n April 7, 2016, AACOM launched its first national grassroots advocacy campaign, ED to MED , during a special town hall forum at the AACOM Annual Conference in Washington, DC.
ED to MED empowers medical students, medical educators, and other advocates nationwide to raise the profile of graduate student debt issues on Capitol Hill. The campaign launch coincides with an upcoming milestone for graduate student issues, the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA), the law governing federal financial aid and loan repayment options.
The town hall opened with an introduction from AACOM President and CEO, Stephen C. Shannon,DO, MPH, who emphasized the importance of these federal policy issues on the future of the osteopathic medical community and the future of our health care system.
Recent graduates of osteopathic medical schools reported mean debt levels of almost $230,000. This high debt burden compounds during the years of residency training required to become a licensed physician and practice independently. As a result, osteopathic medical students often expect to pay back 2-3 times the amount they borrow for their education.
AACOM Vice President of Government Relations, Pamela Murphy, MSW, and Director of Congressional Affairs, Mary-Lynn Bender, also presented at the town hall, underscoring the dire need for congressional attention to these issues and the power of advocacy and storytelling to shape federal policy. The ED to MED campaign was designed to make advocacy and storytelling more accessible for advocates.
The new ED to MED campaign website offers tools and resources for advocates to share their student debt stories, contact their elected officials, and educate their friends and colleagues on the issues facing medical and other graduate students. The campaign also has a blog and social media profiles on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.