By Judith Mun, AACOM Director of Government Relations
On October 16 – 17, members of the osteopathic medical education (OME) community and the health professions workforce made their voices heard in the halls of Congress and on social media for the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM)’s 2019 COM Day on Capitol Hill. Advocates held nearly 100 meetings with Representatives, Senators, and their congressional staff to discuss policy priorities such as the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS (Grad PLUS) Loan Program, which is critical to helping graduate students afford their education, and the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, which improves health care access in rural and underserved communities.
Supplementing in-person efforts, advocates engaged strongly online for Virtual Hill Day. They reached out to their Members on social media, used Facebook frames and GIPHY stickers to raise awareness of their stories, and educated their networks about key federal financial aid and loan repayment programs. These advocates prove that you don’t need to be on Capitol Hill to make your voice heard! We hope they’ll continue these efforts all year long and invite you to add your voice to this important cause.
Here are some highlights from our advocates and their Members of Congress on #COMDAY19:
Productive time @ed2med & @AACOMmunities #COMDay19 on the Hill! Thank you @senbrown @senrobportman @RepBeatty @Jim_Jordan @RepMarciaFudge ! @lastname_passen @OUHCOM pic.twitter.com/Uj5rPpQKI5
— Bill Burke, DO (@DrBillDO) October 17, 2019
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Four of VCOM- Virginia’s students, traveled to Washington DC to attend the annual DO Day on Capitol Hill. It is a unique opportunity to meet face-to-face with members of Congress and staff members on critical issues that impact DOs and their patients. This is an excellent way to educate and inform Congress members and ask for their support on legislation that is key to the practice and principles of osteopathic medicine. From left to right: Aly Schlieper, Sarah Lowen, Shalini Sakhamuri, Alana Castro-Gilliard @aacom_do #aacom #comday19 #vcom #DODayOnCapitalHill #vcomvirginia #osteopathic #medicine #congress #meded #medstudent #medschool #osteopathicmedicine #oms
Today I met with representatives from the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine @AACOMmunities to discuss policies that would help support medical students & training programs. This was an important conversation, especially w/ all the great med schools in GA! pic.twitter.com/uuLZk4i3Hg
— Rob Woodall (@RepRobWoodall) October 17, 2019
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Just met with @RepRutherfordFL – the future physician workforce appreciates his continued support of #GME funding, federal financial aid for #medstudents, and solutions to #studentdebt. #COMDAY19 #SavePSLF #SaveGradPLUS @ed2med pic.twitter.com/aTSXd9lBGL
— Shawn M. Hamm, DO, MPH (@shawn_hamm) October 17, 2019
Thank you to all our advocates for making time to support the future health care workforce. Can’t wait until #COMDAY20? You can stay involved year-round by becoming an ED to MED advocate or asking your Members of Congress to prioritize the future health care workforce.