HHS Appoints Two DOs to Advisory Committee, AACOM Urges NIH Institute on Drug Abuse to Support Osteopathic Research



August 10, 2020

What You Need to Know


With COVID-19 stimulus bill negotiations stalled, AACOM will steadfast in our request to Congress for targeted measures in the next relief package that would address the challenges faced by our colleges of osteopathic medicine (COMs), students, residents, educators, and the larger health care and higher education communities as they continue to respond to COVID-19. Furthermore, we will continue to Congress to include bipartisan, COVID-focused liability protections in the next package to safeguard our COMs as they work to safely educate and train the next generation of osteopathic physicians. It is important to make your voice heard, and AACOM encourages our membership to join us in continuing to raise your voices.

On The Hill

Update on COVID-19 Stimulus Negotiations

Last week, the White House and Democratic leaders were unable to reach an agreement on the next COVID-19 stimulus package, with talks mired over the funding level, state and local government assistance, and emergency unemployment benefits. In response, President Trump signed one executive order (EO) and three presidential memoranda to restore, at a lower level, supplemental federal unemployment benefits; defer payroll taxes; instruct officials to consider whether to extend moratoriums on evictions; and defer student loan payments. With Congress out on recess and negotiations stalled, a bipartisan COVID-19 relief package may not come together until September. AACOM is Congress to include pandemic-focused liability protections for COMs as well as in the next relief package. The Administration is likely to face legal challenges to these executive actions, as Congress constitutionally has the power to change taxes or spending.

AACOM Joins Letter to Support Health Professions Student Loan Forgiveness in COVID-19 Stimulus

AACOM 17 national organizations as a member of the Federation of Associations of Schools of the Health Professions in a letter to congressional leadership urging the inclusion of student loan forgiveness for health professionals. AACOM has also endorsed legislation that would to essential employees and during the COVID-19 crisis.

AACOM Endorses Health Care Workforce Bill

Last month, U.S. Representative Raul Ruiz (D-CA) reintroduced the Building a Health Care Workforce for the Future Act (H.R. 7470), which would address the health professions workforce shortage by awarding grants to states to implement scholarship programs in exchange for service in health professional shortage areas. The bill would also award grants to assist medical schools in developing and strengthening primary care mentorship programs to support primary care student leaders. AACOM this legislation and previously supported the measure in the last Congress, emphasizing the significant role that osteopathic medical education (OME) and osteopathic physicians play in meeting the medical needs of the underserved.

House Passes Spending Bill to Increase Health and Higher Education Funding

On July 31, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 7617, a six-bill, $1.3 trillion spending package that would provide increased funding for both the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Education (ED). AACOM submitted testimony to and subcommittees in support of funding for programs of importance to OME, including health professions education programs, the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education Program, and the National Health Service Corps. However, the White House has threatened to veto the measure due to the inclusion of “poison pill” provisions and emergency spending to address the COVID-19 pandemic. The package also has a slim chance of passing the Republican-controlled Senate, which has not introduced any appropriations bills.




Unlock Your Advocacy Potential: How to Communicate with Lawmakers

Medical students may not always realize it, but they have the power to be strong, effective advocates for themselves and their profession. To help every medical student realize their full advocacy potential, ED to MED advocate and recent AACOM Osteopathic Health Policy Intern Harris Ahmed, DO, MPH, is sharing his personal advocacy reflections and tips that medical students and others in the health professions community can use to .



Administration and Federal Agencies

HHS Secretary Appoints Osteopathic Leaders to Federal Advisory Committee

HHS Secretary Alex Azar, II, AACOM nominees to the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Advisory Committee on Training in Primary Care Medicine and Dentistry (ACTPCMD). The appointments of Jane Carreiro, DO, Vice President for Health Affairs and Dean of the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine, and Anne Musser, DO, Medical Director of the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium and Community Health Aide Program, ensure that the osteopathic voice continues to be well-represented on the committee, which advises and makes recommendations on federal policies and programs critical to supporting medical and dental training. Drs. Carreiro and Musser began their service earlier this month when the ACTPCMD convened a to discuss primary care’s important role in addressing changing rural health care needs. .

