AACOM Washington Insider - November 4, 2019

House Ed and Labor Marks Up HEA Reauthorization Bill, Apply for Important NHSC Loan Repayment Opportunity



November 4, 2019

What You Need to Know

Advocacy is a crucial component to achieving change in Congress. AACOM’s ability to champion the federal policies and programs that support the future physician workforce would not be nearly as strong without the osteopathic medical education (OME) community’s persistent and unified voice. From participating in to raising awareness of graduate student debt issues through AACOM’s campaign, we appreciate our community for being so engaged and involved. As Congress debates key legislation affecting the future physician workforce, we encourage you to continue standing together in strong support of OME on behalf of students, physicians, and patients across the nation.


Mary-Lynn Bender

Interim Vice President of Government and Public Relations

On The Hill

House Ed & Labor Committee Marks Up HEA Bill


On October 31, the House Education and Labor Committee voted 28-22, along party lines, to advance the College Affordability Act (H.R. 4674) after a marathon markup that lasted two and a half days. This Democratic legislation, introduced by Committee Chair Bobby Scott (D-VA), would provide a sweeping overhaul of the Higher Education Act (HEA) and include Free Application for Federal Student Aid simplification, Pell Grants expansion, origination fee elimination, institutional accountability measures, campus safety, and federal student aid expansion to include the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program. Nineteen amendments were added to the original legislation, including one by U.S. Representative Susan Davis (D-CA) that would make several changes to the original bill, including extending PSLF eligibility to adjunct professors.


Although the bill faces notable criticism from House Education and Labor Republicans led by Committee Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (R-NC), it now heads to the House floor, with Chair Scott’s goal of holding a floor vote by the end of the year. AACOM will continue to advocate for higher education priorities to support the OME community.

AACOM Joins Letter to Congress in Support of FY20 NIH Funding


AACOM joined more than national organizations as a member of the Association of American Medical Colleges' Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research in a letter to House and Senate Appropriations leadership, urging them to ensure a quick enactment of a Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies appropriations bill that provides robust, sustained funding for medical research. AACOM is a member of the Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research, a coalition of patient and voluntary health groups, medical and scientific societies, academic and research organizations, and industry that supports enhancing the federal investment in the biomedical, behavioral, and population-based research conducted and supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).




AACOM GR Provides Advocacy Updates at OMED


Late last month, AACOM’s Office of Government Relations presented two AACOM councils with federal policy, regulatory, and advocacy updates at the American Osteopathic Association’s Osteopathic Medical Education Conference. On October 26, Judith Mun, Director of Government Relations, and Christine DeCarlo, Advocacy and Public Affairs Manager, shared a policy and advocacy update with the Council of Osteopathic Student Government Presidents. The council received a legislative overview of recently introduced legislation that would reauthorize the HEA, the law governing federal financial aid and loan repayment programs vital to osteopathic medical students, and learned about opportunities to advocate for the federal programs impacted by this legislation through . Ms. Mun and Julie Crockett, Senior Federal Regulatory Affairs Manager, also presented to the Council of Fiscal Officers on October 28, discussing AACOM’s federal legislative and regulatory priorities, activities, and accomplishments, as well as resources available to assist with financial aid management and funding opportunities.

How to Become an Outstanding Advocate


Among those most affected by the federal policies and programs impacting graduate student debt, advocates in the OME community are the foundation of AACOM’s national grassroots advocacy campaign, ED to MED. Every year at the association's Annual Conference, ED to MED recognizes the outstanding contributions of one individual whose advocacy goes above and beyond. Looking ahead to , when AACOM will announce the 2019 Outstanding Advocate of the Year, revisit what set past recipients apart, and learn how to .



Administration and Federal Agencies

NHSC Extends Deadline to Apply for Students to Service Loan Repayment Program


Osteopathic medical students are strongly encouraged to apply for the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)'s National Health Service Corps (NHSC) . The S2S LRP provides up to $120,000 in loan repayment assistance to medical or dental students in their final year of school in exchange for a commitment to provide primary health care services in eligible health professional shortage areas with the greatest needs. The NHSC is seeking applicants who are interested in serving communities with limited access to health care and providing care through their initial service commitment and beyond. Applications are due by 7:30 PM ET on Thursday, November 21. This NHSC loan repayment option is a particularly good opportunity because of its exclusive availability to a small cohort and higher acceptance rate than other programs. .

SAMHSA Accepting Applications for Funding Opportunity to Expand Substance Use Disorder Education


The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is accepting applications for its fiscal year (FY) 2020 Expansion of Practitioner Education Grant. The program’s purpose is to expand the integration of substance use disorder education into the standard curriculum of relevant health care education programs and thus expand the number of practitioners delivering high-quality, evidence-based substance use disorder treatment. Public or private non-profit professional associations representing health care professionals, universities, colleges, or other professional schools are eligible for grant funding. SAMHSA anticipates a total of $2 million in available funding across 10 – 20 awards. Applications are due by December 16. .

Deadline Approaching: NIH Extramural Loan Repayment Programs


The NIH is currently accepting applications for its  (LRPs). The NIH LRPs are designed to recruit and retain highly qualified health professionals into biomedical or biobehavioral research careers by helping alleviate some of the debt burden that drives many health professionals away from research activities. The NIH may repay up to $50,000 of qualified student loan debt per year for each awardee, in exchange for the commitment to conduct at least two years of NIH mission-relevant research for no less than 20 hours per week. There are five extramural LRPs for which applicants may be eligible, including clinical research, pediatric research, health disparities research, contraception and infertility research, and clinical research for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. A completed online application must be submitted by November 15.

