Congress Urges NIH to Fund Osteopathic Research, Dr. Kowalski Appointed to VA Advisory Committee




July 25, 2022

Due to the congressional August recess, we will return with our next Washington Insider in September. See you in the fall!

AACOM in Action

What You Need to Know

Congressional Letter Urges NIH to Increase Funding for Osteopathic Research


Last week, Senators Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Representative Susie Lee (D-NV) spearheaded a urging the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to end an historic funding disparity and unlock the unique potential of osteopathic physicians and researchers. The AACOM-organized letter was signed by 26 Members of Congress and outlines critical steps for the NIH to expand research funding for colleges of osteopathic medicine (COMs).

“There are over 160 osteopathic medical students at New Mexico’s Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine and over 600 osteopathic doctors currently practicing in New Mexico. If we truly want to address physician shortages and the medical needs of rural and underserved communities, we need to support Osteopathic medicine,” . “That’s why I’m calling on the National Institutes of Health to expand funding opportunities to Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine so that we can enhance the workforce and research capabilities needed to deliver this type of treatment, including non-addictive alternatives to opioids.”

Colleges of osteopathic medicine like William Carey University in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, are integral to our health care system,” Senator Wicker said. “These institutions should be at the table for NIH research funding.”

“Increasing this [osteopathic] focus at the NIH would help to address health disparities in rural and medically underserved populations and advance research in primary care, prevention, and treatment,” in a press release announcing his support. “This also helps address the nation’s doctor shortage – 58% of osteopathic medical schools are located in states with Health Professional Shortage Areas.”

The letter builds on in the fiscal year (FY) 2022 omnibus appropriations bill that highlighted the disparity and acknowledged the benefit of osteopathic research. Increasing NIH funding for osteopathic research was a key priority during , and we thank our deans, students, faculty and all members of the osteopathic community for helping us achieve this important success. AACOM expects that this letter will facilitate more NIH funding for osteopathic medicine, and we will continue to lead on this critical issue.

AACOM Advocates

Ask Congress to Provide Interest-Free Student Loan Deferment for Medical Residents


Tell your Representative to support the Resident Education Deferred Interest (REDI) Act. The REDI Act would make medical education more affordable by providing interest-free student loan deferment for medical and dental residents.

Urge Congress to Support Rural GME


Join AACOM in supporting rural health and encourage Congress to pass the Rural Physician Workforce Production Act (S. 1893), which aims to increase the physician workforce in rural areas by equitably funding rural residency training.

Policy Update

House Passes OMT Language as Part of Six-Bill Appropriations Package


  • On July 20, the House voted 220 – 207 to pass its $405 billion, for FY23, the first appropriations legislation either chamber has passed for the coming year.
  • The package includes report language in the FY23 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies appropriations bill directing the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to provide data on the use of osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) in the treatment of veterans.
  • Passage of the spending package represents an important step in AACOM’s comprehensive strategy to encourage assessment and use of OMT.
  • The language recognizes the importance of OMT as a non-addictive treatment for pain, noting, “The Committee is aware that doctors of osteopathic medicine receive intensive training in OMT and play an important role in the treatment of veterans, who experience higher prevalence of pain and more severe pain than nonveterans.”
  • For other programs and provisions of importance to the osteopathic medical education community, please .

Senate Appropriators Release List of Congressionally Directed Spending Requests


  • Citing continued transparency in the appropriations process and in preparation for Senate consideration of the FY23 funding bills, Senate Appropriations Chair Patrick Leahy (D-VT) released a list of the Senate .
  • These requests, also referred to as earmarks, must meet the needs of a community, adhere to strict funding parameters and demonstrate community engagement and support. Nonprofits (including COMs) and state and local governments are eligible to receive this funding.
  • There are more than 14,000 requests listed for FY23, and it is unclear how many requests will ultimately be funded.
  • Please let us know if a Member of Congress submitted a request on your or your institution’s behalf at .

Department of Education Announces Proposed Rule on PSLF, Borrower Defense


  • Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) their notice of proposed rulemaking regarding student loans and affordability issues.
  • The proposed rule includes changes to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program and borrower defense to repayment.
  • The public comment deadline is August 12, 2022. ED intends to finalize these rules by November 1, 2022 and the rules will take effect no later than July 1, 2023.
  • AACOM is evaluating the proposed rule and intends to submit comments. Please notify us at if you also plan to comment or have suggestions for inclusion. For more information on the proposed rule, .

Engagement and Resources

Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine (MSUCOM) Dean and Students Reflect on AACOM Advocacy Day: MSUCOM Dean Andy Amalfitano, DO, PhD, and students wrote about their experience at AACOM Advocacy Day 2022. Courtney Merlo, OMS IV and National Student Osteopathic Medical Association President, said of her experience advocating for parity for DO students applying to residency, “I have a lot of skin in the game as a fourth-year medical student going into the match. I’m very invested in this.” .

Deadline Approaching to Comment on HHS Primary Care Policies: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is receiving public comment through August 1, 2022 on 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. Stakeholder feedback will be used to inform an initial action plan expected later this year. AACOM encourages COMs to comment on ways osteopathic medicine can strengthen primary care. Please email if you have suggestions or if you or your organization plans to submit a response. .

Register for the AACOM/AOGME Virtual Residency Fair: The upcoming event, hosted by AACOM’s Assembly of Osteopathic Graduate Medical Educators (AOGME), will allow osteopathic medical students entering the Match to explore a variety of residency programs and connect with current residents. The Virtual Residency Fair takes place on Friday, August 5 from 12:00-8:00 PM ET. Interested students and programs can .

Save the Date for THCGME Webinar: AOGME is hosting a webinar about the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education (THCGME) program on Wednesday, October 5, at 4:00 PM ET. The webinar will feature Meaghan Ruddy, PhD, of the Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education and provide an opportunity to learn more about THCGME. .

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

Check out the latest issue of Inside OME!

Don't get Inside OME? Subscribe for free today!




Copyright ©2022 American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine. All Rights Reserved.

American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine

Government Relations

7700 Old Georgetown Road, Suite 250, Bethesda, MD 20814

Contact the editors: aacomgr@aacom.org

Subscribe | Manage my subscriptions | Unsubscribe from all AACOM emails

Not a Washington Insider subscriber?

It's free and you may cancel at any time.