By Pamela Murphy, AACOM Senior Vice President of Government Relations
ED to MED advocates have been speaking up as part of the #E2MChallenge to raise awareness of the importance of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) and Grad PLUS Loan Programs, and why Congress must invest in the future health care workforce.
Learn why three members of AACOM’s Council of Osteopathic Student Government Presidents are taking action in the Advocacy Challenge and on AACOM’s Virtual Hill Day on September 27, and why you should too!
Michael Kortz, OMS-II, SGA President, Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences College of Osteopathic Medicine
I saw myself as a physician because of my passion to learn, my desire to promote physical, spiritual, and mental health, and my drive to solve complex problems in our communities. This dream would be threatened if Congress caps Grad PLUS loans and eliminates the PSLF Program. Funding for medical school should not be a guessing game. It should not be uncertain and should not fluctuate. Never should any medical student’s candidacy be dependent on their credit score. I am a firm believer that anyone can become a doctor if they are motivated and have the opportunity to do so. All health care students should take a minute to think critically about what their funding would look like without these programs, and another minute to simply say so on social media. Two minutes could mean thousands of dollars for future health care professionals. Save Grad PLUS and PSLF.
Sara Lohbauer, OMS-II, SGA President, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine Bradenton Campus
It is abundantly clear that the United States is in a health care workforce shortage crisis. As a medical student, it is expected that I will take out loans in the hundreds of thousands of dollars to finance my education, and I am not alone. Loans are utilized by students across all health professions. It is imperative that we stand together and support the loan and loan forgiveness programs that make health professions careers possible. Personally, without these options, I would not be able to afford schooling. That is why I stand in support of PSLF and Grad PLUS loans. If these programs are capped or eliminated, the health care field will experience a continually worsening shortage, causing further stress on our future providers and patients. We cannot allow this to happen. We must support these programs by advocating and spreading the word through social media on networks such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. These are strong tools that reach our legislators and can quickly change their minds on policy!
Mustafa Basree, OMS-II, SGA President, University of Pikeville – Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine
As a medical student, I’m privileged to be entering a profession that allows me to work with patients, alleviate pain, and improve quality of life. Before starting school, I promised myself not to get too involved politically and to focus solely on academics. I realized, however, it was hard to stay away from politics, especially when there are potential policy changes that directly impact my education, the care I will provide for my patients, and the ability to repay little over a quarter-million dollars in school debt. Entering medical school with nearly $60,000 of undergraduate and graduate debt weighs heavily on me as I anticipate over $250,000 in total debt upon graduation. One of my goals as a physician is bringing medicine to medically underserved communities, which is something I’m committed to doing despite more financially lucrative options in more well-served areas. Loan forgiveness programs such as PSLF incentivize me to work for not-for-profit or state organizations in needy communities. Millions of students nationwide plan on or are already utilizing PSLF to realize their dream, combat health disparities, and improve quality of life among our future patients. It is in the government’s best interest to invest in students as they are the key to combating current health care challenges. Join ED to MED today and join the conversation.
Every health professions student has a stake in the outcome of Higher Education Act reauthorization and the future of PSLF and Grad PLUS. Join us today in telling Congress to protect these programs by following ED to MED on Twitter, adding your voice to the #E2MChallenge, and speaking out on behalf of you and your patients on Virtual Hill Day using #COMDAY18!