By Mary-Lynn Bender, AACOM Senior Director of Government and Public Relations
On September 27, osteopathic medical school deans, educators, and students flew into Washington, DC to participate in the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM)’s 2018 COM Day on Capitol Hill and Virtual Hill Day. COM Day is an annual advocacy event that provides a platform for representatives from the nation’s osteopathic medical education community to meet with their policymakers and urge Congress to protect the federal programs that support the future physician workforce and by extension, the health of patients across the nation.
Advocates in DC raised their voices in nearly 100 congressional meetings, illustrating why federal programs, such as Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) and Grad PLUS loans, are key to addressing the country’s physician workforce shortage. Participants also spoke out in support of graduate medical education, urging Congress to fund the innovative and highly successful Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education Program beyond fiscal year 2019. Meanwhile, advocates from across the health professions echoed the calls for support of PSLF and Grad PLUS loans on social media as part of Virtual Hill Day, making sure policymakers are aware of the full impact of these key federal programs on the future health care workforce.
ED to MED campus ambassadors and advocates are motivated, educated, and engaged—these qualities were all strongly represented on COM Day. We sincerely thank everyone who took part in COM Day on Capitol Hill, as well as the dedicated and passionate individuals and ED to MED national partners who shared their stories online as part of Virtual Hill Day. Thanks to your advocacy, our message reached thousands across the nation, raising awareness of the importance of protecting federal programs to address our country’s health care workforce shortage.
Check out a few highlights from #COMDAY18:
#KYCOM Dean Dana Shaffer and our students Mustafa Basree and Jenna Sturz are on Capitol Hill today discussing Graduate #medical education with legislators including Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. #SaveGradPLUS #SavePSLF #COMDay18 #UPIKE #Pikeville #osteopathic #medstudentlife pic.twitter.com/uJRpKwkll3
— KYCOM UPike (@KYCOMatUPike) September 27, 2018
On our way to meet with the office of @LindseyGrahamSC to discuss medical education legislation and to advocate to #SaveGradPLUS and #SavePSLF. Happy to be here with @ed2med for #COMDay18 pic.twitter.com/BsJrpKlNca
— Eleanor Williams (@wheleanor) September 27, 2018
Thank you to all the students taking part in #COMDAY18 both in person and online. Federal programs such as #PSLF and #GradPLUS are crucial to addressing health care workforce shortages and help address considerable student debt. #SavePSLF #SaveGradPLUS
— SOMA Politics (@SOMAPolitics) September 27, 2018
Federal programs such as #PSLF and #GradPLUS are crucial to addressing health care workforce shortages. That's why we've partnered with @ed2med to ask Congress to consider the needs of patients as they work to reauthorize #HEA. #COMDAY18 #SavePSLF #SaveGradPLUS pic.twitter.com/mFSojQD3qM
— AMSA (@AMSANational) September 27, 2018
ATTN #socialworkers & #socialwork educators: Help @ed2med advocate for #healthprofessionals! RT & spread the word during #COMDAY18. #SocWorkEd #HealthCare #BehavioralHealth https://t.co/3nU6Nfupu4 https://t.co/UyzrMLPgCl
— CSWE (@CSocialWorkEd) September 27, 2018
— COSGP (@COSGP) September 27, 2018
Thank you again to our amazing ED to MED advocates for standing up and making your voices heard! Your persistent action is crucial to help ensure that federal policies protect the future health care workforce and the patients it serves.