AACOM Advocates for OME Priorities in Response to NIDA Request for Information

AACOM responded to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)’s to help inform the outline for NIDA’s Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2021 – 2025. AACOM throughout the development and implementation of the plan and work to enhance research opportunities for osteopathic medical schools by supporting programs that assist with building research capacities and infrastructure. The plan will direct NIDA’s research efforts on drug use and its consequences and serve as a guide to advancing NIDA’s mission over the next five years.

Administration Extends Student Loan Relief and Aims to Broaden Role of Telemedicine

On August 8, President Trump signed a , which extends the pause on monthly student loan repayments and waives interest on student loans through December 31, 2020. This relief, originally provided under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, was set to expire on September 30, 2020. AACOM will continue to engage with the Administration and ED on this policy’s implementation.


President Trump also aimed at expanding telehealth access, especially in rural areas, and making permanent certain telehealth policies beyond the COVID-19 public health emergency. The EO requires HHS to announce a new payment model to test rural hospitals’ innovations that broadly transform health care in their communities and mandates the creation of an inter-agency joint initiative to improve broadband infrastructure to support enhanced telehealth in rural areas. It is important to note that this EO is limited in its authority, and a more extensive effort to expand and make permanent more flexible telehealth policies would likely require congressional action.

ED Announces New CARES Act Reporting Requirements

On July 29, ED for institutions of higher education that received Higher Education Emergency Relief (HEER) funds through the CARES Act. The new reporting satisfies CARES Act requirements, although institutions must still post information about the distribution of student emergency grants to their websites. The data collected will be reviewed by ED to ensure HEER funds are spent in accordance with the law and later shared with the public to promote transparency. The first data report is due on January 29, 2021.

Administration Makes Immediate Changes to DACA Program

On July 28, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that rescinds previous guidance from 2017 and 2018 and directs DHS to reject all pending and future applications to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program. The memo also shortens the DACA renewal period from two years to one year. This new action comes just one month after the U.S. Supreme Court, by a 5-4 majority, the Administration’s attempt to dismantle the DACA Program in Department of Homeland Security v Regents of the University of California.

Russell Vought Sworn in as OMB Director

Russell Vought has been sworn in as the Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Among other responsibilities, the OMB oversees the administration’s budget development and execution, federal agency performance, regulatory policy, and EOs and presidential memoranda. Vought had served in an acting capacity since January 2019 when his predecessor, Mick Mulvaney, became Acting White House Chief of Staff. Vought previously served as OMB Deputy Director and is a former aide to the House Republican Study Committee and former vice president at Heritage Action

Featured Federal Resources and COM Engagement

Jennifer Yanhua Xie, PhD, assistant professor of basic sciences at NYITCOM-Arkansas

Jennifer Yanhua Xie, PhD, assistant professor of basic sciences at NYITCOM-Arkansas

NYITCOM-Arkansas Professor Awarded NIH Grant to Support Migraine Research: Jennifer Yanhua Xie, PhD, assistant professor of basic sciences at the New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine at Arkansas State University (NYITCOM-Arkansas), whose work centers mostly on finding effective, non-opioid therapies for human chronic pain, was awarded a multi-year, $428,400 NIH grant to study potential management and prevention of migraine headaches using osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT). Dr. Xie and her team will replicate migraine-like symptoms in rats, then utilize OMT to relieve the rodents’ symptoms, monitoring for changes in biomarkers to measure the efficacy of the treatment. .

PCORI Launches Free Online Training: The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute recently launched Research Fundamentals, a free online training program for individuals new to health research or patient-centered research who want to learn more about the research process. The tool is a self-paced, on-demand training that uses plain language to describe patient-centered outcomes research and includes a modular format and downloadable glossary. .

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