school.

Cole’s interest in health policy stems from advocating for the American Medical Student Association for DO Day on the Hill and from his previous participation in the Paul Ambrose Scholars Program, which introduces health professions students to influential public health professionals and prepares them to be leaders in addressing public health challenges.

Cole plans to focus his research project on the changing climate in health care and how it will affect osteopathic medicine by examining what patients are looking for from the health care system. He also will develop a white paper for the Blue Ribbon Commission on medical education reform.

After graduation, Cole will complete his residency in the New Hampshire Dartmouth Family Medicine program and earn a master's degree in public health. He plans on staying involved in health policy throughout his career, hopefully intertwining medical education, leadership and health policy.

Read Cole’s OHPI Spotlight.  

For more information on AACOM’s OHPI program visit here.

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