November 1, 2021

AACOM in Action

What You Need to Know

Senate Releases Bill Language Urging More COM NIH Funding


AACOM secured a critical victory as part of our comprehensive engagement strategy to increase National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding for osteopathic medical schools. The Explanatory Statement for the Senate fiscal year 2022 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies spending bill urges the NIH to report on the status of NIH funding to colleges of osteopathic medicine (COMs) and the representation of DOs on NIH National Advisory Councils and study sections. The statement recognizes the importance of advancing osteopathic research supported by the NIH, noting, “The Committee supports access to NIH research funding for osteopathic medical schools. The Committee is concerned by the historical disparity in NIH funding as osteopathic professionals receive only 0.1 percent of NIH grants, yet osteopathic medicine is one of the fastest growing healthcare professions in the country and osteopathic medical schools educate 25 percent of all medical students.”


To achieve this success, AACOM submitted dozens of appropriations requests to congressional offices and held meetings with Member and committee staff. We leveraged broad COM support through letters and direct outreach to key offices, culminating with 124 meetings during AACOM Advocacy Day. AACOM will continue to pursue legislative and regulatory solutions until osteopathic medical schools attain NIH funding matching their workforce representation.


For additional Senate appropriations bill provisions relevant to the OME community, .

AACOM Advocacy Day Successes: SAVE Act Introduced and New Supporters for Rural GME Bill


On October 22, Representatives Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ), David McKinley (R-WV), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) and David Joyce (R-OH) to the Student Assisted Vaccination Effort (SAVE) Act (H.R. 5699). The bipartisan bill’s introduction followed the osteopathic medical education (OME) community’s collective action during AACOM Advocacy Day on October 7, and intensive interprofessional efforts by AACOM’s Students Assist America. The ensures that more than one million qualified health professions students, including osteopathic medical students, can administer vaccines during federally declared public health emergencies.

Advocacy Day advocates also helped secure three additional cosponsors and counting for the Rural Physician Workforce Production Act (S. 1893), a bipartisan bill that increases the physician workforce in rural areas by extending federal support for rural residency training.

AACOM Advocates


Urge Congress to Expand Osteopathic Research at the NIH

Thanks to your advocacy, the Senate has recognized the importance of expanding osteopathic research funded by the NIH! Help build on this important momentum by to increase funding and representation of osteopathic medical scientists to address critical underrepresentation and underfunding.

Policy Update

Biden Presents New Reconciliation Framework, Including AACOM-Supported THCGME Funding


  • On Thursday, October 28, President Biden announced a new for the reconciliation bill referred to as the Build Back Better Act.
  • AACOM priorities in the include $3.37 billion for the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education Program, as well as $150 million for Children’s Hospital Graduate Medical Education (GME), $20 million for palliative medicine physician training, an increase in residency positions at veterans affairs medical facilities and the establishment of Rural and Underserved Pathway to Practice Training Programs for medical students and residents.
  • Negotiations are ongoing but nearing completion, according to the White House, which presented a framework including universal pre-k, expanded Affordable Care Act subsidies and coverage of hearing health services under Medicare.
  • The bill’s framework offers a reduced cost of $1.75 trillion, achieved by cutting several higher cost items, including paid family leave and more robust Medicare expansion, imperiling the bill among progressives. More changes are expected and passage remains uncertain.

Deadline Extended: Apply by December 2 for Student Loan Repayment


  • The deadline to apply for the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Students to Service Loan Repayment Program is extended until Thursday, December 2 at 7:30 PM ET.
  • A historic increase in funding means the NHSC will be making more awards in a single year than ever before.
  • Students in their final year of school may qualify for up to $120,000 in tax-free loan repayment.
  • View AACOM’s for more information and .

Catherine Lhamon Confirmed to Run the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights


  • On October 20, the Senate confirmed the nomination of Catherine Lhamon to run the U.S. Department of Education (ED)’s Office for Civil Rights.
  • Vice President Kamala Harris cast the tie-breaking party-line vote.
  • Lhamon, who previously served in this role during President Obama’s second term, was nominated by President Biden in May but faced strong opposition from Republican members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

ED Student Aid Chief Testifies on Student Loan Forgiveness and Repayment


  • On Wednesday, October 27, ED Federal Student Aid Chief Richard Cordray before the House Higher Education and Workforce Investment Subcommittee.
  • Cordray discussed fixing the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program and restarting federal student loan repayments in February.
  • ED is considering several proposals, including establishing a grace period for missed payments or enacting policies that make it easier for millions of borrowers to remain enrolled in income-based repayment programs.

Engagement and Resources

Oklahoma State University (OSU) Center for Health Sciences President Johnny Stephens (left) and OSU President Kayse Shrum gather with Courtney Knoblock, director, Veterans Hospital in Tulsa and Steven L. Lieberman with the Veterans Health Administration at the groundbreaking for the Veterans Hospital in Tulsa on Friday, Oct. 15, 2021.

Veterans Hospital in Tulsa Celebrates Historic Groundbreaking: Leaders from across government, academia, healthcare and philanthropy came together to celebrate the ceremonial groundbreaking of the new Veterans Hospital in downtown Tulsa, Oklahoma. “The new Veterans Hospital in Tulsa will be transformative in many ways, and Oklahoma State University is proud to be a part of this visionary project. All of the partners involved in the new hospital owe a debt of gratitude to Sens. Jim Inhofe and James Lankford for their commitment to see this project funded at the federal level, as well as other state, city and county leaders who have provided resources to ensure that this modern healthcare facility for our veterans could become a reality,” said OSU President Kayse Shrum, DO. about what the new Veterans Hospital means for the local community.

Funding Available for New Rural Residency Programs: The Health Resources and Services Administration is accepting applications until December 20, 2021 for the Rural Residency Planning and Development (RRPD) Program. The RRPD Program aims to improve healthcare in rural areas by supporting the development of new, accredited and sustainable rural residency programs in family medicine, internal medicine, preventive medicine, psychiatry, general surgery and obstetrics and gynecology. Rural hospitals, GME consortiums and tribal organizations are eligible to apply. .

Reminder for Health Professions Researchers: Apply for NIH Loan Repayment Program: The NIH Extramural Loan Repayment Program repays up to $50,000 in qualified student loan debt per year in exchange for the commitment to conduct at least two years of NIH mission-relevant research. The program aims to recruit and retain highly qualified health professionals into biomedical or biobehavioral research careers by helping alleviate student debt. Apply before the November 18 deadline. .

NIH Grants Promote Postdoctoral Research: Apply now for Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Postdoctoral Research Training Grants for the Clinical and Translational Science Awards Program. The grants enhance postdoctoral research training of individuals with doctoral degrees and help ensure a heterogeneous pool of clinical and translational scientist trainees are equipped with the knowledge, skills and abilities to advance diagnostics, therapeutics, clinical interventions and behavioral modifications that improve health. Applications are due by January 26, 2022. .

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

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