On March 5, the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) hosted its annual DO Day on Capitol Hill. Despite the snowstorm that shut down much of Washington, DC that day, over 1,000 DO and student advocates braved the weather to attend the event.
DO Day on Capitol Hill focuses on issues related to the osteopathic profession and osteopathic medical education (OME), providing the exciting opportunity for DOs and students to come to Washington, DC and lobby members of Congress and their staff face-to-face. This year’s event focused on the need to build the physician workforce through student loan debt relief and programs that support careers in primary care medicine.
At the event, Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald also addressed medical students and DOs about the national shortage of primary care physicians and its relationship to the critical issue of limited access to primary care for U.S. veterans. During his discussion, Secretary McDonald spoke about the VA's plan to add 1,500 new primary care residency positions at its facilities over the next three years.
AOA’s DO Day is a forum to address legislative issues impacting current and future osteopathic physicians. Currently, more than one out of four first-year medical students is enrolled in a college of osteopathic medicine (COM). Historically, about 60 percent of DOs choose primary care specialties, which highlights the fast-growing osteopathic profession as an important solution to the nation’s physician shortage.