AACOM Supports Programs and Shares Resources that Increase Access to Care in Underserved Communities

Federal Loan Repayment and Scholarships Available for Veterans, AI/ANs, and Disadvantaged Students


February 10, 2020

What You Need to Know


OME Community Serves the Underserved

Increasing access to primary care in medically underserved areas is a key mission of many of our nation’s colleges of osteopathic medicine. Katie Marney, second-year student at the Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine (OSU-COM), was motivated to help underserved patients after witnessing firsthand the a lack of health care access has on a community, and as she states, her story is not unique. For the many individuals passionate about becoming osteopathic physicians who work in underserved communities, there are federal opportunities available, such as scholarships and loan repayment programs for , , and   highlighted below. AACOM continues to support and promote such programs that help the osteopathic medical education (OME) community fulfill its important mission of improving access to care for underserved patients.


AACOM Office of Government Relations

On The Hill

Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Holds Hearing on the MISSION Act


On February 5, the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs focused on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Community Care Network (CCN), which was established by the VA Maintaining Systems and Strengthening Integrated Outside Networks . The VA CCN for veterans to receive non-VA hospital care, medical services, and extended care services from community providers. During the hearing, committee members stressed the importance of ensuring CCN implementation works both for veterans and the VA.


The MISSION Act also created pilot programs to establish medical residency programs, provided scholarships to physicians and dentists in exchange for service to the VA, and established the VA Specialty Education Loan Repayment Program to improve recruitment and retainment of specific medical specialties. At , AACOM’s annual conference, Veterans Health Administration officials Anthony Albanese, MD, and Edward T. Bope, MD, will offer a brief look at the MISSION Act as part of their session on and will discuss partnership opportunities between the VA and colleges of osteopathic medicine. AACOM continues to as it implements other within the MISSION Act to the OME community.




Katie Marney, second-year student at OSU-COM

How Grad PLUS Loans Help OSU-COM Student Serve the Underserved


Katie Marney, second-year student at OSU-COM, knew she wanted to be a physician since she was young. Her passion to help communities in need developed after she witnessed firsthand how the lack of health care access affects students and families. Learn how  will .

Financial Aid Experts Share Advice on Paying for Medical School; AACOM Launches 2020 Educational Debt Management Modules


On January 30, two members of AACOM’s Council of Student Financial Aid Administrators answered prospective osteopathic medical students’ questions about financing their education as part of AACOM’s . Christine L. Willse, MBA, Associate Director of Student Financial Aid, Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine – Stratford Campus, and Nicole McMillin, MPA, Director of Financial Aid, Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine, shared their expertise and advice for making informed financial decisions with expo attendees.


Among the resources Christine and Nicole provided were AACOM’s Financial Aid Debt Management Modules, which help osteopathic medical students borrow strategically and ensure they are prepared to responsibly repay their loans after they graduate and enter residency training. AACOM recently launched its , which can be used by financial aid administrators to support or enhance their school’s educational debt management programs and counseling, or within schools’ general financial literacy programs. For more detail about the new modules, .

Become ED to MED's Outstanding Advocate of the Year

Become an Award-Winning Advocate this Awards Season


ED to MED’s Outstanding Advocate of the Year Award is presented to an advocate who goes above and beyond to fight for the future health care workforce and patients around the country. In addition to raising their voice, this stand out advocate makes advocacy a priority in their lives, leads by example, and encourages others to get involved.



Administration and Federal Agencies

Apply Now: Indian Health Service Health Professions Scholarship Program


Prospective and enrolled health professions students who are members of a federally recognized American Indian Tribe or are Alaska Natives may submit their application to the Indian Health Service by 7:00 PM ET on February 28 for the Health Professions Scholarship Program. The scholarship program supports tuition and certain fees, as applicable for the degree program, for up to four years of full-time or part-time academic work, in exchange for the fulfillment of a two-year service commitment in full-time clinical practice at an Indian health facility upon graduation. .

Rural Communities Opioid Response Funding Opportunity


The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Office of Rural Health Policy announced funding for the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program-Implementation, which will provide to strengthen and expand substance use disorder prevention, treatment, and recovery services in high-risk rural communities. Proposals must implement evidence-based interventions and practices that are in alignment with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ . Further, HRSA encourages applicants to leverage workforce recruitment and retention programs such as the National Health Service Corps. Interested applicants should submit proposals by April 24 and may participate in an on February 25 from 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM ET.

ED Simplifies Loan Forgiveness Application Process


On January 30, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced its the forms that borrowers must complete when applying to receive loan forgiveness through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) and Temporary Expanded PSLF (TEPSLF) Programs. The TEPSLF Program was created to allow borrowers enrolled in a non-qualifying loan repayment program, but otherwise eligible for PSLF, . The single, revised form, allows borrowers to submit one form for both programs and addresses a paperwork technicality that caused borrowers to be denied TEPSLF because they had not first applied for and been denied PSLF. The new form will also assist the Department in its review and loan forgiveness determination process. ED is receiving comments on the notice through March 30.

ED Proposes New Policies for Faith-Based Institutions


In response to the related to freedom of speech at colleges and universities, ED recently published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to against faith-based organizations, clarify the rights and eligibility of faith-based organizations to receive grants from ED, and strengthen religious freedom protections. The NPRM also requires organizations to adhere to certain policies as a condition of receiving those grants. According to the NPRM, if an institution did not previously receive a direct federal financial assistance grant because of an “inherently religious activity,” it may be eligible under the new “explicitly religious activity” language. AACOM is evaluating the proposal and will continue to keep its membership informed as the rulemaking process moves forward.

Featured Federal Resources and COM Engagement

Reminder: Apply for HRSA Addiction Medicine Fellowship Program by February 25: The HRSA Addiction Medicine Fellowship Program aims to increase access in underserved communities to board certified addiction professionals who integrate primary care with mental health and substance use disorder prevention and treatment. Eligible applicants include U.S.-based sponsoring institutions of accredited addiction medicine or addiction psychiatry fellowship programs. .

Reminder: Apply for HRSA Funding Opportunity for Disadvantaged Students by March 3: The HRSA Scholarship for Disadvantaged Students Program strives to promote diversity in the health professions by providing awards to accredited schools of osteopathic medicine, among others, that then provide scholarships of up to $40,000 to students from disadvantaged backgrounds who have a demonstrated financial need, including students of racial and ethnic minority groups. Participating schools are responsible for selecting scholarship recipients, making reasonable determinations of need, and .

Reminder: Apply for NIH Funding to Research Intersection of Opioid Use and Pain Management by March 13: Investigators with active grants in the area of chronic pain and/or addiction are encouraged to apply to the National Institutes of Health Notice of Special Interest for research on .

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