Advocacy Day Advances Osteopathic NIH Funding and GME Parity



July 11, 2022

AACOM in Action

What You Need to Know

#AACOMAdvocates Unite to Advance Osteopathic Priorities


On June 28 and 29, hundreds of osteopathic advocates came together to support AACOM’s federal policy priorities as part of . During informational panels on June 28, participants heard from Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) about federal policies impacting the osteopathic community. Participants also engaged with congressional staff members Colleen Nguyen, Steve Ackerman and Megan Thompson during a bipartisan panel discussion covering the latest health policy developments and firsthand tips for successful advocacy. Closing the day, AACOM Government Relations led an advocacy training session.


On June 29, advocates from 45 colleges of osteopathic medicine (COMs) led a total of 141 virtual congressional meetings to urge Congress to provide graduate medical education (GME) parity and increase National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding for osteopathic research. Simultaneously, grassroots advocates used the to send hundreds of messages to their congressional delegations. Advocacy Day engagement generated immense support for our GME parity and NIH funding initiatives that continues to accumulate.

AACOM Advocates

It’s Not Too Late to Advocate! Tell Congress to Support NIH Funding for Osteopathic Medicine


If you were unable to participate in AACOM Advocacy Day, you can still urge Congress to support osteopathic research and representation at the NIH. COMs are critically underrepresented and underfunded by the NIH—receiving only 0.1% of NIH funding. There are no DOs among the 3,233 study section reviewers, and only one DO among the 462 National Advisory Council members.


Tell your congressmember to sign on to the congressional letter by July 15 to NIH Acting Director Lawrence Tabak in support of osteopathic research and representation at the NIH.

Policy Update

House FY23 LHHS Funding Bill Supports Osteopathic Research


  • Building on the AACOM success from the fiscal year (FY) 2022 appropriations bill, Representative Susie Lee (D-NV) secured new language reinforcing the importance of expanding osteopathic research and representation at the NIH in the FY23 House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Manager’s Amendment. ()
  • The language is another major milestone in decreasing the NIH funding gap for COMs.
    • Osteopathic Medical Schools.-The Committee recognizes that increased access to research funding for the osteopathic profession will bolster NIH's capacity to support recovery from the COVlD-19 pandemic, address health disparities in rural and medically-underserved populations, and advance research in primary care, prevention, and treatment. The Committee requests an update on the current status of NIH funding to colleges of osteopathic medicine and representation of doctors of osteopathic medicine on NIH National Advisory Councils and standing study sections in the fiscal year 2024 Congressional Justification.
  • The House Appropriations Committee approved the measure that would provide $242.1 billion in discretionary funding, which represents a $28.5 billion increase (13%) above FY22 levels. The bill now heads to the House floor for consideration.
  • For other programs and provisions of importance to the osteopathic medical education community,

HHS Opens Public Comment on Ways to Strengthen Primary Healthcare


  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) opened the public comment period for its .
  • With nearly 60 percent of DOs practicing in primary care, AACOM met with HHS officials in April to discuss the outsized role that osteopathic medicine plays in delivering primary care services across the country.
  • HHS is seeking diverse and innovative perspectives from stakeholders to develop a foundation to improve health outcomes and health equity. Stakeholder feedback will be used to inform an initial Action Plan expected later this year.
  • HHS is receiving through August 1. AACOM GR welcomes opportunities to collaborate on ways to strengthen primary care. Please email if you have suggestions or if you or your organization plan to comment.

HHS Awards More Than $155 Million in THCGME Funding


  • HHS more than $155 million in awards for the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education (THCGME) Program to support primary care medical and dental residencies. The THCGME Program is a priority for the osteopathic community as more than half of all residents currently training in a THC are DOs.
  • AACOM advocated for inclusion of this THCGME funding in both the and and will continue to advocate for increased GME funding for rural and underserved communities.
  • View a .

Education Department Releases Proposed Regulations to Expand and Improve Student Loan Discharge Programs


  • Last week, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) proposed regulations that would affect a number of major student loan discharge programs, including the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program.
  • The proposed changes to the PSLF Program would allow more payments to qualify as PSLF-eligible, permit certain types of deferments and forbearances to count towards PSLF and create a formal reconsideration process for denied applicants, among other changes. An AACOM analysis is forthcoming.

Engagement and Resources

PSLF Webinar for Campus Leaders: The American Council on Education and ED are hosting a free webinar for institutions to learn more about the temporary changes to the PSLF Program. The webinar will be take place on Tuesday, July 12, at 2:00 PM ET. .

Maine Governor Honors UNE College of Osteopathic Medicine: To honor the contributions of the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine (UNE COM), Governor Janet Mills proclaimed June 27 to July 3 as . “As Governor, I am proud to recognize University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine Week in Maine, and I welcome the incoming and current student doctors, faculty, and professional staff on this traditional first day of classes, as well as celebrate the recent graduates of UNE COM who are entering their new careers as physicians,” Gov. Mills stated.

NoordaCOM Dean Appointed to Utah Medical Education Council: On July 6, the Noorda College of Osteopathic Medicine announced that founding dean and chief academic officer, John Dougherty, DO, was by Utah Governor Spencer J. Cox to the Utah Medical Education Council. “It is a privilege to join the Utah Medical Education Council,” said Dougherty. “I look forward to working with the other council members to help promote and provide the best medical training for our students to meet the growing healthcare needs of the citizens of Utah, especially as it relates to pushing forward Governor Cox’s One Utah Roadmap in unprecedented ways ‘crucial for Utah’s success.’”

Visit AACOM's for federal grants of interest to osteopathic medical education.

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