n April 13, 2016, the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) hosted its annual DO Day on Capitol Hill. More than 1,000 DO and student advocates descended upon DC to attend the event to meet with Members of Congress and congressional staff about the issues facing the osteopathic profession and osteopathic medical education. This year’s efforts centered on raising the profile of medical student debt and the role of osteopathic medicine in tackling the country’s opioid abuse crisis.
As the organization representing osteopathic medical schools and students, AACOM was invited to present on medical student debt and on its newly-launched ED to MED campaign, which has been endorsed by the AOA. In addition, AACOM had an ED to MED campaign booth display during DO Day for students and other advocates to become a part of this important grassroots movement.
AACOM’s Vice President of Government Relations, Pamela Murphy, MSW, joined Ray Quintero, AOA’s Senior Vice President of Public Policy, to inform advocates on federal policies impacting medical student debt, including the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA). This policy briefing helped prepare advocates for their conversations with legislators and staff on Capitol Hill.
Murphy emphasized how the ED to MED campaign can provide students the ability to be sustainable advocates for their future as Congress continues to negotiate the reauthorization of the HEA. The ED to MED campaign website offers advocates tools and resources to share their student debt stories, contact their elected officials, and educate their friends and colleagues on the issues facing medical and graduate students. This campaign allows student advocates to be better informed on how the HEA impacts their financial health and how to continue their advocacy year-round.