AACOM reps visit WVSOM

The government relations team from the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) visited WVSOM to discuss federal legislation important to osteopathic medical colleges with students and staff.

Pamela Murphy, senior vice president of government relations, and Mary-Lynn Bender, director of congressional affairs and public affairs, discussed AACOM's advocacy efforts and the importance of being a knowledgeable representative of the profession.

"There couldn't be two more knowledgeable and passionate people to represent and fight for the needs of osteopathic medical students and colleges of osteopathic medicine," said Jim Nemitz, Ph.D., WVSOM's vice president for administration and external relations, as he introduced the visitors.

The AACOM representatives have visited WVSOM for about a decade, bringing awareness to current policy issues. This year, the main policies of importance pertaining to osteopathic medical students are:

  1. The president's fiscal year 2019 budget proposal
  2. Immigration and how that could affect osteopathic medical students
  3. Higher Education Act and its reauthorization, which could dramatically effect the federal student loan program

Murphy also introduced attendees to the advocacy campaign called ED to MED, which is about three years old. The national grassroots campaign's goal is to bring together students, medical educators and other advocates who are dedicated to raising the profile of student issues in Congress. The campaign works to keep Congress from capping loan forgiveness programs at a rate much lower than average student debt.

With a mean osteopathic medical education debt exceeding $247,000, Murphy and Bender explained that Congress must incentivize public service and service in underserved rural and urban areas for medical and other graduate and professional students.

"You have to have purpose, perseverance and patience to be a good advocate," Murphy said. "It's very important for medical students to be advocates now because legislation is making changes now."

The campaign has nearly 170 osteopathic medical student leaders engaged as campus ambassadors, but the network consists of more than 9,370 advocates. The women expressed the need for more WVSOM students to become ambassadors and make their voices heard in Washington, D.C., even if that just means using social media platforms to share information.

AACOM represents administration, faculty and medical students at the 34 accredited colleges of osteopathic medicine in the U.S. consisting of 51 teaching locations in 32 states.

Date Added: 
Thursday, March 8, 2018