National Science & Technology Council Publishes Roadmap to Stem Opioid Crisis


Last month, the National Science & Technology Council’s Fast Track Action Committee on Health Science and Technology Response to the Opioid Crisis Committee on Science released its to stem the opioid crisis. The roadmap identifies research and development critical to addressing key gaps in knowledge, tools, and opportunities to improve coordination of research essential to combating the opioid crisis. The intent of the roadmap is to strengthen and coordinate core research and development efforts to reduce the adverse public health impact of opioids and maximize the public health benefit of federal investments. The roadmap is not a binding document or policy, but rather identifies key areas of investment that the Committee believes will focus the efforts of federal, private, state, local, Tribal, territorial, and non-profit stakeholders in combating the opioid epidemic.

Executive Order on the Council of Advisors on Science and Technology


On October 22, President Trump issued an on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). PCAST will advise the President on matters involving science, technology, education, and innovation policy and seeks to create collaborative partnerships across the science and technology fields to create new technologies. The council will be composed of the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy and up to 16 additional members appointed by the President. The additional members will be distinguished experts in science, technology, education, and innovation from outside the federal government. PCAST will collaborate with stakeholders from the research community, private sector, universities, national laboratories, state and local governments, and nonprofit organizations. It will also serve as the President’s Innovation and Technology Advisory Committee and the National Nanotechnology Advisory Panel.

Federal Student Loan Official Resigns; Seeks Senate Seat


On October 24, A. Wayne Johnson, former Chief Operating Officer and Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer of Federal Student Aid (FSA) at the U.S. Department of Education (ED), announced his resignation and interest in serving in the Senate on the promise to pass legislation cancelling student loans. During his time at FSA, Johnson oversaw the $1.5 trillion student-loan portfolio and introduced the ED Payment Vehicle Pilot program as part of the program. The Payment Vehicle Pilot program is an e-banking product that will allow students to receive their credit balance funds for Title IV federal aid and other student aid, which may also be used to conduct other transactions through both a physical and virtual card. ED recently announced that it has selected several universities and financial service companies to serve as providers for the pilot program, which will run through December 2020.


Featured Federal Resources and COM Engagement

LUCOM Dean Peter A. Bell, DO, and students at the U.S. Capitol.

AACOM President and CEO and Director of Government Relations Attend Liberty University’s Annual Breakfast Reception at Library of Congress: On October 23, AACOM President and CEO Robert A. Cain, DO, and Judith Mun attended Liberty University’s tri-annual breakfast reception at the Library of Congress. The purpose of the gathering was to help foster further dialogue to maintain a commitment to positively impact public policy and higher education issues affecting the country. Liberty’s Dean , from the College of Osteopathic Medicine, was in attendance. “As physicians, we all have an obligation to advocate for the best quality of health care at the lowest expense with access for all. The advocacy process starts with building relationships and educating stakeholders with the best evidence. It is a long and continuous process,” said Dr. Bell. .

U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) provides keynote remarks at Touro University California for one-year anniversary celebration for Drug Safe Solano.

U.S. Rep. Thompson Visits Touro University California to Recognize Coalition Addressing Opioid Epidemic: U.S. Representative Mike Thompson (D-CA) delivered the keynote address on October 8 at a gathering of Napa and Solano County health officials to celebrate the one-year anniversary of Drug Safe Solano. The celebration, hosted by Touro University California, brought together the Drug Safe Solano coalition of stakeholders working to address the opioid epidemic. The coalition’s efforts were recognized with both a congressional commendation and resolution of commendation by the California State Senate. .

WVSOM’s Clingman Center for Community Engagement ribbon-cutting ceremony emphasizes importance of giving back.

WV Governor and First Lady Attend Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony for WVSOM’s Clingman Center: West Virginia Governor Jim Justice and First Lady Cathy Justice attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM)’s Clingman Center for Community Engagement on October 29. The Clingman Center will serve as a bridge between WVSOM and the surrounding area, allowing the school to deliver programs that teach community members skills to help them manage healthier lives. Governor Justice spoke about the school’s history in Lewisburg and commended WVSOM for its significance to medical education and to West Virginia’s rural population. James W. Nemitz, PhD, WVSOM President, believes the Clingman Center could become a model for similar community facilities statewide. “We’re going to collect data to see which programs work, and then we’re going to share it with others and encourage other communities to create centers like this around the state so that we can improve the quality of life for all West Virginians.” .

Register for HRSA’s Virtual Job Fair for Rural Sites: On November 20, HRSA is hosting a free, online event connecting students and clinicians with health care delivery organizations to help recruit and retain clinicians interested in practicing in underserved communities nationwide. Pre-register for this rural Virtual Job Fair by November 6. .

PCORI Advisory Panel Openings: The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) is accepting nominations and applications for new members to join their advisory panels under the 2020 selection cycle. Applications are due on March 27, 2020 at 5:00 PM ET. Panelists are required to attend two to four in-person meetings in the DC area and several remote access meetings throughout the year, and to read background materials in preparation for all meetings. PCORI was authorized by Congress in 2010 to address the need for all medical stakeholders to know the effectiveness of medical treatments. .

Webinar on Connecting Rural Communities Through Research: Preparing for Rural Practice, an HRSA grant-funded organization, is hosting a webinar on December 19 from 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM ET titled Connecting with Underserved and Understudied Populations Through Research. Certain groups of patients in rural communities bring unique experiences to clinicians and research. The presenters at this informative discussion will look at strategies to better understand three groups: the homeless community, the LGBTQ+ community, and the Amish community. .

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